‘Identity: All of Me’

THIRD COLLECTION OF POETRY FOR CHANGE

For the third time Poets’ Corner will be publishing a collection of poetry for change. This month, the theme ‘Identity: All of Me’ will explore how identity is more than just one label, one story, one characteristic. Throughout the month of July 2016, poetic work from poets of all styles, levels, ages and backgrounds will be published.

We live in times where a constant stream of information can ask us to quickly judge information, situations or sometimes people. Does this mean we perceive someone’s identity mainly based on their most visible or apparent characteristics?

We invite readers to consider, question and rethink what identity means through a collection of wonderful and personal poems. On behalf of the Leaveners/Poets’ Corner team, we would like to thank all poets who contributed to this thought-provoking archive with their beautiful poetry.

Kuli Kohli
Guest Poetry Curator

Jorine Beck
Programme Leader

(Photo by Brandon Couch)

Open Call Poetry Submissions: Identity

Identity: All of Me

We welcome poetic submissions for the month of July 2016 on the theme ‘Identity: All of Me’. During the month of July we will be publishing poems that explore how identity is more than just one label, one story, one characteristic.

We live in times where a constant stream of information can ask us to quickly judge information, situations or sometimes people. Does this mean we perceive someone’s identity mainly based on their most visible or apparent characteristics?

We ask all poets and writers to submit poetry that invites readers to consider, question and rethink what identity means. We are looking for poems with a personal touch, exploring different angles, layers and ideas on identity.

You can submit one poem to Guest Poetry Curator Kuli Kohli: kuli.kohli@hotmail.co.uk
Please include your email address and phone number, and a short poetry statement (max. 65 words). The deadline for submissions is the 1st of July 2016.

(Photo by Brandon Couch)

Poet June 2016: Cherry Doyle

Poets’ Corner is pleased to introduce Cherry Doyle as the Poet of the Month June 2016.

During the month of June poet Cherry Doyle will share a collection of her work poems on Poets’ Corner, in which she explores a wide range of experiences from her personal life. Cherry writes: ‘I find poetry is an excellent tool for unlocking those experiences throughout my life that I want to celebrate, mourn or understand in more detail. It is like finding yourself in a jungle and having the route mapped out in words.’

Cherry’s work is directly inspired by her surroundings and the questions she asks herself about the world around her. Cherry explains: ‘I was born in Shrewsbury in the 1980s and had an active and stimulating childhood of holidays and days out among nature and culture, which allowed me to learn about the environments, I spent a lot of time in. As I’ve grown older, I’ve always taken that approach to my surroundings – noticing the detail and asking ‘why is it that way?’ Sadly, life takes its toll, and sometimes when you ask those questions, you get painful answers.’

‘I rediscovered writing in my early twenties, and gravitated towards poetry because of its innate attractiveness. I love to make a poem visually stimulating, with lots of imagery for the reader to feast on. I get a lot of support through my writing group, Blakenhall Writers in Wolverhampton, and various poets and mentors I’ve met through my association with them. They’ve given me the confidence to use my own voice in my journey of self-discovery.’

Poet Kuli Kohli will mentor Cherry and curate her poetry throughout the month. Kuli is pleased to be sharing her skills and knowledge with a poet who is in the same situation she was in herself, being the first aspiring poet to be curated on the platform in May 2015. Kuli is impressed by Cherry’s writing, and thinks many people should enjoy reading Cherry’s work.

Please share your feedback with Cherry throughout the month.

Guest Poetry Curator June-July 2016: Kuli Kohli

We are sure you have heard about Kuli Kohli by now; the first ever Poet of the Month at Poets’ Corner, back in May 2015. Kuli’s development to become an established poet has been in a lift over the last year, and she has now decided to share her skills and knowledge with aspiring poets as a Guest Poetry Curator.

Kuli writes: ‘I was curated by Rachel Arnold and was the first poet of the month in May 2015 on Leaveners Poet’s Corner. As the first poet, I really didn’t know what to expect. Poet’s Corner gave me an opportunity to platform my best poems that were showcased to a wider audience online.  I enjoyed the experience and the project as a whole because it gave aspiring poets the chance and confidence to share their work.

After being showcased in May 2015, I have a thriving network of supporters who enjoy reading, writing and listening to poetry. As a result, I have sold many copies of my poetry pamphlet “Rag Doll”; all types of audiences are accepting my work. During 2015 I worked on co-editing a poetry and prose anthology on the theme of identity for Blakenhall Writers Group in Wolverhampton funded by ACE. I have had work performed at live gigs and am a regular blogger for Disability Arts Online.  I have been interviewed live at a gig and some interviews have been published on line. Recently I performed my own work at a live gig, which is a great achievement for me.

I feel that I am now in a position to help an aspiring poet to platform and support their work. I believe it is important for me to give something back and help writers/poets get work out there and knock down barriers because not all poets/writers have the time to put their work to different audiences. This experience will be of great satisfaction in knowing I will be helping someone who’s in the same situation I was in.’

You can read more about Kuli’s work and poetry here, or enjoy her recent poetry reading of ‘Resilience’:

We are thrilled to have Kuli back and are excited to see how she will shape her curatorship during the upcoming two months.

 

Looking back – Ciarán

During the month of May 2016 we will be looking back at Poets’ Corner’s first year, together with our Guest Poetry Curators. They will share their own poetry, experiences as curator and favourite poems from the platform with you.

Successful and dedicated poet Ciarán Hodgers shared his knowledge and skills as Guest Poetry Curator for December 2015 and January 2016. Looking back at his experience in this role, Ciarán writes:

‘I really enjoyed being Guest Curator, I enjoyed reading work outside my normal taste. I was difficult to say no to some pieces, but I think understanding the context and being able to make a judgement like that has been beneficial for me professionally. Seeing how much joy and love Seema garnered from being Poet of the Month really captured what I’d hope she’d get. I see her being plenty busy and prolific online since and it’s a privilege to feel a part of that process for her.

I’ve been busy writing, trying to get some new work out there. I’ve been busy gigging, having been part of Team Manchester in the UK National Slam and a finalist in the Poetry Rivals competition. Both gigs were held in the Royal Albert Hall, and being given an opportunity to perform there alongside some of the UK’s best poets was an honour. Currently I’m working on a commission for the European Open Science Forum, where I’m working with an astrostatistian to write some poetry about the first billion years of the universe, so you know, light stuff. I’m also working on creating a new publication, Scripturient Press to be an important voice championing vital, urgent works in literature and visual arts.’

Visit Ciarán’s Facebook and Website which have more info on all his projects as and when they happen: https://www.facebook.com/ciaranhodgerspoet/ and ciaranhodgers.weebly.com

Follow Ciarán on Twitter @CiaranHodgers

 

Looking back – Alison

During the month of May 2016 we will be looking back at Poets’ Corner’s first year, together with our Guest Poetry Curators. They will share their own poetry, experiences as curator and favourite poems from the platform with you.

Multi-talented Alison Solomon shared her experience and enthusiasm as Guest Poetry Curator for October and November 2015. Looking back at her experience in this role, Alison writes:

‘My current work as a Casting Director puts me in contact with new and establish talent, and, I also love finding and nurturing new talent. When Leaveners advertised the Poet Curator role I jumped at it because it allowed me to use two of my passions: reading poetry and finding, nurturing and showcasing new talent.

During my time as Guest Poet Curator I was fortunate to work with two very different, but equally talented poets: Ben Armstrong our West Midlands poet and Darius Noel our American poet. In the next posts I will share my Curator’s Pick from both poets.

I am currently working on a commission of poetic storytelling called Jamaican Story Time: Looking Back And Moving Forward, which will be performed as part of Pear Tree Library Centenary, Derby in May. I am also working with a number of actor-writers and actor-singers as a dramaturg and director to develop their work.’

Public poetry in Birmingham
Some of Alison’s work can be read on the walls outside the Bullring in Birmingham City Centre. ( commissioned by Hammerson and Freeform Art Trust and supported by Bullring Birmingham Public Art Programme Small Scale Artworks)

Haiku by Birmingham poet Alison Solomon at the Bull Ring Shopping Centre

Haiku by Birmingham poet Alison Solomon at the Bull Ring Shopping Centre

Follow Alison on Twitter: @AlisonSolomonUK

Pete Stones Guest Poetry Curator

Looking back – Pete

During the month of May 2016 we will be looking back at Poets’ Corner’s first year, together with our Guest Poetry Curators. They will share their own poetry, experiences as curator and favourite poems from the platform with you.

Talented and dedicated poet Pete Stones worked at Poets’ Corner as Guest Poetry Curator for August and September 2015. Pete looks back at his experience as curator at Poets’ Corner:

‘It became apparent to me very quickly that the experience of every Guest Curator would be different, and therefore the experience of the poet would also be unique. For me being the Guest Curator was a rare opportunity to stop self-promotion and look, in detail, at the work of someone else with the intent to promote, engage and ‘tutor’ them. I chose Clive S Johnson because his work included the use of structure, meter, language I find lacking from a lot of contemporary free-verse poetry. Working with Clive was a pleasure, and I found the wholly positive response to his work to be as uplifting and rewarding to myself as it was to him.

The Displacement themed month brought new challenges to the fore during my time as Guest Curator. With works discussing very emotive, sensitive, and often brutal truths it was difficult to turn some works away, while others (whether rightly or wrongly) were published. I felt a great sense of pride in being part of what the Leaveners have achieved from the humble beginnings of the digital blog, taking the poetry out in the real world and engaging with the poems and their poets.

I am still writing poetry (and) enter competitions and make the most of it.’

Follow Pete on twitter @PeterStones4