It's almost summer and festival season is upon us.
It has been a quiet spring but that does not mean we have been idle. After such a busy 2022 (see below), Isabel has continued her collaboration with photographer Jo Shepherd, the results of which will be posted here shortly... She also featured in this anthology from the very topical Hot Poets team - Liv Torc and Chris Redmond.
Isabel came third in the Nailsworth slam, hosted by the ever wonderful Sara-Jane Arbury and Elvis McGonagall. Check out the Amalfi restaurant in Nailsworth, for their effervescent Vitello al Limone. Bellissima!
The big news for May 2023 is the imminence of this year's biggest ever Clevedon Literary Festival - 51 events, no less than six of them featuring poetry:
Thursday 8th June - The Curzon Cinema in Clevedon brings you the cream of Bristol's spoken word talent - RAISE THE BAR, the South West’s leading spoken word events organisation, featuring: Spoken word film - a Bristol-made beauty that will open your heart; a multi genre set from DJ Ngaio (Booty Bass) British and Nigerian syncopated rhythms and bass; spellbinding spoken word performances from Southwest based Danny ‘Craft-D’ Pandolfi, Saili Katebe and a set from the current Bristol City Poet (2022-24) Kat Lyons. Headlining will be Vanessa Kisuule, Bellatrix and Rob Auton.
Saturday 10th June - we are delighted to welcome BBC Wondermentalist Matt Harvey, with MATT & JO’S SATURDAY NIGHT FLAVAS. Writer, poet, enemy of all that’s upsetting, Matt Harvey’s publications include The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind. Matt will be performing new poems from his latest book Careless Whisker, inspired by the darkly comic and curious art of Claudia Schmid, interspersed with lively pieces about vegetables, dogs and petty theft, and quite possibly (and unapologetically) sperm banks and soft furnishings.
Sharing the stage with Matt is Jo Bell, inaugural Laureate for the Canal & River Trust. Working with poetry talents from Ian McMillan to Brian Patten, Jo is a performer, playwright, producer and a few things that don't begin with P. For six years she was the director of National Poetry Day; sometime programmer for Ledbury Poetry Festival and occasional broadcaster. Supporting Matt and Jo will be Bristol based legend Tom (T.S. Idiot) Stockley and Jenya ‘Jen’ Korotynska, giving us a unique Ukrainian perspective.
Jo follows up this show with a workshop on Sunday 11th June - HISTORIES – A WORKSHOP WITH JO BELL encouraging people to use history - both personal and global - as a stimulus to write new poems. It's a great way to tackle current affairs too. I am delighted to own a copy of Jo’s 2015 poetry collection Kith (Nine Arches Press) containing many of the poems written during her time as Canal Laureate.
Slammers will want to know that they are catered for with the show LIFE'S A BEACH! (Sunday 11th June) - an environmentally themed slam in association with Rhyme Against the Tide. Host Sophie Shepherd will be signing people up in the weeks ahead of the slam - watch our news and social media feeds for information on how to take part.
Mel Simpson brings us an open invitation to writers, artists, enthusiasts and the curious, to dive in and explore the style of modernist Doris Hatt. Watch Mel live and spark your creativity in PAINTING, DRAWING or WRITING. Expect colourful nostalgic dance and held poses, jazz (Sidney Bechet), and parasols! Want to DANCE instead? Join Mel online to throw some shapes in the privacy of your own living room – camera on or off – you decide!
Saturday 10th June also sees the launch of the 2023 Clevedon Literary Festival poetry and short story competitions, full details of which will shortly be posted on their website. The competitions will also be launched at the festival, with open mic performers and a few surprise visitors.
In addition, many of the rest of the festival’s participants are also involved in the poetry scene (Noreen Masud, Zakiya McKenzie, Lora Johnson); there’s a local market for publishers, small presses, book arts etc with even more local poets involved.
Now published seven times in Jerry Jazz Musician, Isabel's poetry is also about to feature on classical music FM station WMNR Fine Arts Radio, a major station in Connecticut.
LAST YEAR'S HIGHLIGHTS...
Isabel winning the Rhyme Against the Tide slam back in January; headlining in Wells, for Global Fusion in London, Fourth Portal in Great Yarmouth (also featuring the world’s first completely AI poet, and an encounter with artist, sculptor, poet and musician Jason Parr), appearances at the Cheltenham, Ledbury and Stroud slams; delivering poetry for the 2022 Clevedon Literary Festival featuring, amongst others, Elvis McGonagall (see below), Cynthia Hamilton (making an all too rare appearance), Steve Tasane and Mark Thompson; success in the Hot Poets and Ironbridge competitions; launch of a two-hander pamphlet with Agnes Meadows - An Inconvenience of Air and Smoke; poems and essays published in the Dhaka Review, Bread and Roses anthology, and seven times in the eclectic Jerry Jazz Musician online magazine for jazz aficionados across the pond (nice).
Mark Thompson published his second collection - More Mixed Messages; he also appeared on prime time television in September, and he has a new website - take a peek here. His next collection is now available, courtesy of Burning Eye books. New recordings are out for Davide Stramaglia who wowed audiences recently on Italian television; James Hodgson has been building a studio at Graceland Dagenham while curating Sydenham Arts; Emma O’Rourke has a one woman show in North London, running as this piece is being written; Depi Gorgogianni splitting her time between London and Athens with lots of projects on the go; Rosemary Yung has been globetrotting, also fetching up in Greece this autumn; Patricia Hammond has posted that “she is making an appearance in a major film which (she) cannot talk about yet, that is set to be out later this year or early next (all I’ll say is I’m wearing green feathers)” and Sabina Virtosu is soaring to new heights in small planes. (Shout out to Joe Duggan too!)
Next year is shaping up nicely; we have had a successful try out of next year’s tour - Isabel White’s Phantastic Ekphrastic Show, a possible new residency, another new collection… watch this space!
“I am lost for words in a way that you are clearly not. I feel like I’m opening a box of handcrafted chocolates every time I open your emails. They are exquisite and delicious.”
Elvis has not left the building!
As part of Clevedon Literary Festival, on Saturday 11th June we hosted a spoken word spectacular featuring Alarms stalwarts Mark Mr T. Thompson, Steve Tasane and the wonderful and much missed Cynthia Hamilton. Our headliner was Elvis McGonagall, Gie’ing it Laldy as only Elvis can! We also co-curated the rest of the programme
which featured open mics, a host of speakers, events and masterclasses for adults and children, drama, live music all day at Clevedon bandstand, artist in residence, Doris Hatt’s Communist Coach and a bracing walk on the pier! We’ll be back again next year, with major headline talent, bigger and better than ever.
Isabel's third collection - Scallywag - has been flying off the shelves (slight hyperbole there missus!) a little gem for all you hipsters, beatniks, aficionados, gogs, magogs and fans of the f Sharp (she is a very stylish girl -ask Dimitri - he knows!).
In the meantime, how about revisiting past glories while we prepare for our next show, which we promise will be even more exciting than the last! Check out the rest of the site!