National Libraries Day
National Libraries Day in Central Library Wolverhampton was busy in spite of the cold, wet February day. Downstairs, the wonderful Kurly McGeachie showed the kids and young writers how to rap, upstairs Jeff Phelps and Marion Cockin led a PaperVerse workshop and all over the library Jane Seabourne was popping up as a poet surprising people by asking them about their choice of reading. The library staff were enthusiastic and kept us going with cups of coffee. By the end of the day, raps were being rapped, ten writers went home with hand-made booklets containing their own poems and the library had its own crowd-sourced poem:
WHAT WOLVERHAMPTON LIKES TO READ
Crowd-sourced poem written on Libraries’ Day February 6th 2016
On Libraries’ Day, 2015, when borrowers at Central Library were asked what they like about the library, they all said, ‘we love the books.’ This year, they were asked what books they liked and why.
I like to keep mentally active,
Read something new everyday
To exercise my little grey cells
As Hercule Poirot might say.
My Mum’s in West Park Hospital
And now she’s feeling better,
I’m choosing something for her to read,
Her favourite’s Georgette Heyer.
Even if you never read poems
Liz Berry will change your mind
She writes about people like us,
I’d say she’s a really good find.
I’m bringing back 59 Seconds.
Would I recommend it? A definite ‘yes’ –
It tells you to look for the positive
And helps you eliminate stress.
I turned seventy-seven last August
And wonders will never cease
After two months, three days and ten minutes
I’ve just finished War and Peace.
I read anything by James Patterson
His novels are terrific
I like his plots and characters
And you could say that he’s prolific.
I love reading cook books
I like Mary Berry most
I drool over the photographs
When I’m eating beans on toast.
I love Jamie Oliver
He’s my kind of a dish
I read his Naked Chef in bed
It tasted quite delish.
I know I’m getting older
And my eyesight’s not sublime
But my detection rate is still quite high
Thanks to Large Print Crime.
I like my Mills and Boons romance
And I don’t mind a bit of sex
But I must have a page-turner
To know what’s coming next.
My friend recommended a book that she read –
And she’s a real book lover –
She can’t remember the title
But she thinks that it has a blue cover.
2014 - a busy year for poetry in Wolverhampton
Poetry on Loan lost its main contact in Wolverhampton early in 2014, so things got off to a bit of a slow start. But our volunteer, Jane Seabourne, soon got poetry on its way.
In May, Emma Purshouse gave a performance workshop for a group in Bilston who were preparing to perform their work - some of them for the first time. Emma's help was invaluable.
Also in May, Funny Women - Emma Purshouse, Win Saha and Jane Seabourne - appeared in Bilston library, and definitely lived up to their stage name. They delighted and entertained the audience with their rich blend of poems and humour, full of wit, charm, rhymes, and wisdom that tickled your funny bone and bought a smile to your face. These clever women of poetry had the audience laughing out loud. But it wasn't all about making people laugh. During the question time, members of the audience asked advice on:
- The benefits of joining a writers group
- Finding an audience that would listen to new poetry compositions and critique it.
- How to get their poems published.
"Performances like these can spark a wave of interest for those people that want to learn and share ideas about poets and poetry writing, whether modern or classic. Funny Women are a positive role model of encouragement to those groups or individuals that want to develop their poetry reading, writing and performance style."
In June, Michael Thomas gave a reading for the Poetry Readers' Group. Michael was brought up locally in Coseley and read from a collection based on memories of this time. He talked about the process of writing which was particularly appreciated by the group, many of whom are also writers. His warmth and humour went down well with the group as did the discussion about history and memoir. Michael brought copies of his book so readers could follow the text – and donated them at the end – that went down very well!
There were a number of positive comments at the end of the session – one member said she was going home to look at her own memory-based poems to re-read them.
In November, Wolverhampton ventured into cross-artform working, with a printmaking and poetry workshop run by Linda Nevill and Jane Seabourne.
The final event of the year was in Central library in December - a performance by poets from Offa's Press, with books included in the Poetry on Loan recommended book selection, Here, there and everywhere. The reading went well and was well-received. The timing was good, people were already in town either shopping or at work. Audience members appreciated a break from Christmas preparations (they said). There was time for audience members to talk to each other and the poets; mince-pies were involved. It was a sociable affair with four poets reading a variety of poems – ranging from humorous and light-hearted to serious.