COV POETS TO VISIT IRELAND –COVENTRY-CORK POETRY EXCHANGE 2018

 

Two Coventry-born poets, Jane Commane and Peter Raynard are to perform in the twin-city of Cork, Republic of Ireland as part of the ongoing poetry exchange now entering its 9th year.

As a continued expression of solidarity and a united commitment to art, the Cov-Cork Poetry Exchange supports emerging and established poets at key points in their artistic career to give two readings in Cork and Clonakilty [August 6-8th]. The poets will be hosted by Paul Casey of O Bheal Poetry, and will receive the same warm and generous welcome that has made the exchange so successful.

Adam Steiner of Coventry publisher, Silhouette Press, said: “It is really important for Coventry to maintain and build upon international links with other nations, especially its twin cities, like Cork. Both Peter and Jane are great poets, made in Coventry, and have already shown themselves to be enthusiastic supporters of other artists, Peter with his Proletarian Poetry website and Jane as the publisher Nine Arches Press. We would also like to thank Coventry City Council for their continued support that has allowed the exchange to flourish and grow poetry and culture in Coventry.”

The event was supported for many years by Coventry poet, Antony Owen who gave poets the chance to stretch their legs across the water and build upon Coventry’s long-standing relationship of friendship and goodwill with its sister city of Cork.

Paul Casey, of Ó Bhéal, said: “Here we mark the occasion of the ninth year of poetry exchanges between Cork and Coventry. Over the years poets from both cities have taken part and formed long-term friendships and meaningful, collaborations.

We are thrilled to witness this venture set sail once more, in the unshaken belief that both cities will continue to enrich their annual literary programmes, maintain their connection to shared poetic traditions, all the while fuelling the growth of new writers, audiences and networks. Acknowledgment is due to the City Councils of both Cork and Coventry for their ongoing support, as we encourage this now maturing exchange to continue its benefit to poets and community groups from both cities.”

O Bheal

In November [the 7th – 9th ], two Cork poets will visit Coventry and perform at Coventry’s long-established Fire & Dust poetry night, visit the region, perform on local radio and meet with Coventry’s Lord Mayor – further embedding the cultural links with our Irish cousins.
AUTHOR BIOS

Peter Raynard is the editor of Proletarian Poetry (www.proletarianpoetry.com), which has featured over 130 poets on working class lives. He has written two books of poetry: his debut collection Precarious (Smokestack Books, 2018) and The Combination: a poetic coupling of the Communist Manifesto (Culture Matters, 2018). He was sent from Coventry after thirty years, spent ten years in London, and now lives in St Albans, thus is slowly making his way home.

Peter Raynard Photo (5)

 

Jane Commane was born in Coventry and lives and works in Warwickshire. Her first full-length collection, Assembly Lines, is due from Bloodaxe in 2018. Her poetry has featured in anthologies including The Best British Poetry 2011 (Salt Publishing) and Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Cinnamon) and in magazines including Anon, And Other Poems, Bare Fiction, Iota, Tears in the Fence and The Morning Star. She has been a poet in residence at the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth, and has led many writing workshops in a variety of locations, including in museums, castles, city centres, orchards and along riverbanks. In 2016, she was chosen to join Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 writer development programme. A graduate of the Warwick Writing Programme, for a decade she also worked in museums and archives. Jane is editor at Nine Arches Press, co-editor of Under the Radar magazine, co-organiser of the Leicester Shindig poetry series, and is co-author (with Jo Bell) of How to Be a Poet, a creative writing handbook and blog series. In 2017 she was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

Jane photo

Credit:  Paul Lapsley Photography

 

 

 

COMPETITION – Pillar Poetry – Theatre Absolute – DEADLINE: 25/1/2018

Pillar Poetry - Shahnaz

An open call for poems around the theme of Are We Where We Are? to be written upon the pillars of the Shop Front Theatre between 6-17th Feb 2018.

Three poems from Midlands based poets/writers will be selected. Judges from Writing West Midlands and Silhouette Press will then award one of the poems with a £200 prize fund, with the other two selected receiving £100 each, on the 10th Feb.

Full brief and application form linked below.

DEADLINE: 5pm, Fri 25th Jan 2018

Click here to download the: Pillar Poetry Open Call Brief / Application Form PDF or Pillar Poetry Open Call Brief / Application Form DOC

Coventry-Cork Twin-City Poetry Exchange – Stanley Notte

Cork Poet, Stanley Notte, tells us all about his visit to Coventry!

‘Coventry is a shit hole that no-one should ever visit.’ Those are the words Terry Hall used to describe his home town in an interview in 1980.

They are also the first words that popped into my head when I was asked if I’d like to represent O’Bheal in Coventry as part of the poetry exchange.

Needless to say that is an inauspicious beginning to any trip. But as it turns out there was good news in that memory, and for two reasons. First it gave me a funny – or risky – introduction to the two scheduled poetry readings included in the trip. Second, as I am a huge music fan, and utilise song titles to write most of my poetry, it gave me an idea for a poem.

That poem was written using song titles of artists signed to the 2 Tone Record Label, founded in Coventry in the late seventies. And interestingly the The 2 Tone Village, a museum that pays homage to the Coventry music scene, proved to be a highlight of the trip.

But before I get to that highlight I need to go back to the start.

In truth my trip started earlier in the year when I met Andrea Mbarushimana and Russ Berry when they were in Cork on the first leg of the Cork/Coventry cultural exchange. At that time I didn’t know Andrea and Russ would be so prominent during the second leg of the exchange. If I had Terry Hall’s ominous words may not have worried me as much. But then, had that been the case, my 2 Tone Poem may never have seen the light of day, so perhaps my ignorance was a blessing.

In Cork Andrea (despite a recent health scare) and Russ read beautifully, and were excellent company. Russ has a love of music that is almost as severe as mine, and we whiled away time on both nights of their visit discussing artists, and – as always when music fans get together – views.

So, to Cov where Andrea, having rearranged her life (kids/school/husband), and wearing a welcoming smile, met Ciaran and I at Birmingham airport. From the first moment chatter abounded (even a tad of local gossip was offered) and the car journey to Cov (OK that’s the last time I’ll use that local abbreviation) was over before I knew it.

Once in the home of Terry Hall it was a quick cup of tea in Andrea’s place, and then a brisk walk to local radio station, the Hillz. Russ met us in the reception area. And, with our group was complete, we were ready for an interview with Kate Hill (who, surprisingly, doesn’t own the station).

With hindsight, the radio interview laid the template for the remainder of the trip. We were warmly welcomed, the interview was relaxed and easy going, with an emphasis on the creative process, and the time (just over an hour) on air flew by.

Mundanities (Hotel check-in, a snooze – we were up at Stupid O’ Clock for the flight – and a surprisingly good dinner in Coventry’s Premium Inn) accounted for the afternoon. And before we knew it Ciaran and I were one again in Andrea and russ’s company, and heading to The Royal Oak for our first reading.

To garner a sense of how this evening transpired I could simply point to the earlier paragraph about the Hills interview. But that would not allow me to mention how beautiful a venue The Royal Oak provided. The event – which was part of the Peace Festival – was held in an extension at the back of the premises that, due a soft ambience and views over the garden area, was ideal for a gathering of keen poets.

 

MC for the night, Aysar Ghassan  was genial, humorous and welcoming, and the audience attentive and receptive. Afterwards we adjourned to the local Witherspoon – if you just gasped at the idea of a cultural exchange party frequenting such a place, let me assure you (as is always the case) it is the company you keep that defines a gathering, not the location.

We chatted into the wee hours (or as wee as licence regulations allowed) solving world issues the good and great of the political arena cannot find solutions to. OK, we didn’t actually solve any, but we did have a few GREAT ideas.

Day two began – surprise, surprise – with breakfast. I needed a hearty one, as we were meeting the Lord Mayor of Coventry at 10am. As I view politicians with (at best) heavy scepticism, this is NOT my type of thing. To ease the expected trauma I wore a tee-shirt emblazoned with a word – Echolalia – that sums up my feelings about almost all political mutterings. Oh, I knew it wouldn’t make any difference, and was unlikely to register with Lord Mayor Tony Skipper, but hey one must do what one must do. As it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong about Tony. He was funny and articulate, well versed on poetry (he exhibited a selection of portraits of local poets a few years ago) and MOST IMPORTANTLY music. An added bonus, due to Coventry native and Labour MP Mo Mowlan’s key involvement, a signed copy of the original Good Friday Agreement hanging on Tony’s wall.

Given all of the above you won’t be surprised to learn that the hour we spent in Tony’s company was very pleasant, and set me up nicely for the aforementioned highlight of the trip. I could wax lyrical for an age about the 2 Tone Village. But I won’t. Suffice to say it is a place that any music fan or history buff would enjoy. It is also a fitting tribute to the wide ranging influence 2 Tone had on many of my generation, particularly in raising awareness of racial acceptance.

 

 

The final official leg of our Coventry trip was spent in Kenilworth. Where we were guest poets at Pure, Good & Right, a regular – and well attended – poetry event. The venue – The Tree House Bookshop –  was cosy, and filled with the gentle ambience peculiar to spaces laden with shelves laden with tomes. Again we were warmly welcomed, and read to an attentive audience. MC John Watson not only steered the evening expertly, but also entertained us with poems of his own; a piece about manure. Afterwards Russ and Andrea passed a few hours discussing world problems with Ciaran and I in the hotel bar. And if we hadn’t received a message at 1am informing us our return flight was delayed we may actually have solved a few. Yes, we were that close!

Leaving Coventry on that delayed flight I had much to ponder. A lot had happened in such a short time, and I really hadn’t processed much of it. But on reflection I realised the trip was extraordinary on many levels. I had made new friends, read my poetry outside my home country for the first time and experienced a diverse city that has kept a belief in Peace at the forefront of it’s thinking for many years. But most importantly I learned that Terry Hall’s description of his home town in 1980 is now so inaccurate it may as well be deleted from history.  

Finally, it would be remiss of me not extend an enormous thank you to Andrea and Russ. There is an old adage that the greatest gift one can give is that of their time, and the time these two lovely people donated to Ciaran and I was, without a doubt, the vital ingredient in what was a fantastic experience.

Entrée Optimism

City Arcadia – launch – Coventry – 31/7/2015

The City Arcadia project has officially announced the first 10 artistic propositions that will become the future,  soon to be appearing across Coventry throughout 2015 and beyond.

IMG_9366

Artists from across the UK have engaged with the City Arcadia project including creators from Coventry, Manchester, London and Kent.

Birmingham artist, Ryan Hughes, kicked-off the event with his Marking the Internet and the Physical. With an unseasonably generous amount of sunlight, the shopping arcade was transformed into a cathedral of light, highlighting the new ruins already sentenced to demolition, currently remade into a meeting/exhibition/dining/exhibition space in its last throes. Ryan’s work featured several (I counted ten…) red translucent perspex geo-coding pointers, similar to plectrums or pizza slices that gracefully orbitted above visitors, warping beams of sunlight and casting red teardrop shadows on the arcade walkway.

City Arcadia Co-curators and Directors, Laura Elliot and Michael Mayhew introduced the launch with a nod towards future opportunities for people to find out more about the forwards/backwards, modernity/progression ethos behind the project. With funding and support from Coventry City Council and Arts Council England, City Arcadia has sparked renewewed external interest  about local arts partners in a scene that was already quietly flourishing, albeit unseen by many outside the city.

The propsitions range from post-zombie-pocalypse-fallout, ripping sound from two-toned ringroad vibrations, lanlocked surfaces reimagined as a fantasy beach, a traditional card-game divining the future and many workshops, performances, and talks.

Find out more about the 10 propositions – coming soon:

At the very least, a city should gift its citizens freedom, threaten them with new possibilities – this is an ongoing tussle in the appropriation and control of public space by local authorities, dividing opinions over construction and planning atrocities carried-out in the name of The People – witness the bland, pedestrianised human highways of fixed furniture and too-green grasses approaching Coventry train station.

City Arcadia is a unique opportunity to exploit Coventry’s existing spaces and striking post-war architecture to snare fresh audiences into art made strikingly accessible and exciting, in a way that static presentations can sometimes remain uninviting – a direct challenge; an intervention, is needed – indeed a few people in transit wandered through the event and took more than a passing glance, on the cusp of asking questions and getting involved  – small steps are required towards greatness.

The most exciting notion of the propositions offered and yet to be fulfilled is the raw potentiality of an initial concept and its becoming; what it will/won’t deliver – and everything that might still change during its creation – City Arcadia is a journey into an unknown optimism for the arts in Coventry.

www.Facebook.com/MichaelLauraCityArcadia

Tweet: @CovArtspace, @thisismayhew, #cityarcadia

For enquiries email: curators@coventry-artspace.co.uk

InZine Fest III – sign-up now!

SATURDAY
12-5pm
21/3/2015
@ The Pod
1A Lamb Street, Coventry, CV1 4AE

www.facebook.com/events/767800773289987/

A cornucopia of local and international zines, indie books/presses, including poetry, fiction, music, culture, food and art!

FREE to attend. There will also be a table of gratis publications – as well as the chance to browse the best of West-Midlands publishers (and beyond…)

Explore pictures from our last event:

 

As the event continues to evolve, we offer FREE table space for:

-zines
-indie presses
-publishers
-graphic novellists

…and beyond.

SATURDAY
21/3/2015
12-5pm

The Pod
1A Lamb Street
Coventry
CV14AE

Contact

adam.steiner@silhouettepress.co.uk

www.facebook.com/events/767800773289987/