Two months have passed since I was named as Birmingham Poet Laureate and thankfully all seems to be well on deck. The first few weeks were incredibly manic which unfortunately brought an end to my daytime power naps. However once I was able to familiarise myself with the requirements of this post, I'm pleased to say that those naps were rapidly summoned from the substitutes bench and fully reinstated. I read that it's important to embrace the spaces in between which is my justification for regular visits to dreamland.
So what have I done since occupying this position? Well I partook in the very first live poetry chat show which served as both a pleasure and a privilege. The show was fantastically hosted by the first ever Canal Poet Laureate Jo Bell and is a unique format designed to give exposure to both performance and page poets. I discussed what I hoped to achieve over the coming months as Birmingham Poet Laureate and was particularly proud when Jo stated that Birmingham is the city with the longest running Laureate scheme. Next up was Parole Parlates 2nd Birthday Celebrations in Worcester which I joyfully headlined before meandering down to London Town and performing as part of Apples and Snakes 30th Birthday Celebrations. I was one of nine poets selected from different regions of the country to write and perform a poem about where I see the Spoken Word scene in thirty years from now. `Twas a splendid evening I tells ya, just splendid.
Possibly the most challenging task to date was the creative writing workshop I delivered to an all girls Secondary School. One hour blocks, sixty pupils at a time, over the course of five hours. It was part of `AntiBullying Week' which is ironic, as by the end of the day I felt as though those three hundred 11 year old kiddy winks had bullied me to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. However it was a great success and they took a lot from it which, apparently, is the most important thing. What did in fact surprise me was how well behaved and attentive the children were throughout, especially when I performed my poems to them. They were also extremely receptive to the idea of writing and delivering their own poetic verses which was lovely to witness and be a part of. It taught me that children listen and understand a great deal more than they're given credit for and that if they're old enough to fully comprehend circumstances dished out by `Papa Life', such as bullying, then by George they're old enough to write about them.
At this moment in time, planning is geared towards early next year given that a lot of you will undoubtedly be disorientated by the festivities. There are a couple of exciting projects that myself and the extensive Laureate Team (Nikki) have helped put together that look very promising on paper. This year has shown a tremendous growth in the popularity of Poetry/Spoken Word across the city of Birmingham and 2013 should prove to be even more progressive providing we all make it past the apocalypse on 21st December 2012. Enjoy your New Year and in the wise words of Del Boy, `bonjour'.