Mid-Year Roundup in the ‘New Normal’

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Hello there!

I hope you’re keeping well and adjusting to the episode of Black Mirror we now live in.

To say this year has been a bit weird doesn’t really cut it, does it? When the lockdown kicked in, I was in London, finishing my Door-to-Door Poetry project. It was the end of an adventure that started in 2015 and the fact the lockdown happened at exactly the same time was surreal.

Since getting back to Newcastle, I’m pleased to say I’ve been able to carry on working. The first thing I did was make a film for the BBC as part of their Make A Difference project, which involved taking stories about local acts of kindness and turning them into verse. It was a pleasure to be a part of it alongside cracking poets like Steve Larkin, Gemma Baker and Ben Norris. You can find my contribution here. 

Me and Peader


I’m also really grateful to the Arts Council for offering me a grant to write a show about Door-to-Door Poetry and my trip around England. I’ve started working on this with director Peader Kirk over Zoom, who is an absolute wizard.

It’s hard to say for sure when I’ll be able to perform this, but I’m planning a national tour for next year, so do stay tuned.

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Lastly, I’m really pleased to say my residency for the National Trust at Wordsworth House is still going ahead. Unable to get to the Lakes, I’ve been doing a spot of Post-to-Post Poetry from home: I sent off some letters to random addresses in Cockermouth, Wordsworth’s home town, inviting residents to write back with suggestions for poems. So far I’ve had 4 responses and have wrote 2 poems. You can read the first one I sent to a woman called Ruth here. 

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Stuff that’s been keeping me sane in my spare time has included reading Danny Wallace’s Join Me, catching up on some Nymphs & Thugs Zoom gigs and going on some very long bike rides.

I’m really missing live poetry. I’m looking forward to a time when I can stand up in a crowded room and talk at a very high volume.

Till then, look after yourself and stay safe.

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