What a busy 10 days we had at the start of October, when ME4Writers were happy to be part of the first Rochester Literature Festival.
We started the week on 3 October (National Poetry Day) with Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game. (Picture shows one poem, found in coFWD.) We hid unique, original poem cards around Medway and left cryptic clues online for readers to follow. What we love about Poetrymon is the fact that most of the time we don’t know who finds the cards, (and in fact, sometimes we hope they will be a bit baffled,) but our main hope is that they enjoy the poetry! You can see more about the poets on our Poetrymon page.
On 5 October, Sam produced a theatre show as part of ‘A night at the theatre’. She Writes: What’s through the door? was a performance of 17Percent’s 4-star rated set of short plays based on a story by HG Wells. The plays, written by Whoop’n’wail, Sam Hall and Sarah Hehir, all have a sci-fi/surreal bent to them and invite the audience to explore other worlds – which fitted in fantastically with the festival’s theme.
“Three plays in one, each delightful and mysterious. The pieces are beautifully and intelligently connected by an overarching narrative.” **** Everything Theatre
“Both performances were astounding, so well written, produced & directed. It felt like a London quality night out in Rochester, I was totally in the world of all the stories.”
Our next event was the launch of our book on 8 October – City Without a Head – an anthology of poetry, prose and found literature, initially published over two years as a free fanzine. The collection refined, added and developed the ideas in our initial City Project (aka Encyclopaedia Citaecephale), and is published in a limited edition of 200 with gorgeous illustrations by award-winning artist Victoria Wainwright,(available from www.wordsmithery.info).
We played readings bingo, randomly generated readings chosen by the audience, ate sweets and listened to music with a city theme by the brilliant 3D.
“an exceptionally refreshing and eloquent anthology… wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable.” **** Femalearts.com
Our final event of the Festival was our walking/writing tour of Rochester on 10 October – Write Around Town. Through a series of locally themed writing exercises, we asked writers to do the thing that ME4Writers seem to be obsessed by: looking at our locality from a different angle.
“Stimulating exchange of ideas and writing exercises to take away and work on.”
In case you haven’t played Poetrymon before – here is some info about it. Poetrymon was invented for National Poetry Day 2011 by Sam Hall. It is an interactive treasure hunt game played around Medway, where the prizes are unique handmade poem cards.
The cards will be hidden by ME4Writers in a variety of places in Medway and we will post clues on this website and also Tweet and put them on Facebook (join ME4Writers group to follow on FB). The clues will be live from 12 o’clock lunchtime on 3 October.
This will be the third time we have played Poetrymon and we are happy to be playing it as a part of the Rochester Lit Fest (RLF). Which opens on the same day! (More info here.)
So, we have made the cards and now we are gathering together poems from our local poet friends and associates. The theme this year for National Poetry Day is water – so we’ve tried to keep to a watery theme (though sometimes this is quite loosely applied!)
On National Poetry Day (Thursday 3 October) you will be able to follow the clues to find our unique poetry cards. The clues will only be online from 12 o’clock lunchtime on that day on a tab of this site called Poetrymon13. You can also follow clues on Twitter if you follow @the7thtraveller, or on Facebook if you join our group (ME4Writers).
We have a system of initials for identifying the author of your poem. If you would like to hear/see more work by the writers below – they are also taking part in some ME4Writers’ events for the RLF (see links for more).
The key to the poets and a brief bio are below:
MD: Maggie Drury is an unrelenting writer. Her play NOT KNOWING WHO WE ARE was performed at the Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell in 2007. She is currently working on a novel and a full-length play.
BF: Barry Fentiman is a Medway-based poet and mythogeographer who performs around the South East. His writing has been published in The Medway Broadside, The Irish Post, Stories from songs, The Seed Catalogue and City without a head. Barry is also involved in running ME4’s other literary projects for the RLF. He will beco-running the Write Around Town workshop (10 October), and co-hosting the launch of City without a head (8 October).
SH: Sam Hall founded ME4Writers in 2009. She is a playwright whose plays have been performed internationally, and her writing has been published in The Irish Post, The Lock, Theatre and Performance, WOWKent, Stories from songs, and many online magazines. She is the editor of City without a head, ME4Writers’ book being launched on 8 October. She also runs 17Percent, an organisation to promote equality in theatre writing, through which she is producing a show She Writes: What’s through the door? for the Rochester Literature Festival, as part of ‘A night at the theatre’. (5 October.)
HS: Sarah Hehir teaches English, Drama and Creative Writing in schools and prisons. She was shortlisted for The Nick Darke award 2012 is the winner of The 2013 Writer’s Prize sponsored by the BBC Writersroom. Her play BANG UP was broadcast on Radio Four on 8 August 2013. Sarah’s play THE FOURTH CIRCLE forms part of She Writes ‘A night at the theatre’ and also her radio play will be read as part of the evening on 5 October.
SMJ: SM Jenkin is former chair of the Medway Mermaids, and has had work published in several anthologies including The Mermaid, Medway Festival Fringe, the Medway Messenger, and in publications including Touchstone, Blithe Spirit, and City without a head. SM’s short plays have been performed at She Writes, and the Lounge on the Farm festival 2012.
AMJ: Anne-Marie Jordan is the former treasurer of the Medway Mermaids, she has had work published in several anthologies including The Mermaid, Sea Shanties and Siren Songs, Hauntings, and collections including Did I Tell You? 131 poems for Children in Need, The Seed Catalogue, City without a head and Not Only The Dark.
PK: Philip Kane is an award-winning writer, storyteller and artist. He is a native of the Medway Towns and the area provides a setting for much of his work. A founding member of the London Surrealist Group, over the past 30 years he has built up an international reputation, publishing and exhibiting in a number of countries including Spain and the USA. We are delighted to be using some of Phil’s poems from his collection Unauthorised Person published by Cultured LLama.
LSM: Sarah March was born in Chatham and now resides in Rochester with her three sons and guinea pig. In between she has lived in Italy and France,
and the past, which is a foreign country.
TM: Tara Moyle teaches college writing courses at William Paterson University and is currently working on a book of personal essays. She has published poems, art reviews and a blog, Bright Purple Rain Boots, about her expat time in Medway. Publishing credits include AGNI journal, diode, Armchair Shotgun, Yemassee, Brilliant Corners, Nidus, City without a head and online magazines including The Medway Broadside. She lives outside New York with her husband and two tabbies, Lucy and Toby. Tara will be joining us at the launch of City without a head by the magic of technology! (8 October, Ye Arrow. City without a head is published by Wordsmithery Books.)
RS: Roy Smith lives in the Medway Towns, where he works with young people and spends a lot of time writing nonsense. Most of his writing happens at night and other inconvenient moments, when he is regularly interrupted by the desire to play old video games. He also enjoys playing with audio, sound, podcasting and occasionally music, as well as getting himself involved in interesting things. Roy is also producing an interactive adventure for the Rochester Literature Festival – The Skywatcher Investigation. (Info here.)
See you soon! Happy hunting!
from the people formerly known as ME4Writers. Head over to www.wordsmithery.info for the most up-to-date stuff!