Business Planning for Poets

  If you wander not lonely but content   in vacant thought and pensive mood a faded rose is a Summer spent. Drift in Mercia’s Kank or Sutton woods Hear vales seep their ancient tales Bluebell choirs ring for Winter’s broods A sprightly breeze will light a fire-dust sky Meander down Anker, Tame or Trent A rippled trout will play you one last fly. If you are a word entrepreneur Oak and earth drip rust and gold Vertical thoughts form echo chambers Troubadours roaming in metaphordown Anker, Tame or Tren, Drift in   Wrap blue-sky words in mist Spring enlightenment from bottom lines Poems shared are rare commodities Trade in an economy of words Cut the chaff for sentiment's core. Become a poetry fan-tasist   a crouching bear in cultural commerce   find peak performance of written verse.  
Six months already? ! What I’ve been up to…Jan-Mar 2023 Welcome back! It  has been a little while since the last update mainly due to a flurry of writing activities and a myriad of planning meetings to open up more opportunities for poets across the county to be involved in festivals and events over the coming year. But more on that later…be prepared, this is a mammoth blog! January Writing Hour, The Poetry Habit and grila-poet-ry The year started for me with a personal commitment to the ‘January Writing Hour’ hosted by the excellent fonts of poetry knowledge and prompts  Clar e S haw and Kim Moore .  The act of writing for at least 1hr every morning in January responding to some brilliant and enlightening prompts (optional) alongside almost 200 other poets, in a silent but very together online community,  was addictive and empowering and I recognised some familiar faces also head down and focussed on getting the most from the month.  I followed this experience up with  Sophie Howarth
Endings and beginnings   December 2022 The city had withdrawn  into itself And left at last the country to the country; From Christmas Trees BY  ROBERT FROST   (A Christmas Circular Letter)   My first task as laureate has been to write a poem for the new Greener Libraries toolkit and I‘m proud to say that my poem ‘One Act’ is finally out there. I will be visiting several Staffordshire libraries in the new year to share the poem with staff and customers and support creative workshops to encourage us all to think about the small ways we can help to reduce the impact of climate change. Look out for more details in your local library and on my social media. We were put on the festive mood  recently as special guests at  Burton Library  Friends' community Christmas concert (left) where we were treated to poetry readings, Christmas songs and singalongs.  After chatting with some of the Friends I'm looking forward to supporting their next big event in March 2023 with opportunities for

Staffordshire Pie

YouTube link Begin with a kingdom called Mercia. Knead in a warrior princess - twist the gold braid of her gown into three loops to form a knot that binds you to your borders. Stretch moorlands across limestone valleys called Dove, Churnet and Trent,  form pockets of sandstone through the centre to house hermits and hold forest roots. To prepare your filling   chop lush green land  into pastures,   orchards and vineyards -   add a pinch of precious wildlife. Stir in just enough market towns and spired cities to ensure you can still taste their flavours, spread the efforts of industrialists,   miners, brewers and bakers across steam-filled skies drizzle lakes, rivers and canals in thin blue lines linking north to south, east to west, then bake sun-kissed ideas from   writers, musicians and artists until there are burnt umber horizons. Invite strangers to your table to share your feast, promise they will find someone they know,   and that you will be serving your favourite Staffordshire

Becoming Staffordshire Poet Laureate

B ecoming S taffordshire P oet L aureate Receiving the laureate book from Mel Woodend It's been six weeks since I first found out I had become the new Staffordshire Poet Laureate and two weeks since it was officially announced on National Poetry Day and I still don't think it has really sunk in!  I am thrilled of course to be following Mel Woodend into the role who made such a difference to the poetry scene locally during her tenure.  It is also an honour to be included in the same list as other poets I respect and admire from Emily Galvin to Bert Flitcroft and of course  the late first Staffordshire poet laureate Mal Dewhirst.   I was lucky enough to work with Mal on several projects and he  encouraged me to keep writing even suggesting to me once that with my multi-skilled creative practice I should apply for the laureate role, so I hope he is looking over my shoulder now with pride. Mal Dewhirst at Ingestre Mal was a wonderful support to everything writing in Staffordshire

Oatcakes in Hanley Market, Friday

  It was foretold in the cobbles, in the knowing clatter of pigs’ trotters   stumbling in the gaps between   the watchful eye of the bobby and bobble-hatted boys   wielding power in sticks   before they drove double-deckers   between trestles and traders on headscarved patterned pavements   before Joan’s Cafeteria where order and ordered are reflected in  tiered cakes and  overall stripes   before these marketeers bantered over the size of sausages with someone that could be my nana.   before the Coffee Pot cafĂ© where my Stokie oatcakes arrive   cheese oozing from crinkled layers   towards the gold-bordered edge of this white china plate ritually flipped for a makers mark.