Journey to the Centre of the Poem Workshop with Poetry Wales

Delighted to be running a writing/editing workshop for Poetry Wales in early July – Journey to the Centre of the Poem: From Draft to Destination. As it’s sold out via the workshop mailing list before it went public, we are hopefully putting on another date in July. Subscribe to Poetry Wales to find out when, or check-in here 🙂

Busy spring into summer!

It’s been a busy old time recently and I’m looking forward to a few days off to see my old mum this weekend in Wales. Recently, I’ve been working with Sheffield Poet Laurate and Hive young poet, Warda Yassin on a Poetry Society Project. We had a glorious weekend at Victoria Quays in Sheffield and at Swinton Lock on a narrowboat doing poetry workshops. For the boat trip, we took young poets, and at the Quays it was a lovely mix of poets and people who’d never written before. The aim of the workshops was to engage people with our wonderful canals, and to get them writing poetry, of course. Warda will be writing a poem, taking inspiration from the work produced in the workshops, to be featured on a wall between the Sheffield and Tinsley stretch of canal later this year. Can’t wait!

I’ve also been hard at work with Zoe Brigley working as a contributing editor on the Summer issue of Poetry Wales. We’re so proud of it! It’s a really humbling experience being on the other side of magazine submissions. I really struggled with writing rejections for one thing. There were so many poems I wished I could take but there wasn’t the room. On the brighter side, it’s been so lovely to showcase a lovely range of poets in the issue. I’m also really thrilled to have interviewed poet, author, teach, and winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing for her book ‘Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me’, Kate Clanchy about poetry, teaching and the neurodivergent brain. She is a fellow dyslexic writer so it was wonderful to compare notes and talk about things like big-picture thinking and decoding. Things I don’t get to talk about with many people!

I hope wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you are well and there is sun!

If All This Never Happened

 My pamphlet – If All This Never Happened – is available to pre-order from Southword Editions Munster Literature Centre. I’m so grateful to Patrick and James at MLC, judges James Harpur & Maya Popa, and for such kind quotes from Ian McMillan, Stuart Paterson and Mary Jean Chan. I can’t wait to see it! 

“This is poetry working with great compassion and skill to light up whatever the world throws at it. Vicky Morris’s work is a heartening and humbling illumination of Hemingway’s phrase ‘grace under pressure.’ Here, the pressure is great, but the grace is greater.” Ian McMillan

 

“Vicky Morris’s poems are unafraid of ‘bearing witness to everything that life isn’t, and is.’ in language spare, crafted & memorable, flitting truthfully & sometimes joyously between the very nubs of life & death, from terrible endings to beautiful beginnings. I’ve rarely encountered poetry recently which has spoken so plainly yet unforgettably. There are dark corners, yes, but there are always doors opening off them into light. Doors, as Morris says herself, she has ‘yet to open, or walk through with a pen.’ May we follow her through them listening.” Stuart A. Paterson

 

“These lyric poems are tender yet powerful domestic portraits, depicted with great attention to detail. There is much to admire in this vital pamphlet. I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it as I was choosing my shortlist.” Mary Jean Chan

Social Care Poem

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Social 2020, I was recently commissioned by the University of York to write a poem above people’s experiences of self-funded social care inspired by Zoom conversations with some lovely members of the public late last year. Some of them then kindly offered to record it, and here it is! It’s more a spoken word piece really, and wasn’t mean to be as long as it turned out, but people had a lot to say about their experiences and I really wanted to represent as many of them as possible. We are hoping it might get to the powers that be too and have some influence for how the social care system runs in future in the UK.

Magma Issue 79

Delighted to receive my contributor’s copy of Magma Poetry featuring my poem CORD that won the Aurora Prize for Poetry 2020. A big thanks to Fiona Moore and editors Zoe Brigley, Kristian Evans, Rod A. Mackenzie and all at Magma for publishing it!

Arvon & Poetry Wales Workshops

Well hello, spring warmth and sap green bloom! What lovely weather it is here! And I hope wherever this finds you. On top of my usual Hive poetry and young writers’ groups, I’ve very much enjoyed delivering some workshops for Arvon and Poetry Wales recently. It’s the first time I’ve been beamed into a school on behalf of Arvon via Google Teams, but it was actually okay (despite not being able to see the students!) Of course, we’re all uber used to working this way now. I’m looking forward to being sent the rest of the work to read.

On Sunday, I delivered a workshop for Poetry Wales on Human Doings and Human Beings. It was such a lovely, busy workshop, and a warm, talented bunch, up for all I set them to. And I even saw a friend I first met on a course in 2017 and who hadn’t been on one since, nor on Zoom. They said it inspired them to do more so that feels good too! And what cracking work they all produced. I’m hoping to do another Poetry Wales workshop at the end of May. If you write poetry, would love to see you!

Some of the lovely feedback:

Brilliant, brilliant workshop, Vicky. I loved every second of it! Didn’t even pause for chocolate! I’ve been to loads over lockdown and yours was the standout highlight of them all! Can’t wait for the next one : )Thank you so much – Katharine G
Thank you for leading the workshop with such good humour and skill.  I enjoyed it a lot and have the germ of a poem. Your prompt about groups made me think of those amazing clock makers obsessed with measuring time and dreaming up and constructing the most astonishing computer machines 400 years ago. Anne B
Huge thanks Vicky for a brilliant workshop just what I needed and beyond my expectations. – Lorraine O

Tribes & Their Humans Poetry Wales Workshop

In other news, I’m delighted to be leading this workshop for Poetry Wales in March. If you’re a poet, fledgling or otherwise, I’d love to see you!

Tribes and Their Humans: Human Doings & Human Beings in Poetry
Poetry never gets tired of writing people and their particulars, but who doesn’t lack new ways in to get started? If you’d like to explore some great writing exercises and approaches (that you can keep coming back to) then come through and join me!

In this warm, friendly and fast-paced workshop, (open to both fledgling poets and those in full flight) expect to home in on the unexpected, run with first thoughts and generate some fab first drafts. There’ll be opportunities to share and discuss tips and tricks for editing and strengthening your work. Leave with the impetus to get honing your pieces and some reusable approaches to spark something new on the worst of muse-empty days.

2nd Place Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition

Blimey! I’m buzzing to say… I’ve won 2nd place in the Munster Literature Centre’s Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition 2021! This means, very excitingly, my pamphlet If All This Never Happened will be published by Southword Editions in April 2021! I’m so blooming excited! The only sad thing is that because of the pandemic I would be able to go to a launch reading at Cork Poetry Festival in Ireland this spring! I’m holding out for getting there next year instead. Anyway, it’s a lovely bit of news and is keeping me smiling right now (this and the birds!) Congratulations to Felicity Sheehy & all finalists and commended. Thank you to Patrick Cotter, Munster Literature Centre, and judges James Harpur & Maya C Popa.

Shortlisted Wolves LitFest Poetry Competition

I’m thrilled to be one of 25 shortlisted in the Wolves Lit Festival Poetry Competition 20/21 judged by a poet I really love, Liz Berry! The festival had around 1000 entries so that makes the acknowledgment even sweeter!

The North

Delighted to receive my contributor’s copy of The North. It’s such a joy to be published alongside young poets I work with: Lauren Hollingsworth Smith and Georgie Woodhead, both 2020 winners of the New Poets Prize, and the mighty Safia Khan (who we miss a lot up north!) in such a brilliant magazine – proud poetry mama!