I’ve just compiled an article for the latest edition of the Phrased & Confused memory stick – available exclusively at Summer Sundae 2009. There’s some great tracks on there (22 of them to be precise) and here’s my little contribution about whats what and where….and of course holler when you spot the obvious errors!
OK, this is our attempt to get you up to speed with the spoken word scene, with our very own, by no means definitive, guide to who’s who and what’s what. We’ve grouped them under various headings so you know where to head.
Happy surfing…(and feel free to drop us a line if you think your site should be included in this list.)
People who can tell you more
Try http://www.applesandsnakes.org An agency supporting spoken word and literature throughout the UK. They have a network of regional co-ordinators (see the web site for details) who will be able to tell you what is happening in your area.
http://www.artscouncil.org.uk The national funding agency for the arts in England, and funder of Phrased and Confused. Arts Council England has regional offices throughout the UK and each office has a literature officer who will know what is happening in their region. You can find out who’s who in your region on the site.
http://www.phrasedandconfused.co.uk That’s us!
Other sites that you could check out include:-
http://www.renaissanceone.co.uk – another event producer and promoter in the field of music and spoken word . http://www.litup.org/ is a national venue consortium which is commissioning new work from some very interesting organizations. http://onetaste.co.uk/ has a funky site and pulls work from a very broad collective of exciting artists.
http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/ – not a poetry organization but one that promotes literature and defends freedom of expression. Their Free the Word festival with artists from all over the world appearing is worth looking out for. If you’re an avid reader and want some suggestions for books try their Free the Word book club at http://tinyurl.com/kobxzc. It’s well worth the effort.
Literature Development Agencies across the UK
http://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/ is an London focused organization which acts as a catalyst for developing writers.
http://www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk/ is a relatively new organization which supports, promotes and champions writing from the East Midlands and works to create opportunities for practicing writers and to discover new writers of quality.
Similar organizations can also be found in the North East (http://www.literaturenortheast.co.uk/), the East (http://www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk) and the South West (http://www.literaturesouthwest.co.uk/)
Spoken word producers in London and the East Midlands
(theres not enough room here to cover everybody!)
Here are just a sample of the scene in London:-
http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk London-based Penned in the Margins promotes some of the UK’s most exciting and popular live literature events, publishes high quality poetry collections and produces cutting edge tours. Penned in the Margins is at the forefront of ‘a new breed of literary nights out, fusing poetry with beats and beers’ (Flavorpill). Tom, the brains behind the set up, used to work with us, and helped put together our 2006 Phrased & Confused tour.
http://www.lazygramophone.com Back in London, check out Lazy Gramaphone, another emerging producer, publisher and activist. Philip, the man winding up the gramophone (!), helped us out on the early planning stages of our Phrased & Confused festival stage.
http://www.londonwordfestival.com Great new festival – now into its third year – which celebrates word in all its forms – from Blogs to Boggle, poetic lyricism to lyric poetry; from diaspora to the double dactul; from publishing houses to pop culture and out into the unkown. Good friends and co-conspirators of ours!
If you enjoyed Salena Godden make sure you check out http://www.myspace.com/bookclubboutique – her rapidly growing Soho based literary extravaganza! Joshua Idhen is involved with http://www.myspace.com/poejazzi and Behind the Mic (see http://www.myspace.com/behindthemic06 ) are also worth looking out for – they helped us promote our sell out London date of the Phrased & Confused tour.
http://www.bookslam.com/ should appear twice in this section –once for the fact it’s a great night – but even if you can’t get there check out the Sony Award winning podcast. Also worth looking out for the new (ish) night Homework (featuring Ross Sutherland, Tim Clare and John Osborne regualarly)– more details here http://www.myspace.com/homeworkldn. It’s the last Wednesday of every month at Bethnal Green Working Mens Club by the way. Another site which features Ross and Tim Clare is , of course http://www.aisle16.co.uk.
And the scene in Leicester and the wider East Midlands is just as good – check out
http://www.myspace.com/wordleicester In Leicester make sure you check out WORD, a free spoken word night which is going from strength to strength, and has launched the careers of a good few leading spoken word artists. They’ve just finished work on the first year of a fascinating project called the Lyric Lounge, see http://www.lyriclounge.co.uk for more info.
http://www.writingschoolleicester.co.uk/, http://www.shortfuseleicester.wordpress.com and if your interested in the connection between literature and digital technologies then its worth keeping an eye on http://www.hum.dmu.ac.uk/blogs/part/ which is the blog of the rather frighteningly named Transliterary Research Group.
In Derby look out for Hello Hubmarine (who performed on this years stage) and their sister group http://timetravelopportunists.blogspot.com. DEDA also runs spoken word nights in its cafe bar – see http://www.deda.uk.com/ for info. Look out too for Derbyshire based http://www.templarpoetry.co.uk and http://www.beehive.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/
In Nottingham look out for the Nottingham Writers Centre ( http://nottinghamwriters.wordpress.com/), Theatre Writing Partnership (http://www.theatrewritingpartnership.org.uk/) and the new Film Literature festival (Screen Lit) at Broadway http://bit.ly/HYG6n.
http://literaturenetwork.org/ is a good site for keeping in touch with whats going on in the East Midlands – both in terms of opportunities and events.
Getting your words heard
Looking for handy hints for developing your writing? http://www.poetrykit.org or http://www.writeoutloud.net are good places to start. Or for the more serious minded there’s The Guardian’s monthly poetry workshop: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/poetryworkshop.
Another useful site is http://www.literaturetraining.com/ which has lots of information about training, jobs, mentoring and professional development opportunities. Have a look at http://www.poetryschool.com/ – they run a variety of training courses and programmes in London. And if you fancy a writers retreat then there is nothing better than the programmes run by the http://www.arvonfoundation.org/p1.html whose tutors include P&C performer Francesca Beard.
http://enovella.co.uk/ is a newish social networking site for writers – you can upload work, get feedback – and if you believe the blurb – maybe even get published.
http://www.literaryconsultancy.co.uk/ will feedback on your work – for a fee, of course!
Podcasts / archive recordings etc
First of all don’t forget to check in at the hub site (www.thehubuk.com) to download our festival podcasts and video casts.
For an international feel to your spoken word check out http://www.indiefeedpp.libsyn.com Each episode features a spoken word artist performing his or her stuff together with an interview or commentary. There’s a considerable back catalogue and it’s all downloadable onto your ipod – it includes a couple of episodes with Inua Ellams who features on this years stage.
For a more UK flavour try http://www.poetcasting.co.uk/ which is run by Alex Pryce of Leicester. There’s extracts and posts from over 400 poets including Tom Chivers, Inua Ellams, Tamsin Kendrick, Jamal Msbele and Hannah Silva. Or theres http://slamidolpodcast.com/ which has featured Lorna Meehan on several occasions.
Not strictly a podcast, poetry jukebox at http://www.57productions.com is worth a look
And for those of you who like to make lists, you can find a fairly comprehensive list of poetry podcasters at http://www.poetrypodcasting.org.
If you fancy listening to some classic recordings its worth checking out both http://www.bbc.co.uk/poetryseason or http://www.poetryarchive.org/ (check out the Stephen Fry tour). More light hearted during the marketing for the Phrased & Confused tour we came across the net audio you tube site http://www.youtube.com/user/JustAudio2008 . Lots of great recordings featuring poetry from Shakespeare, Spike Milligan, Oscar Wilde and Murray Lachlan Young.
Want to follow some of our artists (and their favourite twitterers)? We asked our performers to share their own and favourite twittering addresses:-
/benincitizen (Joshua Idenhoe)
/ jwojwo (Jeremy Warmsley)
/CharltonBrooker – (Charlie Brooker – very clever & funny)
/sankles – (Elizabeth Sankey of Platform – very funny fake twitter posts. Hard to explain).
/bengoldacre – (author of Bad Science – thought-provoking!)
And if your looking for something just a little longer from the millions and millions of blogs out there – here are just a few that might be of interest…..
http://www.bookfutures.blogspot.com is written by Chris Meade, Director of if:book London a think and do tank exploring the future of the book as our culture moves from printed page to networked screen.
A L Kennedy writes a great blog on writing and performing for the Guardian – you can find it here http://tinyurl.com/mgtbdu