Archive | July, 2014

Poetry Tag with Marisa

27 Jul

So Marisa is doing a poetry tag Q&A thing, and asked me a few questions about what I write/why I write it, etc. The results are here:

What am I working on?

My Edinburgh Fringe show Asking Nicely. It’s all about permission: how, why, when and where we ask for permission – with a feminist/sociological slant. It all started with one poem I wrote two years ago called Permission listing small acts of badass in women. I wrote it because I was trying to explain to a (straight, male) friend of mine how differently women held themselves in lesbian bars: their posture seemed prouder and more confident. The best way I would explain it was “it’s like they’re not asking for permission anymore.” He asked me “are women usually asking for permission?” and I realised yes, we absolutely are. I wrote a poem about confident women not asking permission to be themselves

Then when I first performed the poem it was just after Margaret Thatcher had died. The MC, just looking for a link to the next poet who had a load of material about how horrible Margaret Thatcher was, said “What about that Thatcher, aye? She didn’t ask for permission.” I was really, really pissed off to hear my nice poem about confident women being compared to Margaret Thatcher Continue reading

Recipe: Chia Seed Porridge

20 Jul

I did another post for Anna’s Eat Food. Be Joyful blog:

Eat Food. Be Joyful.

This is our second recipe from the excellently culinary Hannah Chutzpah. She has this to say:

Chia Seeds.

Lately I have discovered chia seeds. Previously I’d only ever heard of them in the context of people mocking Gwenyth Paltrow, but I watched the documentary ‘Hungry for Change’ recently and decided to try out some new stuff from the healthfood store.

Chia seeds look like slightly shinier, paler poppy seeds, but they have a lot of pectin so they go really gloopy and you can make something a lot like porridge with about 2 tablespoons of them. They’re supposed to do all kinds of magical things like give you energy, stabilise blood sugar and help you remove bile salts from your system. I’m no nutritionist, but they seem perfectly edible and I did start feeling a bit perkier when I started eating them.

Usually I’ve tried nuking them with milk like…

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Indiegogo: 45 hours left (thank you!)

19 Jul

Hey folks, just a short and sweet post to say there’s 45 hours left on my Indiegogo to publish a poetry pamphlet and fund my taking my show Asking Nicely up to the Edinburgh Fringe.

You guys rock! I’m already over my asking (nicely) total! You have made a nervous, broke poet with big dreams very, very happy!

I’m talking to my wonderful small press publisher Allographic and since I now have more funds to play with than I dared hope for – the poetry pamphlet is gonna be pretty beefed-up. Shiny full-colour cover, bigger print run, etc. The funding also means I can pay for my accommodation at the Edinburgh Fringe. This is all thanks to YOU GUYS. So thank you so, so much.
Butterfly4_favourite
At this point I want to give a sneak preview. My collection will be called Alchemy, Treasure and Butterfly Wings (after a line in this poem) and I think this image will be the cover.

With a little number crunching I am astounded to see that people have donated an average of £14.25. I am so, so touched and so grateful. However, the ‘entry point’ donation remains £4 for a copy of the pamphlet and there’s still a little time to order one.

Also, if you run any poetry events you might want to take up the £20 funding option and get a 20 minute set. Three promoters have taken this option up already and I’m doing my first of these gigs at Lipped Ink tonight at the Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden.

Thank you everyone. Over and out. xx

Writing tips for young poets

14 Jul

Fountain penI’ve seen a lot of stuff by young, promising up-and-coming poets lately, and some of it’s blown me away. Some of it has been so close but in need of a little more work.

For the former group I have only awe and envy. For the latter group I’ve come up with some pointers. This list isn’t comprehensive, but I think it’s a good start:

  • Listen to and read lots of poetry written by more experienced writers.
  • DO NOT WRITE ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU’RE WRITING.
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
  • Use your experiences to connect with others, not to prove you’re a special snowflake.
  • Try out a little bit of everything and find what fits you.
  • Workshop your writing with other writers.
  • Edit multiple times to polish.

Continue reading

Recipe: Courgette Salad

12 Jul

My awesome friend Anna has just started a food blog, and I’ve just created a recipe:

Eat Food. Be Joyful.

Ladies and gentlemen, our first recipe! It is a recipe for courgette salad, courtesy of the utterly fabulous Hannah Chutzpah, of whom more later.

Ingredients

  • 2 courgettes.
  • 1 apple.
  • 3 sticks of celery.
  • maybe a 1 inch chunk of ginger.
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.

Method

So, Anna raved about raw courgettes, cut up really fine with a vegetable slicer. I’ve seen the same done with cucumber, so I gave this a go. It was a first attempt based on what was in the fridge at the time. The courgette was marinated (for maybe 10 minutes) in soy sauce with finely-chopped ginger. Then I chucked in a chopped up apple, 3 sticks of celery chopped up, and feta to sprinkle. Substitute sunflower seeds if you want it vegan. It turned out awesome – I went back for seconds.

a bowl of courgette salad with the ingredients on a board Om nom nom! Hannah’s courgette salad making set-up.

About Hannah

Hannah Chutzpah…

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George R R Martin is Not Your Bitch

12 Jul

I’ve just read this brilliant post from Neil Gaiman about audience entitlement (“why is George R R Martin doing anything else rather than writing his next book for me?”) and I could not agree more. (Read from the bold bit on down.)

One thing I heard loud and clear when I was studying creative writing at UEA (only the BA) was that more life makes for better, more complex writing. Life is the time when you experience and learn things which you will then want to write about, and that it’s also the time when your brain starts to untangle threads, notice patterns, and work out what’s worthy of harvesting and analysing.

This is why a lot of juvenilia suffers from melodrama overload Continue reading