On my first day as Birminghum Poet laureate I took 'the heroes journey' and read out a series of praise poems to the city's public art works. We paid a visit to the 200 year old sculpture of Admiral Lord Nelson in the Bull Ring, the Iron Man on New street and the Floosie in her jacuzzi outside the council offices in Victoria Square - which are both sweet 16 years young and demanded a poem. The BBC's Lindsey Hoyle joined a good gang of us on National Poetry Day and you can see some of that, elsewhere, on my youtube channel 'Adrianwriter.' Thanks also to everyone that got up on the soapbox and read - it was brave, almost heroic and in keeping with the National poetry day theme.
As I get around and meet people across the city (see the 'what's On' tab for upcoming events and how to book me) I am constantly thinking about why we write and how we share these ideas that make us itch to share them. For me it's about being alive to the moment, recalling great past poetry heroes and mixing it up a bit for the sheer excitement and enthusiasm of the sound and rhythm of our own voice - the voice and words that explain us, free us, limit us and inspire us to keep on keeping on. If we get to meet, sooner or later, please feel able to say which and what poem has moved and spoken to you - in your schooldays and the here and now (that's if you're an adult reading this). Right now I am loving the Everyman anthology of 'Railway Rhymes' because it has a copy of Auden's awesome 'Nightmail' with the great rhythm, life and celebration of the postal service on the railways, so long ago. And the line 'For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?' Please, do say, in a reply to this blog - and to re-assure me that anyone really ever reads a blog, aside from the author.
Some of you may have heard me on Unity FM last week with Chris Morgan where I read some of my new work and also a peice by Charles Bukowski: 'So you want to be a writer.' If you can find it at your local branch library or book shop enjoy that and feel free to say what you think. Chris was not so sure, but I feel it has a point about what gets us started - and hopefully finished - in style. Speaking of which I want to salute Jo Bell, Roz Goddard, Spoz - AKA Giovanni Esposito, Emma Pursehouse, Julie Boden and Catherine Whittaker for their barnstorming poetry performances at the Birmingham library theatre, next door to the central library of Birmingham on Tuesday 27 October. It was a rollercoaster ride of ideas, joy, sorrow, lust and poetry magic - the kind of which I have come to associate with the West Midlands and Birmingham at its best - confident, cheeky, angry and joyous. Just like Hardep Singh Kohli said Birmingham is like, when he visited West Bromwich Town Hall recently and raised a laugh that he couldn't understand. For me I half understood the self effacing laughter, but he was right, if it can all work here, in the middle lands, with all kinds of concerns, nationalities and passsions, there is hope - and some poetry. Write some, read some, speak some out loud and share some, soon - and if you do, maybe share some of that on the Southbank centres great 'GPS' site: http://gps.southbankcentre.co.uk/
- Adrian. [pic by :Louisa Griffiths]