Saturday December 29th, and it’s time for Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists to settle down with our collective mug of cocoa and reflect on what we got up to in 2018. It’s fair to say we’ve had a blast, right from the first moment of the Wolves Lit Fest slam back in January through to our pop-up bookshop in Light House just a few days before Xmas.
We are absolutely passionate (when we’re not sitting around with our feet up, drinking cocoa) about taking poetry out to new places, and bringing new people to poetry, and this year we’ve done plenty of both. Our Black Country Broadsheet brought together some of the best performance poets in our region, and took poems and videos out into pubs and clubs, to hairdressers and tattoo shops. We continued to bring top-notch headline poets to our Walsall night Yes We Cant (where we rounded off the year with The Antipoet – one of the nation’s most outrageously talented and hilarious poetic acts) and we set up a quarterly event, Home & Away, at the Light House in Wolverhampton to create a brand-new platform for more voices who weren’t getting heard elsewhere.
When we weren’t busy with all that, we found time to take our Edinburgh show (yes, it was longlisted for a Saboteur Award, and our thanks to all those who nominated us) to venues round the country from Morecambe to Whitchurch to Frome. On top of that, we each fitted in gigs of our own – because we do have lives away from PPP – and Emma had a new collection launched, Steve co-wrote a punk autobiography, and Dave wrote a couple of plays. This autumn, we created the Mappa Mundi Poetica to highlight all the wonderful poets and poetry events across our region. And then, in case all that hadn’t been enough, we unleashed the ‘poet’ T-shirt on the world. As of now, it’s raising the profile of poets and poetry in about seventy different locations, in a range of sizes and colours. This makes us happy. Very happy.
Thanks, 2018. We’ve been busy, we’ve had fun, we’ve made new friends and we’ve heard new poetry voices. Perfect. Our thanks to each and every one of you for all your support, because we couldn’t do it without you. More of the same next year, please.
Happy new year from PPP!
We’ve always been passionate about the West Midlands and inspired by the energy, drive, and imagination of the people who live here. And we love being inspired by others, too.
So when we saw Scott Tyrrell’s beautifully-drawn map of poets on the UK spoken word scene, we were truly gobsmacked. We also knew it couldn’t possibly begin to reflect the wealth of activity and talent which is to be found here in the heart of the country. So we decided we’d create a map which showed that talent, a map which would include page poets and poetry activists and poetry nights as well as what’s happening in spoken word.
One month later, after a lot of work, our Mappa Mundi is ready, a resource for anyone who wants an overview of poetry activity in our region. You’ll find events to go to, and poets to watch out for. You’ll also find that the map is still – and always will be – a work in progress. Although we know a lot, we don’t know everyone or everything that’s going on. And poets are busy people, which means some of the ones we contacted haven’t replied yet. The beauty of our map is that it can change and evolve, so if a new night springs up, or another one closes its doors, or a local poet gets a book deal with Bloodaxe or Verve, the map can reflect that.
With a nod to history, and our tongue in our cheek, we decided to call this the Mappa Mundi Poetica Westus Midlandius. We know the latin is probably wrong, but that’s half the fun. The wonderful cover image – a masterpiece created by Midlands artist Catherine Pascall Moore – harks back to the original mappa mundi, but with a very modern twist. We hope you enjoy it, and that you find poets you know as well as ones whose work you hadn’t heard of.
The map is now ready to share. You’ll find it here: https://www.pandemonialists.co.uk/mappa-mundi/
P.S. Like we said, the latin’s probably wrong. But just look how enjoyable getting latin wrong can be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIAdHEwiAy8
As summer slipped away, we decided we needed something new and wonderful to celebrate what we do, and got some T shirts printed. Our ‘poet’ design attracted a lot of interest, so we thought we’d make them available. If you want one (or more) in a size or colour of your choice, email us to let us know. They’re just £10 a pop (+ p&p if you can’t pick one up from us directly). A lovely bit of merch, if we say so ourselves!