It's been a busy couple of weeks.
Firstly, a big shout out and thank you to Lorna Meehan and the Brummie massive for a great night as Rhymes held their annual Slam. I am honoured to be their new Champ for the year and I have taken the metaphoric mantle from poetry legend Spoz (He could have washed it first).
Then it was the exciting inaugural Poets and Promoters Forum in Wheatley near Oxford. A full report is below and thanks to everyone who attended and made it such a special day. Happy reading!
The first Tongue in Chic Poets and Promoters Forum took place on Saturday 22 January at the Railway pub, Wheatley, Oxford.
The concept was to stage a networking event for poets and those who promoted spoken word events whether live, in print, radio etc. The Forum would give attendees a chance to renew established contacts; make new ones; talk about their plans for the year and put dates in the diary for readings etc. This pilot event was put together at short notice to gauge interest and see if the idea had genuine merit.
Forty attendees came together from a wide geographical spread: Hastings, Brighton, Southampton, Petersfield, Bath, London, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Aylesbury, Birmingham, Leamington Spa and Bangor North Wales were all represented. A further dozen expressed interest but were unable to attend on the day.
The audience was made up of poets, event organisers, reps from spoken word organisations such as Apples & Snakes and Hammer & Tongue as well as small publishers of magazines, pamphlets, radio show producers etc and some members of the public who loved poetry and wanted to see what it was all about.
The day consisted of a series of “Flash” (as in brief) presentations from attendees representing events, organisations and publishers so that the audience could identify contacts that would be of interest to them. These were in sets of three and then led to times of informal networking. There were also two sessions of formal networking opportunities which we called “Speed Dating for Poets” Attendees paired up with someone they didn’t know and each had two minutes to explain who they were, their area of interest and other details about themselves. After two minutes, the other person had their turn. Then you found someone else you didn’t know and started the process again. These were not compulsory but participation levels were good and many found them a useful starting point. The idea was to help people actually network
rather than stay in the comfort zone of talking to people already known to them. All the delegates had submitted short biographies for inclusion in a Forum Directory so each attendee had all contact details to hand.
We also included a short debate open to the floor on “Promoting the Art Form and Respecting the Artist”.
The verbal feedback and “buzz” on the day was overwhelmingly positive. (Happily, people started talking to each other even before registration and didn’t stop all day). There are feedback forms to be evaluated and at a brief glance, many classified the event as Excellent or Very Good. No doubt improvements can be made for future events but the core proposition of holding regular Forums seems to be sound. Many found it useful and beneficial as shown by the selection of delegate’s comments below. It was also very encouraging to see evidence of new found contacts inter-acting on social networking sites in the days after the Forum. I intend to organise more Forums in the future (Perhaps 2 per year), ideally moving the location to different towns or cities.
“…thank you for an event unique in my experience of the poetry scene (since the mid 90s)”
“Ever had the feeling you were part of something rather historic?”
“The Oxford event was brilliant”