Lots of new ventures lie ahead in Larkin (no relation) Poetryland next year:
1. The Good Dadhood Poetry Project.
Between 1 January and 17 June (Father’s Day), the website Good Dadhood will be live, receiving submissions of poems in honour of fathers. Why? Why not! More information about the project is being posted on the site shortly. By mid-June, we should have a good store of Good Dad poems. I’ll then take stock and decide what to do next in terms of bringing the Best Good Dad Poems together in some form.
2. The Kickstart Poetry Project
This new venture starts on 3 January, under the auspices of a Cheltenham Poetry Society. This is a monthly series of workshops, following Jo Bell’s book 52 – The Book and picking up on the success of Jo’s 2014 on-line poetry writing project. I’m really looking forward to working with a group of local poets who are all eagerly anticipating getting started!
3. Poets Alive
Another year of the poetry reading group meeting begins shortly, under the benevolent banner of Cheltenham Poetry Society! The first meeting on Tuesday 17 January will be considering the poetry of W H Auden. Poets are invited to bring poems by Auden – and also examples of their own work which make an interesting comparison or contrast with the ones they have chosen to bring by Auden. Other poets on the menu for 2017 include T S Eliot, Billy Collins, D H Lawrence and Gillian Clarke. It’s going to be lovely being back in the CPS chair after a much-needed break last year.
4. Poetry Café – Refreshed
Held at Cheltenham’s unique venue, Smokey Joe’s, this popular monthly “guest poet and open mic night” restarts on 18 January when we (host Roger Turner and I) look forward to welcoming David Calcutt as guest poet. We have an equally exciting line-up of poets for the rest of the year, and also look forward to the open mic participants who go from strength to strength month on month.
5. Cheltenham Arts Council’s first meeting of 2017
This takes place on 11 January when we will be looking forward to the awards we will be making in the coming year, and especially the award ceremony in March. I’m slightly daunted at the prospect of heading up these ventures, in what is my first year in the CAC Chair, but there is a wonderfully supportive committee to keep me on track.
6. Regular and Special Poetry Events
Back to Cheltenham Poetry Society – I’ll be collaborating with other talented members to run our monthly series of workshops, reading and writing groups .. and also our special events, including the annual lecture in March, when David Clarke will be talking on the subject of German Poetry, and the annual Awayday retreat scheduled for May. I’m also looking forward to continuing promoting the ‘Cheltenham 300’ anthology of poems and photographs – which came out of workshops at the 2016 CPS Awayday. We’re especially looking forward to giving a reading – with photo projection – at Cheltenham Poetry Festival in May, thanks to CPF Director, Anna Saunders.
7. Finally – and personally – I’m full of anticipation at the prospect of attending a Cinnamon Press poetry residential in North Wales later in January. There will, no doubt, be a separate blog post about it after the event!
So, there’s an exciting start in prospect to a poetry-full year.