Throwback: Shakespiration

To those that have read the previous ‘throwback’ posts, and followed me on my journey of recounting my poetry journey – thank you! This will be the final post under this thread, and will bring everything up to the modern day, and where I’m at now. In this final chapter, I’ll be focusing on my life in Stratford-upon-Avon: from reading my poetry on the RSC stage, to studying and working in the hometown of the Bard.

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Throwback: Page to Stage, and Screen

Through these ‘throwback’ posts, I have sought to tell the story of poetry journey, recounting instances beginning with my first ever foray into the form, all the way up to the present day. However, as these posts move into 2018 and 2019, they begin to cover moments that are expressed more thoroughly elsewhere on this site. The full story of Bella can be read on the dedicated page; today’s post will only be short, giving moments of personal insight into my post-publication adventures!

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Throwback: Passing the Spark

As I mentioned in an earlier throwback post, to tie in with my Black Country poems going on exhibition at Dudley Museum, I spoke at a panel discussion about my writing process, the poems, and what interested me as a writer. I was met with such a positive response, that I felt a spark was lit within me for discussing and sharing my passion with others. This set me on a new path within my poetry career: one of teaching writing classes, running workshops, and mentoring poets.

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Throwback: Festival Season

Equipped with only a small printed booklet of my Black Country poems, I performed for the first time at Waterstones in Birmingham. This was at the launch of Cain, the fifth poetry collection by Luke Kennard, who at the time was my lecturer at the University of Birmingham. To be invited to read at his event was an honour; to perform in front of some of my classmates was a terror; to read at Waterstones set me up for the next big opportunity of my poetry journey.

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Throwback: Poet of June

I am a firm believer that opportunity begets opportunity: if you seize the things that come your way, more exciting ventures will follow. Early in my poetry journey, I applied to a project that was passed along by the university, organised by the Birmingham-based arts charity Leaveners. They were curating a ‘Poets’ Corner’: a showcase of poets, all sharing small portfolios of their work. I was elected to be their Poet of June, 2015.

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Throwback: Black Country Wench

As I mentioned in my last ‘throwback’ post, it was during my first university assignment, centred around ‘generations’, that I first began writing creatively about the Black Country. I had a fascination for the history and heritage of it all the factories, the workshops, the pits and the culture that has outlived it. Of course, I wasn’t alive during when the industry was at its peak, but I was nonetheless intrigued by the resonances it continues to have through dialect, art, and story.

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New Thread: Throwbacks

Though times are uncertain and events have been cancelled, I find myself with more time on my hands than usual. I want to dedicate some of this time to working on this website, to write more about what’s going on in my world poetry-wise, and to take you a little further into my creative practice.

I will be starting a few new ‘threads’, and one of these will be ‘throwbacks’: little glimpses back along my poetry journey thus far. This will hopefully fill out my story from what is currently on my website (which covers the publication of Bella onwards), and give me a chance to reflect on how far I’ve come, and where I might go next.

Throwbacks will be published every Thursday, starting this Thursday, at least for the next couple of months. The other threads will be announced soon!