Don’t miss VENT spoken word events at Ventnor’s ‘Free Fringe’: Amazing range of poetry and discussion
The VENT mini-festival within a festival features the likes of Lydia Fulleylove, Azam Abidov, King Stammers, Maggie Sawkins and all the way from the USA – the official Poet Laureate of Gallatin, Tennessee, Kevin Marshall Chopson
The variety of events taking place at Ventnor Fringe Festival is mind-blowing. As well as 80+ tickets shows, there are also around 100 performers taking part in Free Fringe events.
Ventnorian, Steve Rushton, has organised a mini-festival within a festival and lined up a series of poetry and spoken word events.
It features the likes of Maggie Sawkins, whose BBC Radio4 programme airs on Sunday, as well as – all the way from the USA – the official Poet Laureate of Gallatin, Tennessee, Kevin Marshall Chopson.
They all take place in the Green Room at the Salisbury Gardens building on Dudley Road, Ventnor.
He shares the details as follows.
Lydia Fulleylove and Robyn Bolam ‘Beyond the Grave’: Memoir into Poetry Saturday 23rd July 5pm – 5.25pm
Lydia’s collections are: Notes on Sea & Land (HappenStance), Estuary (Two Ravens), and Ampersand (2022). ‘Estuary is amphibious writing, moving effortlessly between richly detailed prose notes and poems in which shape and pauses play their part.’ (Philip Gross). Her poem Night Drive was shortlisted for the Forward Best Single Poem. Lydia has led cross-arts community projects since 2000.
Robyn was Hampshire Poet 2018-19. She has published four poetry collections with Bloodaxe Books, the latest being Hyem: ‘an outstanding collection that gives a sense of replenishment and rejuvenation’ (Jack Little, The Lake Poetry). Her selected poems, New Wings, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
‘Beyond the Grave’: Memoir into Poetry
In her new collection, Ampersand, a collaboration between a poet daughter and her artist mother’s war diaries (discovered after her death), Lydia has created a unique dialogue in poems, prose, collaged pieces and diary extracts, of shared rhythms and unexpected connections. Throughout the diaries, her mother used a distinctive ampersand. Lydia discovered that the use of an ampersand in film credits denotes a closer collaboration between artists than the word ‘and’. This seemed to symbolise the new working relationship in which her young mother spoke to her as clearly as if she was beside her, and the rhythms of her prose worked their way into Lydia’s consciousness.
When Robyn’s mother died unexpectedly, while holidaying at sea, Robyn wrote poems to her to help with the shock and her grief. In the process, she reconnected with her mother’s sense of humour and personality, re-creating an enduring mutual closeness for her legacy.
These connections which both poets made ‘beyond the grave’, in their individual ways, shed a different light on their, often difficult, mother-daughter relationships, including love of the natural world and the desire to transform experience, however painful, with paints and words and, especially, love.
Claire Booker and Caroline Vero Bringing Poems to Life
Saturday 23rd July 5.30 -5.55pm
Claire Booker lives in Brighton. Her poetry books include The Bone That Sang (Indigo Dreams), Later There Will Be Postcards (Green Bottle Press) and A Pocketful of Chalk (forthcoming, Arachne Press). Her poems have appeared in The Morning Star, The Spectator and on a Guernsey bus, as well as in literary magazines such as Ambit, Magma, Rialto and Stand. She holds a Kathak International Literary award, which she received as guest poet in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Caroline Vero created and hosted Beyond Words, a hugely successful spoken word evening which ran in south London for many years, and has had poetry published in a number of magazines including South, The Delinquent, Poetry Cornwall, and South Bank Poetry, as well as in several anthologies. The Tate Modern ‘Poetry from Art’ website includes her work, as does the YouTube site ‘yourpoemaday’ which captured lockdown poetry.
Bringing Poems to Life
Claire and Caroline have often workshopped their poetry together, playing with humour and emotion to create surprisingly different work. Come and hear them read their poems live, and join in a Q&A session where they’ll share the secret of how each poem came about. Be prepared for ardent lovers, intrepid butterflies, family shenanigans and magical fruit trees.
Telling Tales Writing Group Four Hundred Words
Sunday 24th July 5pm – 5.25pm
John Goodwin: email@example.com
Telling Tales Writing Group was established in Ventnor ten years ago. Members share work weekly and critique each other’s work. We began as a live interaction and now meet on Zoom as a means of accommodating mainland writers.
Four Hundred Words
It’s what we do. We choose a stimulus and write about it. Prose or Poetry. Light or Dark. Comic or Serious. Memoir or Fantasy.
Zoom is our medium but today we’re live. Hooray…
King Stammers 5 Ballads Sun.24th July 5.30 -5.55pm
Chunky Poet. Has Notebooks. Will Travel.
King Stammers is an award-winning, nationally touring poet and performer. His humorous, often poignant work revolves around his love/hate relationship with modernity, his love/love relationship with cider, and his hate/hate relationship with the photocopier at his dayjob.
A one off performance for VENT, ‘5 Ballads’ is a stripped-back performance that sees Stammers ditch the special effects, props, and costumes, in favour of the more intimate manner in which he started out. One man, some poems, and an emotional connection to an audience.
Covering topics ranging from fatherhood, mortality, mental health issues and people getting drunk in airports, ‘5 Ballads’ is a warm, wry exploration of classical storytelling forms in the modern age.
Stanza Bonanza Part 1: Portsmouth and Havant Poetry Stanza This Island City
Monday 25th July 5pm – 5.25pm
The first of the Poetry Society’s Stanza Groups comes to Vent to present cracking poetry. Stanza Bonanza is an initiative of the Poetry Society. For a number of years it invited groups from around the country to take part in shared readings at the Poetry Cafe in London. National publicity will be sought with a write up for Poetry News.
This Island City
A recitation of poems inspired by Britain’s only island city, from some of Portsmouth’s best loved poets: Denise Bennett, Pauline Hawkesworth, Sue Spiers and Richard Williams. Copies of the iconic anthology This Island City will be available for sale at the venue.
Maggie Sawkins The House Where Courage Lives – Reading and Discussion
Monday 25th July 5.30-5.55pm
Maggie is a published poet and winner of the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. She recently relocated to the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth where she has organised Tongues&Grooves Poetry and Music Club since 2004. Her collections include Charcot’s Pet (Flarestack); The Zig Zag Woman (Two Ravens) and Zones of Avoidance (Cinnamon).
The House Where Courage Lives – Reading and Discussion
In The House where Courage Lives, Maggie Sawkins compassionately addresses concerns that haunt us all, not just at this time of gathering global threat, but existentially: isolation and freedom, hope and despair, the ways we fill our time. Central to this delicately wrought collection of poetry and prose, elegy and drollery, narrative and spiritual verse, is the question asked of Quarr Abbey monks: ‘Why did you come, why did you stay?’
Azam Abidov Literature in Uzbekistan (E-vent)
Tuesday 26th July 5pm – 5.25pm
Azam Abidov (other names Aazam Abidov, A’zam Obid) is a poet, translator, short story writer, singer, cultural adviser and activist, who was born in Namangan, Uzbekistan. He is the author of over 10 poetry and translation books, including Tunes of Asia, Dream of Lightsome Dawns, A Miracle Is On the Way, and I Leave You in Complete Boredom. He writes in Uzbek and English.
His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and published worldwide. He was a creative writing fellow in Iowa and a writer-in-residence at LCB in Berlin. Azam attended international poetry festivals, creative writing workshops and cultural events throughout the world. He also got awards and recognitions for his poetic and cultural activity from various organizations in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
He is a World Poetry Movement’s (WPM) coordinator of poetry events in Uzbekistan, and one of the founders of Maysara literary and cultural clubs at the Yudakov and Oybek House-Museums in Tashkent. In 2018, Azam launched the first-ever Writer/Artist Residency Program in Uzbekistan for foreign authors and artists.
Literature in Uzbekistan: Hardships of Opening to the World’s Best Literary Initiatives
I will talk about Uzbek poetry and prose; the literary environment in the country; the lack of writers’ enthusiasm to open up to the world; the lack of translation schools; international poetry or writers’ festivals, residency programs etc; the supervision of literature and art by the Government; best practices and solutions; feedback and recommendations from participating colleagues (plus some of my own poems).
Blake Everitt The Shock of Silence: A Poetry Reading
Tuesday 26th July 5.30-5.55pm
Born in 1989, Blake taught English Literature at Southampton Solent University for five years and embarked upon a controversial thesis exploring the late works of Samuel Beckett.
His poetry has appeared in a number of publications, including, but not limited to, Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics, Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts (MA), Hawk & Whippoorwill (MA), Time of Singing (PA), Open: A Journal of Arts and Letters (CA), Harbinger Asylum (TX), The Dawntreader, The Poetry Village, Littoral Magazine, Drawn to the Light Press, and Brevity.
With several volumes published by Wild Goat Press, he has given readings at Quarr Abbey’s 4Poets event (2019), A Midsummer Night’s Pensive Reading (2021), and Ventnor Fringe (2021).
The Shock of Silence: A Poetry Reading
Poetry recital from my newest publication, The Shock of Silence (via Wild Goat Press), exploring themes of landscape (with a focus on the sacramental beauty of the Island’s south-eastern corner), memory, exile and return, plantscape, and solitude.
Poets Anonymous Poets Anonymous (E-vent)
Wednesday 27th July 5pm–5.25pm
Poets Anonymous has been active in Croydon since 1990, delving into anything that can be turned into poetry or a performance of poetry. Currently they hold in-person meetings on the First Friday of the month and a Third Friday Zoom meeting.
Ted Smith-Orr has been with Poets Anon. since 1991, helping with events, magazines, books, festivals, and presenting on Croydon FM and croydonradio.com. Publisher of Football Poetry books which became workshops at professional football clubs, he’s had poems translated into Polish and has read at the Polish Hearts Club and the Polish Embassy.
Ruth Smith’s poems have been widely published in poetry magazines and anthologies. She enjoys sharing her work at workshops. Her chapbook, The Art of Unpicking, was published in 2018 by Lapwing Poetry, Belfast.
Nick Alldridge’s first poetry collection Playing with the Pieces was published in 2016. The work focuses on our mental states and how they deform and bend under pressure but still endure and build back, maybe not stronger but certainly with enhanced self-awareness and renewed empathy for others. Nick’s focus currently is on retelling, working on themes and characters within the Finnish epic saga ‘The Kalevala;’ performing extracts in collaboration with guitarist/poet Tuomo Karjalainen to create immersive experiences.
Sue Lewis is a lyric poet. She’s won the Cinnamon Press pamphlet competition twice: with Texture in 2019 and with Journey in 2021. She’s been published in several poetry magazines and her work has appeared in the pandemic anthology Beyond the Storm, which raised money for NHS charities. She is also a member of the Second Light collective, the Kith writing community and the British Haiku Society. Find her at www.suelewispoetry.com.
After a career teaching further education, Robin Pilcher took up poetry as an inexpensive retirement hobby. He’s been writing regularly since, performing at South London festivals as well as venues north of the river including the Poetry Cafe and Hoxton Hall. Other gigs include the Victorian subway at Crystal Palace and the Turner Gallery, Margate.
MARGENTO and Ovid with Reverb Various Wanted and more
(film and performance) Wednesday 27th July 5.30 -5.55pm and 6pm to 8pm
“MARGENTO is the Romanian poet and translator Chris Tanasescu. At the same time, MARGENTO could be described as a rock band, a multi-media performance troupe, and an international coalition of writers and translators.” Ovid with Reverb is Steve Rushton, artist, poet and drummer living in Ventnor; Lorrain Baggaley, vocalist and performer; plus regular national and international guests.
Various Wanted and more
An introduction to the book Various Wanted, the films of MARGENTO and more.
Steve Rushton will introduce the international Arts Council UK funded collaborative Constanta Project, which spawned the book Various Wanted (Timpul 2021) and subsequent multi-media experimental films by MARGENTO, the first of these premiered in New York. This event will be in two parts, starting with a 25 minute introduction followed by a longer film screening and performance lasting two hours and featuring an excerpt from Ovid with Reverb’s latest poem/play
Do You Like It?
“negotiations, finding truth
in spaces in-between what’s spoken—
this is art.”
Graham Brown and Sandy Kealty The Unofficial Secrets Act Presents
Thursday 28th July 5.30-5.55pm
(also ‘Unofficial Secrets ACT’ and ‘Graham Brown Poetry’ on Facebook)
Graham Brown was born in Aldershot in 1953. Has written poetry since 1976 and has appeared at many venues up and down the country. Ran ‘Stand and Deliver’ Open Mic in Newcastle Upon Tyne between 1996 and 2000. Now based on the Isle of Wight and running Wight Lines at Quay Arts. Quirky, jokey, poignant, thoughtful. Does more than it says on the tin. One half of the Unofficial Secrets Act.
Sandy Kealty was first published in the “Young Elizabethan” in 1958, aged 12. Earned half a crown, which went a long way. First stage appearance aged 4, singing and dancing on Herne Bay pier. The pier has gone now, she’s still around, writing and performing poems and stories and running choirs. Time and wear have done for the dancing. Writes about the things she knows. Thinks she knows more than she does. The other half of the Unofficial Secrets Act. We are both escapees from the Civil Service ….. some people have all the luck.
The Unofficial Secrets Act Presents
With a joint total of over 90 years wielding the pen, but never stale or out of date, we present a delightful mix of original poems commenting on the vagaries of life. Some are poignant and thought-provoking, some challenge, some reflect. I should warn that some exhibit a level of skilled punmanship that can lead to gasps and groans of pure joy/anguish.
Nowhere else will you experience revelations concerning Family Ties or learn the fate of wellingtons carelessly discarded in the North Sea. There could be a story involving a bear. There could be a song about Lawnmowers.
Stanza Bonanza Part 2: Isle of Wight Poetry Stanza This Island
Thursday 28th July 5pm–5.25pm
The second of two of the Poetry Society’s Stanza Groups comes to Vent to present more cracking poetry. Stanza Bonanza is an initiative of the Poetry Society.
For a number of years it invited groups from around the country to take part in shared readings at the Poetry Cafe in London. National publicity will be sought with a write up for Poetry News.
From its abundant wildlife and dramatic scenery to its characters and customs, the Isle of Wight offers much potential for observational poetry. A performance from eclectic members of the Isle of Wight Stanza, hosted by Maggie Sawkins, and featuring John Beatie, Mark Saunders, Carol Jaye, Robin Ford, Pat Murgatroyd and Edmund Matyjaszek.
Marion Carmichael People and Places
Friday 29th July 5pm–5.25pm
I have lived on the Island for 30 plus years and after varied employment experiences and when my four boys began to grow up, took a degree, from London University and became an English Teacher. I am now retired, but have been writing for years both alone and as a “Shore Woman,’ and with various other groups.
I have printed a selection of my poems _- “Grass Green Stockings,” and had various poems published in “ Shore Women” publications and poetry magazines. The novel I have been writing over many years , based on my Grandmother’s life is now almost finished.
People and Places
I will read from my novel – as yet untitled – based on my Grandmother’s life in rural Bedfordshire, from 1860 -1948. Momentous times as experienced by ‘ordinary’ and largely disregarded people. This was a period of great change, much of which we are all aware of, the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution, The Coming of the Railways but who talks of the countryside the enclosures the poverty and destitution that drove people to work in the cotton mills and coal mines.
As so often, I would say always, it was and is, the women who hold families together, keep them safe and ‘decent’ against overwhelming odds. Maria was such a woman, and more as she lived her long life from her girlhood in a, then, remote village to running a pub. From cook in a Yorkshire hotel to school caretaker back in Bedfordshire. All the while caring for her family and doing all she could to ensure that they had an easier life.
However life does not follow her plans – two world wars, and the aftermath in the 1920s and 30s all change the course of Maria’s life. Through all of this her character from impetuous child to wise, and somewhat feared grandmother was shaped by the people she knew and the places where she lived.
Felicity Fair Thompson Places and People
Friday 29th July 5.30 -5.55pm
MA Screenwriting UAL. Born in Australia. After a short ballet career, she worked for the Rank Organisation in London’s West End. Later she began writing and film making. Carisbrooke Castle was broadcast on SKY TV. Three of her other travel films were shown on Australian television. Writing: children’s stories, three produced stage plays, travel features, theatre reviews, personality profiles, award winning poetry, three novels, and photographic memoir. She founded the IW Writers’ Conference, gave workshops alongside Sir Andrew Motion at the Tennyson Bicentenary, has taught for Screen South, Connexions, IW College, and independently, and worked with young people with learning difficulties.
Places and People
A Selection of Readings from the Poetry listed below – many inspired by the beautiful Isle of Wight
Out of the Shadows: Julia Margaret Cameron – Crossing the Line/ The Walk to St Helen’s Fort/ Roman Voices: Voices Down/ Salt Water and – Like – Honey/ In Camera/ Brick by Brick/ The Second Worst Thing: Holding On/ Between a Laugh and a Tear: Years End/ Remembrance Day: Poppy Wreath/ Tear Fund/ Going Home/ Airport Third Runway/ Climate Change/ Wild Fires/ Eternity Ring/ Award winning: Bleak Down
Literary Waves Publishing Group Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, Poet of the Warsaw Uprising (E-vent)
Sat 30th July 5pm – 5.25pm
Anna Maria Mickiewicz (http://faleliterackie.com) is a Polish-born poet, writer, editor, translator, and publisher. Founder of the publishing house Literary Waves, she writes both in Polish and in English. She is a member of English Pen. Her poetic works have appeared in the United States, UK, Australia, Canada, Poland, Mexico, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, El Salvador and India.
Honoured with the Gloria Artis medal for Merit to Culture by the Polish Ministry of Culture, the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity, and The Joseph Conrad Literary Prize (USA). YPSILON literary magazine (supported by the Benjamin Franklin Foundation) awarded her The Polish Artist of the Year Abroad 2021 award.
Tomasz Mickiewicz. A member of the democratic opposition in Poland, he works at Aston University, in Birmingham, as a professor, in the field of economic theory. For many years he has participated in translation projects. Stan Mickiewicz has translated and edited many works of Polish poetry and prose and recited the poems of Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński at the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising event in the Polish Cultural Institute in London.
Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, Poet of the Warsaw Uprising
We will present a short biography of a young Polish poet, Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, who died in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, during the Second World War. He is a legendary figure of Polish literature. We will present his works in Polish and in English (translated by Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Tomasz Mickiewicz, Steve Rushton, and Stan Mickiewicz). The book, Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński Poet of the Warsaw Uprising, is based on saved poetry, manuscripts and drawings. We would like to present these to a wider audience.
Kevin Marshall Chopson DADA-DADA-BRÜLLT-BRÜLLT / Une Variante Saturday 30th July 5.30 -5.55pm
Chopson is four-time Pushcart Prize nominated poet who also works in the visual and performing arts. He became the official Poet Laureate of Gallatin, Tennessee, in 2021. His poetry has been published in dozens of university and independent journals, magazines, and newspapers throughout the U.S. and abroad — most notably in Romania, Austria, and the U.K.
As a conceptual and performance artist, his show DADA-DADA-BRÜLLT-BRÜLLT was selected to be a part of Nashville’s Kindling Arts Festival in 2021. That piece, re-configured as Master Chopson’s DADA-DADA-BRÜLLT-BRÜLLT / Une Variante was a special presentation of the Gallatin Public Library in January 2022.
DADA-DADA-BRÜLLT-BRÜLLT / Une Variante
A contemporary twist on the infamous Cabaret Voltaire from the early 20th century. A yummy, DADA-esque, postmodern stew served up live before your eyes.
DADA-DADA-BRÜLLT-BRÜLLT / Une Variante is a half-hour of delightful chaos that fuses film, drama, poetry, music, and incomprehensible voices into an abstract interpretation of our current postmodern condition. For some, the experience will be an exhilarating, non-linear pastiche of artistic disciplines; for others, it will echo the academic work of Rilke, Beckett, Kafka, Foucault, Lacan, and more; for all, it promises to be an oddly compelling experience that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Azam Abidov Literature in Uzbekistan (E-vent)
Tuesday 26th July 5pm–5.25pm
The following and other poems can be found on www.azamabidov.uz
My Name is Uzbekistan
I feel sorry for my motherland:
Where everyone – government or private –
Waits for the order of one voice
Where youth draw the picture of a plane,
Where women and men
in the crowded daily labor market
seek for employers
to earn their piece of bread,
Where people discuss
house construction, short socks
and pompous weddings,
Where creative minds are half dead,
Where there isn’t any international
Where deputies, mayors and the rest
Are caught over
bribery and lust
by Mr Truth who also reports
to the same one voice:
You might say it’s everywhere
but I am not everywhere
My soul resides and my tomb will be here.
I play with the words:
I wish they were not Ooze
Embracing a Ton of Kisses –
After all –
My name is rich
My name is Uzbekistan
and I wish I never felt sorry for myself!
Azam Abidov 2022