2021 Done List
Updated: Jan 3
Begone, '21! What's new, '22?
Just under the wire, I wanted to add a round-up of activities from 2021. It's also the first News post on this new website!
In a very disorderly and unscientific way, I looked back through my paper diary (yes, I still use a paper diary and my brain doesn't function with out it). That's prompted the summaries below, with some hopes and trailers for 2022...
I view my work as a Network of Enterprises or, more often now, a mycelial network. When it works, this means there's nutrients flowing across and between the various projects, benefiting all of them whilst still allowing time and resources to flourish as a human being.
There have been times, through all the tumult, lockdowns and uncertainties, I've taken on too much and overworked. But in a time when so many have lost work, or not been able to venture out at all, I've appreciated all of it.
Likewise, I've appreciated being able to get out and do some 'normal' things: seeing friends; a couple of incidents of DANCING (which I really missed); being outside; getting away to some places in the UK - especially up to the Trossachs at summer solstice and over to the Gower during the early-September heatwave.
Because I'm short on time and - quite honestly - tend to be quite low on motivation at this time of year, I'm expressing this as my 2021 DONE LIST. We're often trawling endless and unachievable To Do Lists, so creating Done Lists is, I find, a helpful way to remember how much you've achieved.
So what follows is a heavily-linked summary of many of my projects this year. As much for my benefit as for anyone else's, but if you scan through there may be some interesting links:
2021 DONE LIST
Tutoring and Mentoring
Tutoring for Poetry School 'Letting Your Avant-Garde Down'
Hosting sessions for Quay Words themed around the elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air
My third iteration of Beyond Words, this year all online - but still resulting in a gorgeous anthology, 'Museum of Unfaithful Reflections'
'Ruffs and Rituals' - online sessions for young people inspired by Charter House
'Reclaiming the Rainbow' an online LGBT+ creative wellbeing course, online
Mentoring the brilliant April Egan through Poetry Ambassadors, as well as working directly with another mentee
Being a part of the Made in Migration collective resulting in this amazing online exhibition exploring migrant materialities
Creating Max Literacy Videos for Bristol Museum Service - you can find them on my Free Resources site here.
Temperature Life Stories, with Brigstow Institute
Three days in Pembrokeshire for Poetry Society Poets in Schools (including a glorious day on one of the beaches there)
Working with Christ the King Primary in Bristol as City Poet, on poems related to oral histories of cinema
Key Publications and Press
In February, during lockdown, tall-lighthouse published my debut pamphlet, 'Wasted Rainbow'. We managed to have a great online launch, including some digital dancing through 'Wasted Rainbow Rhythms'...
Katrina Naomi in Poetry London said: "Wasted Rainbow is a delight: a celebration of queer love and desire that is filmic, fun, intensely personal and (quietly) political".
In October, my debut collection This Fruiting Body was published with the always-wonderful Nine Arches Press. It's a joy to be published by a press which has been such a huge part of my development as a poet.
It's been so rewarding seeing the book connect with readers. On the Cardiff Review here, James McDermott said, "it's the poetry collection I've found myself re-reading and teaching more than any other. It's full of wry, witty, linguistically delicious ecopoems exploring the queerness of nature."
And in Alchemy Spoon, reviewer Vanessa Lampert said, "This is gorgeous, restless poetry that wanders through the natural and built environments with childlike curiosity, and wry adult humour. I highly recommend it".
For National Poetry Day 2021, I had a poem from the pamphlet and collection featured on a billboard in Bristol and in this article in the Guardian.
An unexpected gig judging a poetry competition between three barmen for The Bar Games, which I believe will be available on a Bacardi drinks app? I mean, I like booze and I like poetry, so...
Commissions, Collaborations and Readings
As Bristol City Poet this year:
'Ridgeway' for Bristol Remembers, reflecting on the lockdowns
'Almanac of Lunar Songs' with Miranda Lynn Barnes, performed and installed under Luke Jerram's 'Museum of the Moon' in Bristol Cathedral
'The Best Light' with Tom Sastry, exploring the history and possible futures of the Western Harbour area of Bristol
Performing poetry with a puppet on my head at our Clay Bottom street party and writing this poem, 'Flowers in the Mud', based on audience contributions!
Working with Design West and English Heritage to create school resources exploring Temple Church's history
A commissioned poem for the 'After Sylvia' anthology, published in 2022 with Nine Arches
As a contributor to the Wild Correspondings launch event at Knepp Estate
Readings online for: Tears in the Fence; Cafe Writers; Poetry Teignmouth and others.
I gave my first online keynote talk, 'Being Animals Through Machines', at the MIX Conference, which was also brilliantly illustrated by Camille Aubry:
Reading and workshops at the Winchester Poetry Festival
Reading for Keele University (and featuring on the cover of their programme, which goes to show the benefits of high-res, interesting portrait pictures)
Hosting the awards ceremony for the Tree Weekender writing competition in November
Training and Development
Extend Arts Leadership Development Programme
Clean Language Coaching
Nomination and application for Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship
Comedy for Poets course with Angie Belcher
Networks and Community
I continue to chair the NAWE Community Writers Sub-Committee
With Sonya Hundal, we convened the 'Creative Writers in the Visual Arts Network' in collaboration with ENGAGE and Max Literacy.
What's New, 2022?
I'll be writing a 'Putting Together a Poetry Pamphlet' course for New Writing South.
In October, I'll have my second poetry pamphlet and third solo publication, with tthe excellent Broken Sleep, working title 'The Coin'
January will see one from my collection featured as Poem of the Week in the Guardian!
I'll be re-establishing my habit of setting aside and spending time every week on the editing, development and submissions of new work, which is so easy to lose but is absolutely vital to the poetry life.
And I'll be seeking funding for the development of a second collection: there is a lot more to say on all my obsessions...
Who knows what else will crop up!