Royal Exchange Reading with Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Charmain Leung and Carly Hind

Evening folks.  I have so much to tell you all – don’t know whether to try and squeeze it into one blog post or to try and spread it out a bit….

I”ll start and when I get bored…well I’ll stop!  Last night I read at the Royal Exchange theatre at the Carol Ann Duffy and Friends reading alongside Jackie Kay, Carol Ann, David Tait as the house poet, and two fellow MMU students, Charmain Leung and Carly Hind.  It was great to meet and hear Charmain and Carly – I’d not met them before, as they are in the years below on the MA.

I had such a fabulous night – first of all I got to see David which is always nice, and the lovely Liz Venn who is taking over from David as the house poet when he swans off to China in the new year. 

And lots of other people who it was lovely to see – I did start writing their names, but in a rare moment of editing on this blog, thought that a list of names probably just sounds like name dropping or something and should therefore be Deleted. 

But I did use Michael Symmons Roberts’ pen to sign my pamphlet for someone.  Just saying, you know.  And Jackie Kay was very kind about my poetry – again! 

Jackie Kay was excellent last night – very funny and entertaining.  I was thinking that if one of poetry’s ‘functions’ is to make us all feel a little less alone in the world, when you have that moment of ‘yes, I know completely what you mean’ as you read a poem, then maybe that is the poet’s job at a reading as well – maybe not, it’s a big ask isn’t it?  But I’m sure that is one of the reasons Jackie Kay is so popular, and goes down so well with audiences.  And this is not just to do with her poetry – it’s to do with her personality as well – I feel all warm and less alone when I hear her read…

another theory could be that the lack of sleep is finally getting to me and I’ve lost the plot.  I got back from the reading at 1am and had to be up for work and ready to teach jingle bells by 8.30am….

and I sold 12 pamphlets!  Which isn’t bad going, when you consider who my little pamphlet was next to on the book table…

So other exciting things that have happened that I’m now allowed to talk about…

If you have a look at the Troubadour Poetry Website, you will see a poem of mine was commended in the competition.  The poem is ‘A Psalm for the Scaffolders’.  I unfortunately couldn’t go to the awards night, although I gather from Twitter and Facebook it was wonderful (much gnashing of teeth) but it’s great to be in such good company with such wonderful poets.  I haven’t read them all yet but you can check out the prize winning poems at this website:

and my copy of this beautiful anthology ‘Estuary – A Confluence of Art and Poetry’ arrived today – there is quite a big preview of it on line, and you can get a soft cover version for slightly less or a hard cover version, but it would make a lovely christmas present!   Agnes Marton, the editor of the anthology is coming on the February course at Abott Hall and there will be a launch of the anthology on February 14th at Abott Hall  – more details to follow!  If you click on the link there is quite a big preview of the anthology online as well

and lastly in ‘The North’ magazine there are some of my poems and a conversation with me and David Tait – David sounds super cool, I sound like a character from an Enid Blyton novel.  You can buy a copy from

Tonight I was at St Pius school in Barrow at the school concert where we had 95 children playing Jingle Bells on brass instruments, which was fun.  But I’m kind of knackered now…

I’ve decided I also need to be more disciplined about my writing on a Monday (the day off) I’m wondering about doing a report every Monday on here about what I’ve done – will that make me stop floating about the house watching Jeremy Kyle and eating chocolate croissants?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll give it a try this Monday and see what happens…

3 comments on “Royal Exchange Reading with Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Charmain Leung and Carly Hind

  1. Hi, I was at the poetry evening too. Not sure if you recall the group of Barnsley College students sat by the door in front of Carol Ann.
    I was wondering if you knew what poem Jackie Kay read out that wasn’t in the Fiere collection? I have no idea, with it being so long ago now, what it was about. All I recall was the mention of goodnight (but it wasn’t Fiere Goodnicht), and something about a moon? I think the overall idea was having a tough life and keeping your head high by saying goodnight to the moon. Not sure, hope you can help with the very vague information I’ve given you. Thank you!

      1. Thanks for your reply! Hopefully I’ll find out as the memories come flooding back, but for now I have no ideas. 🙂

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