Category Archives: Fuse

An epic day of poetry at Chatham Dockyard

Photo of writers
Writers in residence (photo by Nicole Mollett)

Sam and Baz were part of The Kent Cultural Baton’s FUSE festival One Day Works on 6 June. We spent the whole day in the historic Dockyard writing poems inspired by the history since the Dockyard closed in 1984.

We have each made a poem and here are a couple of extracts showing our different approaches.

It was a nice experience to be in the baton and concentrate a whole day to writing, aided by the Dockyard’s atmosphere of memories and place.

The aim was to write a 30-verse poem charting the past 30 years, including Medway, world and personal events. We both took different approaches, and ended up writing two poems that are still growing and await a bit of cogitation and editing:

Delta 3.0

400 years more or less
Summoned by the tide
Summoned by bells
Summoned by sirens
The swarm had come
Knowing their role
Caulkers, carpenters and cranemen
Tied to their aprons always
At their work, at their play

Delta 3.0 redux

I sleep unawares,
Innocent chrysalis, for
Whom does that bell toll?

The Baton will be out and about during Fuse – you can find more information here.



Fusing history and poetry to celebrate the Dockyard

Photo of the historic Dockyard gatesWe are delighted to announce that Wordsmithery (Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall) will be part of ‘One Day Works’ in the run-up to the Fuse Festival this year.

Wordsmithery will spend one day in the Kent Cultural Baton writing ‘Delta3.0’ a chain love letter to the river, a 30 stanza epic poem written in one day, about the 30 years since Chatham Dockyard closed.

One Day Works is  a series of one day experiments happening in the lead up to and during the Fuse festival in a series of locations across Medway, from urban high streets to country villages. The project will showcase ten of the finest of Medway’s Creative talents, across a range of art forms. The works also include sculptures made from found objects, archival collections, insect inspired costumes, drawings made from thread, an acoustic live music gig and a magic lantern performance.

Wordsmithery will be located at the Historic Dockyard on 6 June 2014, where we will be writing our poem. Come along and say hello, and contribute a line, or a memory, or an idea to the poem!

The Historic Dockyard, Church Ln, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TE, 10am-6pm

More info and the full lineup




2013 – our highlights in words and images

Happy New Year to all our followers and friends! 2013 was (again) a busy year for ME4Writers.

ME4Writers was started in 2009 by Sam Fentiman-Hall and since then, the collective has worked with over 500 members of the Kent community (focussing on Medway), on over 40 literary projects and events, with the aim of bringing more words to Medway.

ME4Writers is a loose grouping of Medway writers who work on different projects, also doing their own writing projects individually, though is held together by Sam and Barry Fentiman-Hall. Writers and creatives will join us for one or more projects at a time, and most of our projects and events are open and accessible to all. (ME4Writers is now part of Wordsmithery, a literary development company set up by Sam, which also encompasses 17Percent, an organisation which supports female playwrights.

Some examples of the sort of events we have run are:  poetry open mics in alternative venues; new writing shows at the Dickens Festiva;, an open exhibition about memory and place – ‘Letters Home’ – in two Medway libraries; a Medway-wide poetry treasure hunt game for National Poetry Day; creative writing workshops and tutorials; took ‘possibly the world’s smallest writing retreat’ to the Fuse Festival 2013; published an anthology of creative writing about cities; and created a walking-writing tour of Rochester and other events for the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival.

A few highlights from this year:

  • May-June: The WordShed at Fuse Festival – we received a Spark Commission from Medway Council to pilot our new writing shed. We lead four creative writing workshops in Strood, Rochester, Walderslade Village and Chatham libraries in advance of the festival. We also made a printed booklet The Seed Catalogue with highlights from the workshops, which was given out at the festival, and online we published The Seed Compendium, a collection of everything (legible) from the Fuse Festival weekend. Find out more about the WordShed on the WordShed blog.
  • July and October: Rochester LitFest – we created a number of literary delights for the new festival. In July at the Garden Party we did a version of WordShed lite in the garden at The Good Intent. Then in October, at the festival proper, we played Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game (in the pouring rain) on National Poetry Day, launched our first full-length book (published by Wordsmithery) City without a head, and led a walking/writing tour of Rochester. For 17Percent, Sam also produced a theatre show; She Writes – What’s through the door?
  •  City without a head: This is the culmination of a long standing ME4Writers’ project. Extracts from the anthology were published in parts as part of a guerilla distribution scheme, where we hid issues of a limited edition fanzine around Medway and further afield (some went to Sweden, Australia and America!) Wordsmithery launched City without a head on 8 October 2013, you can still buy a limited edition issue from Wordsmithery. In November we read extracts from the book on Fizzer’s Radio Show, which you can hear here.

    “this anthology is wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable. It’s not an easy read – some of it will make your head spin in the sheer density of its intimacy (I now feel like I know each author personally) but it is rewarding.” **** Female Arts

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fuse Festival update!

Picture of a young man writingin the shed.
A shedder in action in Gillingham!

We’ve had a great response to our Word Shed project this weekend, so far.

We positioned the shed in Gillingham on Friday and yesterday we were in a windblown Chatham, along with the other acts in Streetart day.

Today, we are in Rochester Castle Gardens, and it’s your last chance to contribute to the online version of our publication The Seed Catalogue (Download it from the Word Shed blog).

Today we will be alternating a writing session and a reading session, where we read extracts from writing collected during the project.

We will be typing up everything we can from this weekend and adding it to an online version next week, which will be available from the Word Shed blog.

See you in Rochester! (Bring a brolly…)

The Seed Catalogue – launching at the FUSE festival

Picture of booklets
The Seed Catalogue

We are delighted to be able to launch our new collaborative booklet of prose and poetry ‘The Seed Catalogue’ from tomorrow at the FUSE Medway Festival.

The booklet has been put together from contributions to our wordshops over the past month, and showcases writing from 24 local writers, some of whom had not written before, some of whom are already writing.

The booklet has a range of writing inspired by the topics of Medway and Festival, and it was a delight to read the varied contributions and put the booklet together.

You can come along and do some writing too, in the Shed during the Festival, where you can find us in Gillingham on the High Street on Friday, at Chatham near H Samuels on Saturday and at Rochester Castle Gardens for the Big Picnic on Sunday. Bring a rug, and a picnic and you can listen to us read from the new booklet.

We will be typing up as many of the contributions from the weekend as we can and adding them to our online version of the publication – ‘The Seed Compendium’.  We will also be tweeting live poems from the Festival, follow us on @WordShed.

The whole project has been made possible with a Spark commission from the FUSE Medway Festival.


If you come to The Word Shed over the weekend, and would like to give us any feedback, to help us develop future live literature events, please fill in our quick online survey.