Let's set the scene:
The whole of England lock off! The walls feel like they're closing in. The days are shortening so sharply, you miss the sun if you're not careful to step outside for a little exercise before noon.
My Zoom* game's been improving (top tip: try a Donna Tartt tome plus two poetry anthologies to prop up the laptop), and so much good has been going on... so we keep it moving.
Here are some select highlights of things to come, plus some things just gone to catch up on.
1) Today: Quiero Queeride @ Fringe!
I'm part of a Spanish/English literature event tonight (it's fine if you only speak one of those languages) which will be a bit picante. I've been collaborating with Luis Amalia, using film, collage and Spanish-language poems I've written in the last few months in response to global events. Expect: Dettol, olive oil, (semi)-nudity, politics and the tongue in the cheek. I'm pretty excited/nervioso about the whole thing. More info to be found here.
2) Nottingham Poetry Festival, 19th November
Yeah, also add Nottingham Poetry Festival to that list of web migrants. I'll be on a panel with some heavyweights in defence of poetry (that's literally the title of the event).
Check it out here, and view the rest of the programme too.
3) Poetry vs. Colonialism @ Being Human Festival, 15-22nd November
I'm part of a project combining heritage, history, education and the five senses to explore colonialism through poetry and art. Find more about the project here.
During this first phase, we'll be running interactive events at the Being Human Festival, exploring sugar, tobacco, gold and cotton. The links to all the events are here.
I'm working with the incredible artist Karen McLean and the academic Dr Malcolm Cocks to explore the legacy of sugar in the Caribbean. Our workshop, 'Sugar Sugar', is on the 22nd. (Tickets are nearly sold out, so contact me for waiting list details)
Also, I feature in the Being Human promo video below (eek!) which might give some idea on the broad range of other activities happening throughout the festival.
4) More exciting things...
I've started my residency with Imperial Health Charity, and am working with staff groups, patients and schools to get everyone writing poetry. This is at least one huge positive thing that's come out of the lock-up.
I'm also on the Commonwealth Short Story Prize judging panel (whoop whoop!) which is huuge. I thought I'd mention it now because obvs. I won't be able to shout about the stories I'm reading until the time comes for it... but there'll be plenty of shouting I hope!
5) On Catch up:
Last night, I also made an appearance on Life & Rhymes, hosted by the inimitable Benjamin Zephaniah on SkyArts. I haven't yet been able to see it, but I can't wait to see how the whole series pans out. If you have a subscription kind of thing, you can view it here...
(Also if you want to hear what I might sound like in Ukranian, you can find out here - it's a little strange being dubbed - and check out Lviv BookForum).
That's it for now. Stay safe and Dettoled**!
*Team, Collaborate, G**gle Hangouts and multiple other videoconferencing platforms are also available.
**other disinfecting products are available.