Congratulations to all the winners of last weekend’s Saboteur Awards, and especially to all our friends who received an award or were on the shortlist for their genre. We know how much hard work you put into what you do and how passionate you are about it, and what a boost to morale it is to get a little recognition for all you’ve done. Whether you won or not, we hope being considered for these awards is a stepping stone to greater things, and that you’ve a spring in your step this morning and for weeks to come!
Awards, by their nature, can only turn their spotlight on a handful of individuals and organisations. So here’s a shout-out to all the people putting their heart and soul into keeping poetry and spoken word alive and kicking in the unsung towns and cities round the country. A shout-out to the wonderful nights we’ve been to in Doncaster, Morecambe, New Mills, Welshpool, Banbury, Leeds, Hull, and more. A shout-out to the audiences who support those nights, because without you we’re nothing. Poetry and spoken word has always been – and always will be, in our book – a wonderfully democratic art form, where everyone can make their voice heard, can share what matters to them, can listen to what matters to others.
So, whatever part you play in this poetry community, here’s an imaginary gold star from the pandemonialists to say Thank you. Pin it on your frock, your shirt, your dungarees, or hang it from your ear. Whatever takes your fancy, but wear it with pride! We’ll hope to see you at a poetry gig somewhere, very soon.
Oops. Almost the end of April, and we’ve just realised we haven’t written a blog for ages. Sorry about that. We’ve been busy. Yes, there’s the usual stuff – our fantastic Yes We Cant poetry night in Walsall, the wonderful Home & Away in Wolverhampton, and our own individual poetry gigs out and about round the country – but we’ve also got a couple of other projects on the go. Big ones. Exciting ones.
Thing is, we can’t really talk about those just yet. But that’s why we haven’t been typing blogs like this one for a while, and why this one is a little bit hasty, a little bit rushed. You know how it is – our ‘to-do’ list is monstrous at the moment, and – well, we’ve got to go. It’s about to eat the sofa.
See you soon at a poetry evening somewhere*, we hope!
Just before Christmas the Pandemonialists ran a workshop for Gazebo Theatre. It involved young people on their Talent Match programme being given some advice in writing and performing. The clients produced poems and spoken word at an incredibly high level and their final performance was inspiring, hilarious and heartfelt. We are so proud to have been part of this journey and eternally grateful to Gazebo Theatre for the opportunity.
The video below was produced of the journey and features two of us pandemonialists waxing lyrical and eating porridge.
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.
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.
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!
Well here it is, the Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists website. It’s complete. Look at this home we’ve created. It is filled with great content, stylish, and a bit silly (A bit like us). We feel it was worth all the blazing rows we had about Oxford commas.
So this website is complete. Please run around and click things. Obviously we’ll be adding new content regularly so don’t think you can show up here once and that’s the end of it. Keep popping back, subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter.
For now all the Pandemonialists will sit back with a look on our face a bit like this:
No, we’re not sure what that brown thing in the background is either.
We are proud to announce our very own Emma Purshouse won the Poetry Slam at the Shambala Festival over the weekend.
Her prize is two tickets to next year’s festival as well as a gig there. It is also possible she will never talk to Dave and Steve again, although she is letting them share this video of the poem she read in the final of the slam. We hope you enjoy it as much as the audience did at Shambala.