The Poetry School’s first poetry Phd Festival where current Phd candidates shared their ideas and discoveries. Well if you are a late start poet like moi, how wonderful to get an overview of the world of academia and poetry under one roof – the convivial surroundings of the 1901 Arts Club near Waterloo
The event was master minded by Julia Bird and Ollie Dawson (director of the Poetry School) and both were set on welcoming us to short lectures and mini workshops.
Phd participants, in no particular order were John Challis, Liza Mathews, Tara Bergin, Alreza Abiz, Helen Taylor, A.B Jackson, Kathy D’Arcy, Janet Rogerson. Poetry School personnel included techi wizkids sorting out powerpoint presentations and an enthusiastic new assistant in her first working week. Staff from 1901 Arts Club on hand to ensure things ran smoothly.
With so much talent we were spoilt for choice and there simply wasn’t enough time to do them all. So from those I attended, John Challis with ‘ The Poem Noir’ got my vote of 11 out of 10 (I’ve always been slightly discalculous) for the lecture on his research project and workshop. But Lisa Matthew’s workshop ‘The Imagery Data Base’ was a close second and Janet Rogerson’s ‘Sound in Poetry’ was also excellent. Alireza Abiz from Iran with ‘Censorship’ a timely reminder of those who suffer so much for their art and Kathy D’Arcy’s ‘Irish Women’s Poetry’ both compelling speakers and poets.
John Davies and Ed from Pighog Press video’d all the lectures for the Poetry School web site, brilliant for any we missed and for those who were unable to attend.
Some participants shared poetic gems at the end of a workshops, but for those like me who were not as ready or as eloquent, there was still a lot to explore, listen to and reflect on.
The added bonus was that these workshops were all innovative and the presenters brimming with enthusiasm so I ended up with some really interesting ideas and draft poems.
Having attended two or three terms at the Poetry School in the past (would recommend Tim Dooley’s courses) and some of their ‘one off’ events, today was even modest in cost.
Do check out the Poetry School website for follow up and, if you live in Brighton, don’t miss Pighog Plus at the Red Roaster the last Thursday in the month. Enjoy, listen, learn and there are short open mic slots for the brave.
I made a hasty retreat at the end of the event and read the rest of ‘A Poetry Handbook’ by Mary Oliver on the train on the way home. Yet a another addition to the ageing apprentice poets armour. Arrived in Brighton completely knackered, but exhilarated and grateful for so much sharing from the presenters and the participants alike.
I do hope that the Poetry School at least broke even financially and think about putting on a few more events along these lines.
Other poetry events :