Workshop Blog 15/01/24

Another good day to you all.

I’m including a revised calendar up until the Easter break, as it has been decided to put the AGM back until Monday March 25th at the YMCA. We shall announce the revised poetry competition schedule very soon. Also, please don’t forget Laura’s book launch at Waterstones Cardiff, evening of 15th Feb, seven until eight. Laura will sign copies of The Trials of Lila Dalton and be in conversation with fellow published author Clare Mackintosh. Link below:

Nine people attended our ZOOM session last night and we had nine readings from seven people. (All will be revealed.)

Stephanie set the ball rolling with Single Supernova which was not a poem but a narrative. However, it was very poetic and Stephanie revealed that she intends writing a series of these. I loved ‘…a pearl set in a velvet veil…’ and ‘…iciness… unbroken diamonds…’ and there was plenty more of this. A beautiful piece and lovely to listen to, but some people thought might be even more so when viewed on the page. Stephanie has very kindly to allow us to see this in the flesh so to speak, and it is here attached.

Sharif then read us a poem which will possibly be called The Situation, or For Gaza. This was not a rant or even the least bit shouty. It simply told of an unfolding tragedy which ordinary people can feel helpless to affect. My picks from this extremely well thought out piece include ‘…people living today paying for yesterday’s mistakes…’ ‘…a hate-worn tapestry…’ and ‘…where even the kites aren’t free…’. A very neat and succinct summation of a dreadful situation. It needs to be published but we all agreed it would be a brave publication that published this today. A dreadful shame.

Sarah was next up with another reading from her World War One tale of two young men from completely different backgrounds going to the front. Sarah believes she may call the book Till The Boys Come Home. Excellent research and attention to detail, with subjects such as survivor guilt and class differences dealt with brilliantly. I loved how the poor family were thrilled to be moving to a house with their own outside toilet, and also the descriptions of what life was like for the working class in those days, especially in mining. Great stuff.

We then heard from Matt, with another section of his book Pebs’ Friends, about a small feral gnome woman, though she could possibly be a goblin. She is currently with two ‘friends’, a dwarf called Beryl and a mage called Slim. This is very funny and the way Peb sees the world is hilarious. She thinks perhaps she could get someone’s attention by punching them in the face or stabbing them in the eye, thereby gaining their respect. She is also fascinated when she finds an old leaf. Wonderful.

Ian followed this with a food story (not about Lloyd) called ‘Cawl’ and is an adventure in or near Cowbridge. It’s funny and disturbing, involving the central character trying to catch a lamb to kill and cook, then being caught by his wife who is uncertain as to his real motives. A few minor adjustments were suggested and Ian is going to give more thought to the plot line, though it is really funny.

We then spoke with Rachel who came on ZOOM a couple of months ago, read a piece of her children’s story and since then has been putting our feedback into place. She has promised to come back with the revised version and some more of the tale. We await eagerly.

We didn’t have to wait for Jeff, who read us a poem called Winter, despite being almost without voice. This was really good with the first line repeated at the end and with lovely stuff including ‘…harsh sunlight reflected off glass and water…’. Totally recognisable images of Winter and we want more please Jeff.

Sharif then came back with another extract of his current novel about Edmund and Nafa, a Palestinian woman. We are now in 1956 and Nafa is encouraged to go to a folk club with a couple of people she has met. She sings an old English folk song to the tune of an Arabic lullaby. She also encounters issues with the man of the couple she has gone with. One of my favourite lines was ‘…concern dripped from her voice…’ and there were plenty more. As a footnote, Sharif’s book has been slightly delayed while a new cover photo is prepared. We await patiently.

Paul then finished the evening by reading his two haiku groups from the Cardiff 75 collection. Time, Love and Haiku and Seasons of Love and Haiku were well known to most people, but they listened patiently and politely anyway.

Next week we are at the YMCA with Jen Wilkinson giving a talk and Q&A about How I Bagged An Agent. Her book is due for publication next year I believe. We are inundated with successes. See you all next week peeps.

Bestest, P.


YMCA 22nd Jan How I hooked an agent talk and Q&A

ZOOM 29th Jan Reading and feedback session

ZOOM 5th Feb Reading and feedback session

YMCA 12th Feb Reading and feedback session

ZOOM 19th Feb Reading and feedback session

YMCA 26th Feb Reading and feedback session

ZOOM 4th Mar Reading and feedback session

YMCA 11th Mar Reading and feedback session

ZOOM 18th Mar Reading and feedback session

YMCA 25th Mar AGM

No Meeting 1st Apr Bank Hol

YMCA 8th Apr First meeting of trimester 2

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