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.

October News…

If you see October, can you ask it where it’s gone? 😀 I can’t believe it’s morphed into November! This is always the busiest time of year for me but it feels like it more so than ever this year.

It’s been all go with Off the Shelf Festival of Words and various Hive related events including readings from Lauren Hollingsworth Smith and Georgie Woodhead with TS Eliot winning poet Roger Robinson, and Warda Yassin was crowned Sheffield’s new poet laureate (which is just brilliant news!) earlier this month – and it actually involved a live event, albeit at a very distanced Crucible Theatre. She’s also been shortlisted in the Women’s Poetry Prize. So proud of her and how she’s flying right not. Also her work on Hive’s Mixing Roots project.

I’ve been working away on lots of podcast content in between teaching, and designing and editing an anthology of poetry and fiction by the Sheffield Children in Care Council. It’s just back from the printers and I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out and all the work of the young people; many of whom, wouldn’t have called themselves writers not so long ago. I’ve been working with them on Zoom for the last few months and I’m going to miss them! They’ve written some brilliant work too, including some really powerful group pieces.  You can join us on Zoom for their launch on Thursday 12th Nov (link to follow). They really deserve your ears!

I’ll leave this here with a wonderful podcast I recently put together – Young, Gifted & Black, (in collaboration with REMA for Black History Month) showcasing the voices of up and coming local young poets of African heritage I have the pleasure of working with via Hive. They are: Taina Maneus, Verta Lune, Danae Wellington, Warda Yassin and Sile Sibanda. I hope you’ll bring joy to your ears by listening it >>

Hello Autumn

Good evening.. October is here and so quickly! It’s always one of the busiest times of year and despite lockdown, it’s still full-on. So, a few wee updates…

Next week I’m leading a workshop for Wakefield LitFest which I’m looking forward to. If you’re a young person 14-25 in the Wakefield region with a poetry itch to scratch, get in touch!

Also, the fantastic Birdlife Podcast is here! And let’s be honest, when don’t we need birdsong? I for one feel that the birds of spring were pure magic going into lockdown. Even if you’re not into birds, I would definitely recommend the poetry side. Dave the Dunnock is a must listen! I’ve got a poem about wrens on there too.

It’s Off the Shelf Festival of Words starting next week in Sheffield (except it’s everywhere because it’s mostly online!). Hive is involved with various young writer happening. You can find out more here.