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! 

Contributing Editor at Poetry Wales

Some fabulous news! I feel so lucky to be about to commence… the first of three new roles as a contributing editor at the mighty Poetry Wales!! Really this is a dream come true as a Welsh poet come-editor of young and emerging writers.

Massive congratulations to fellow contributing editors-to-be, Marvin Thompson and Taylor Edmonds.

I’m already acquainted with the brilliant work of editor Jonathan Edwards and Jannat Ahmed at Poetry Wales, who I know are going to be great people to work with, and just… yes, buzzing!  Here’s my official quote (seeing as I’m not articulating myself so well right now 🙂

As a Welsh poet from a working-class background, I’m thrilled and honoured to take on the first of three Contributing Editor roles with Poetry Wales.

I think in part because of my background, and having several neurodiverse conditions, I’ve always been aware of the ways in which I haven’t ‘fit’. This not fitting consequently contributed to realising my potential as a poet later than I could have.

I’m really keen to see more diversity and representation at editorial level in poetry, and I’m very thankful to Poetry Wales for the opportunity to be part of this. I’m looking forward to reaching out to beckon in new voices, and to be an advocate for continuing the movement towards positive change that I’ve both seen, and been part of, in poetry over the last few years.

Thank you Magma!

Massive congratulations to Alexa Winik, the winner of the Magma Poetry Pamphlet competition 2020! It was amazing to be one of the ten shortlisted, for my pamphlet, The Cord, and to have my work published in Magma online, and receive the below feedback from judge, Mary Jean Chan (which is just so appreciated and lovely). I’m also buzzing to be 1 of 4 of the shortlisted who will have a poem in Magma issue 79 in print coming out early next year. Massive thanks again to Magma and Fiona Moore for an amazing opportunity, and to Mary Jean Chan for the wonderful, encouraging feedback!

Mary Jean Chan:
“These lyric poems are tender yet powerful domestic portraits, depicted with great attention to detail. There is humour and heartache here, and I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this pamphlet as I was choosing my shortlist. The final (and title) poem is breathtakingly gorgeous. As a long narrative piece, it sums up the whole pamphlet wonderfully and showcases Morris’ many poetic skills. There is much to admire in this vital pamphlet.”

Two Poems

Delighted to have two poems published on the mighty And Other Poems today. I love And Other Poems. It has such an extensive and amazing archive of poems and poets going back to 2012. They’ve generally closed for new work these days so I was excited to see a brief open window for submissions. Thank you to Josephine Corcoran.

Shortlisted in the Magma Poetry Pamphlet Competition

I’m absolutely overjoyed to be one of ten shortlisted in the Magma Poetry Pamphlet Competition judged by Mary Jean Chan. To make the shortlist out of I believe around 400 submissions is really such a boost and I’m so appreciative of this opportunity and the fact Mary Jean will give a little feedback on each of us. Thank you! 🙂

Mary Jean Chan’s general comment on the shortlist: “It was a joy and privilege to read through the longlisted pamphlets for the Magma Open Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2020. Those that ended up on my shortlist were ones that contained individual poems that merited multiple readings, poems that lingered in my mind after I had put them to one side. I was also looking for a sense of purpose and vision in these pamphlets, and many poets delivered just that. I’m sorry that there can only be one “winner”, but many of these pamphlets truly deserve to be published, read, and shared.”

 

Beautiful books…

Although busy, it’s been a lovely time recently with a lot of wonderful happenings. Here are some of them!

On Saturday, I went to the launch of The Language of Salt, a beautiful new anthology I’m very chuffed to be in from Fragmented Voices Press. I wasn’t reading so it was lovely to just sit back and listen to some amazing readings. If you are looking for a wonderful Christmas present on all things love – the sugar and salt of it – you can buy it here.

And this evening I’ve just enjoyed being part of the launch of The Untangling an Anthology by nine of us as Arvon Jerwood Mentees: three poets, three fiction and three playwrights. It’s been so nice to see the fruits of everyone’s work this year and mark a fond goodbye to a brilliant year with Arvon and working with a wonderful mentor, Hannah Lowe. The launch was mean to be in June but the pandemic put a stop to that and in the end we had to bite the Zoom bullet. But actually in was nice of Zoom and meant people like my sister, all the way over in Berlin, could be there with us. Congrats to all on a great showcase and thank you again to Arvon and Jerwood Arts.