Obviously we get dragged into days like these at our peril. Perishing peril. Never promises to go well and absorbs - blackhole-like - all the energy this tenuous organization doesn't really have much of. It is our constant, we are energy poor. We are time poor. Like everyone I guess.
Still, here we go again. Only yesterday, Jay Lewis asked what we should be doing for National Poetry Day this year, which is October 7th. I think in 2020 Outsideleft published a number of poems on the site and this year we are expanding our scope, horizons, ambitions, dreams - “blah blah blah blah blah” to quote the poet that is Greta Thunberg. This year, we’re planning to publish a poem per hour (pphtm) throughout the day. Next year, one poem per minute?
So this is not literally a “Calling All Poets!” It is a “Calling some poets…” calling some poets to join us in our plan to publish a poem an hour on Outsideleft, almost every hour throughout National Poetry Day and night. Even while we are sleeping.
Got poet pals? Then let them know, get them in touch with us and lets see what happens. As people agree to join in, let's see this list below grow to a mighty 24...
List, bio and links to poets that are joining in… (in the order of getting back to us)
The Emergency Poet - Deborah Alma
Deborah Alma is a UK poet, editor and teacher. She has worked using poetry with people with dementia, in hospice care, with vulnerable women’s groups and with children in schools. From 2012 she was the Emergency Poet offering poetry on prescription from her vintage ambulance. She co-founded the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy in Shropshire with her partner the poet James Sheard in 2019.
A mix of the therapeutic and the theatrical, Deborah offers consultations inside the Poetry Pharmacy and prescribes poems as cures as well as dispensing poemcetamols and other poetic pills and treatments.
She is editor of Emergency Poet - an anti-stress poetry anthology, #Me Too – rallying against sexual harassment - a women’s poetry anthology, Ten Poems of Happiness and co-edited with Dr Katie Amiel These Are the Hands-Poems from the Heart of the NHS. Her first full collection Dirty Laundry is published by Nine Arches Press. Find Deborah here at her Poetry Pharmacy
No bones about it, we love PixieVic. I first heard her at the legendary Chaos Acoustic Club - a weekly event that has done so much to nurture leftfield talent, let’s say her performance was jawdroppingly challengingly brilliant. No let up ever since.
Outsideleft’s Jay Lewis and Ancient Champion have recorded a few pieces of Jay’s spoken word set to AC’s musical accompaniment in the past year. There’s more to come. For National Poetry Day, Jay debuts their next piece, Betrayal, 1991.
Jay talks here.
What has not been said about Wolverhampton Poet Laureate and novelist, Emma Purshouse? Maybe this, finding her work for the first time is so special, it’s like finding a well tuned piano in a plowed field and finding yourself able to play and sing Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk through to the end. Which you couldn't do before. Emma is just that great. Her most recent poetry collection is ‘Close’ (Offa’s Press). Her first novel ‘Dogged’ (Ignite Books) was published early in 2021. Emma has performed her work at spoken word nights and festivals across the UK.
Emma's website is here. Emma in Outsideleft, here.
From the author of the forthcoming Famous For 15 People, The Songs of Momus 1982-1985 (October 29th, Zero Books), which sounds like a Mastermind chosen subject - you have to keep them narrow to win. From John something entirely different and spontaneous for National Poetry Day.
Pre order John's book here
Steve Pottinger is a poet, author, and workshop facilitator, and a founding member of Wolverhampton arts collective Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists. He’s an engaging and accomplished performer who has performed the length and breadth of the country, from Penzance up to Orkney. His sixth volume of poems, ‘thirty-one small acts of love and resistance’ published by Ignite Books, is available here: Ignite Books. Steve's website is here, and then there's Twitter: @bigstevepoet
Michael is a prize-winning Scottish poet and author, a finalist for the 2018 Writer of the Year at the Herald Scottish Culture Awards; was awarded the 2014 John Mather Trust Rising Star of Literature Award; and won a 2015 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. His second book, Oyster, was published in 2017 and was illustrated by and performed as a live show with Scott Hutchison (of Frightened Rabbit). His new book on friendship and grief, Boy Friends, will be published by Faber in 2022.
David Benjamin Blower
Of course we are big fans of David Benjamin Blower - the star of our first ever Outsideleft Night Out. He came, played quietly and sang about the impending apocalypse we seem intent on visiting upon ourselves and mesmerised us all. David's newsletter is The Soil Journal. He has recorded many albums and tours living rooms of the UK. To download a collection of David's most popular songs, stripped down and reborn, visit David's website here.
Christian PRESENT est un Poète-Artiste Peintre Vauclinois (Commune du Vauclin) né
le 27 Août 1972 en Martinique (France) en quête du moi dans ses œuvres en proie aux extérieurs de la nature humaine qui sommeillent dans les contrées les plus poussiéreuses de notre être et qui pour une raison quelconque, ou par un ennui mal maîtrisé, cueille le fruit mûr de la pensée vacillante, sur le double tranchant qu'est la vie. Sa poésie est issue des cisaillements de l'être. La matrice de ses recueils est l'être
humain, dans toute sa splendeur, héroïque et quelque fois méprisable, gisant près de l'Autre, c’est aussi cet autre pointé du doigt qui quelque fois nous ramène a notre plus simple appareil, oh combien détesté , notre moi. L'être est curieux au gré de ses différents recueils déjà sortie et à ses collaborations dans le milieu de l’art Pictural, et musical.
Dave Pitt is an award winning playwright, performance poet and story teller. He has performed poetry around the country both solo and as part of the group, “Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists.” His plays have been performed as far afield as Seattle. His work is as likely to leave you crying with laughter as crying with emotion. He is Black Country born and bred and still lives and works in the area. Absolutely check out Dave's website here.
Adrian Crossen is middle aged. He likes to do creative things like art, music and poetry (when he isn’t helping a company sell things for a pound or being lazy). And we all understand the value of being lazy. Not to give too much away but Ade's poem will be a thoughtful choice I am sure.
Tinker, painter, poet, spy… Rue Collinge is a freelance storyteller living in North-East England. She is currently a semi-finalist in BBC Words First. Raw and lyrical, she has performed across the UK and on the radio, and was awarded the Philip Larkin Poetry Prize 2020. She helps people find their voice in an increasingly noisy world.
Glyn Phillips is a poet from the West Midlands, with two books, various slam titles and a rather large moustache. A big figure in the West Midlands cultural arts scene I'd say. He often writes comic pieces. The poem he has sent over for National Poetry Day isn't one of those... It's almighty and beautiful though. You'll see.
Jackie Stein sees the world in Poetry. Like comedians observe people and create jokes. Jackie observes people and situations and creates poems which express thoughts and feelings at the time. Jackie had been a corporate whirlwind in younger years but now works with a small local charity to bring people together to avoid social isolation. "Dive into poetry and enjoy..."
Poet, playwright, singer-songwriter, author and comic compère, Brendan Hawthorne is a born and bred Black Countryman! He is widely published and has held several writing residencies throughout his career. He was one of Anthony Gormley’s ‘Fourth Plinthers’ where he performed his work in Trafalgar Square, London, atop the empty plinth. Brendan was made Wednesbury Poet Laureate in 2014 and currently holds the ‘Bill o Bowes’ national award for best written dialect.
Jimmy Andrex is a poet who performs his work all over the UK. Black Horse Poet of the Year on two occasions, he has published three collections, along with five albums of poetry to music the most recent of which is State of That (Jan 2020). Jimmy is Co-Founder (with John Irving Clarke) of Red Shed Readings since 2008, he is a regular presenter on elfm’s Love the Words, where he writes and produces The Jimmy Andrex Outside Broadcast, a poetry sitcom, as well as co-curating their Writing on Air Festival. In addition he co-hosts events nationwide for EMOM, (Electronic Music Open Mic, with Martin Christie. He has also been featured on BBC 6Music.
Ahmed Magare is a Somali born artist, poet and spoken word artist. He spent many years in Holland before settling in the UK and completing his Fine Art BA (Hons) at Birmingham City University. Ahmed has performed his spoken word on many platforms and collaborated with musicians and singers for many events. He has exhibited his artwork and published 2 books of poetry with artwork, he also co-produced a film about the Somali Community in Birmingham. In 2019 he hosted his own exhibition and events at Ort Gallery in Balsall Heath. Ahmed's website is here.
Return to this page as we expand it to reveal more of the 24! News, you'll hear about it when we have it.