Tag Archives: National Poetry Day

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. www.wordsmithery.info)

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

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ME4 go mad for literary fun this October with the Roch Lit Fest!

We are really happy to be involved with the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival (RLF), and Sam is producing several live lit events for it. The RLF is a great idea, there are a lot of festivals that go on in Medway, but none that really focus on literature. (Of course, you can say but what about the Dickens Festival?, but that doesn’t deal in living authors and new work, and also doesn’t have much of a participatory element, unless you like dressing up…)

For the RLF, ME4 are producing three literature events (and also a theatre show, as part of Sam’s other lit dev project, 17Percent). The events are varied, and range from a walking/writing tour of Rochester, to the launch of our very first proper full-length book, with a healthy dose of our yearly poetry treasure hunt Poetrymon, and a night of new plays by women thrown in for good measure.

We kick off with Poetrymon – our yearly poetry treasure hunt around Medway. This year, the poems will have a watery theme. The poems are unique, so follow the clues and find yourself an individual piece of poem-art. (3 October)

On 5 October, see some new writing by women, in ‘A night at the theatre’, where you will have a chance afterwards to ask some of the writers, cast and director about the process of making theatre.

We launch, hot off the press, our new book, City without a head. You might have been lucky enough to pick up one of the original zines the publication grew from (the Encyclopaedia Citaecephale), but it’s grown up a lot since then. (8 October)

After the fantastic response to The Word Shed earlier in the year, we thought it was really important to have some participatory writing fun, so have come up with ‘Write around town’ an opportunity to write about the myth and reality of Rochester and also to invent some myths of your own. (10 October)

You can find out more about our events on the ME4 at RLF2013 page.

Or by going to the Rochester Literature Festival website, where you can find out about all of the events scheduled for the 10-day festival, including ME4 regular Roy Smith’s ‘The Skywatcher investigation’, an interactive story game.

Poetry fun on National Poetry Day

poem 2 image
This poem was locked out of the Oast House!

For the second year running we played our game of Poetrymon across the 5 Medway towns.

In the day-long poetry treasure hunt, we hoofed it from Chatham to Rainham, Gillingham, then finally  Strood and Rochester.

In Poetrymon, ME4Writers make unique, one-off poem cards which are hidden about Medway to celebrate National Poetry Day.  Poems were written by Barry Fentiman, Sam Hall, Sarah Jenkin and Roy Smith. The hiders were Sam, Sarah and Barry.

This year the theme for NPD was ‘Stars’, so a good number of the poems responded to the theme. You can see more about Poetrymon on the website, we will also be adding some more pictures, poems and video to the site. The clues were also posted on Twitter and FaceBook. If you found a poem, we hope that it made your (National Poetry) day!!

National Poetry Day intervention

On 6 October, National Poetry Day, ME4 Writers played a game called Poetrymon.
After creating about 50 poetry postcards, using all our cutting, glittering and pasting skills, we set out with the intention of infusing Medway with poetry!

Barry Fentiman, Sam Hall, Roy Smith and Tara Moyle provided the poems. Sam, Barry, Tara and Gemma Quinnell provided the foot power.

We have done lots of live literature events and we wanted to get a bit more immersive. Poetrymon was our second game – previously we had made an Audio Walk (written by Roy Smith) as part of our ‘Seventh Traveller’  project – a series of writings and events inspired by a short story by Dickens.

Poetrymon is a treasure hunt game played around the Medway towns. The prizes are the poem cards themselves – which in themselves are works of art (we hope!) – though the first ten people to email us with a picture of themselves holding a card will also get an ME4 Writers badge.

Poetry postcard picture
Poetry postcard

Cryptic clues were placed on the website throughout the day as several of the writers hid the poems – some in plain sight! We also documented the day in a video film which you can see here.

We walked miles and our feet were aching the day after, but we hope our game made people smile and maybe inspired them to read a poem or even write some poetry for National Poetry Day! (We were very chuffed to receive a message from the Captain of LV21 who found our card! Ships ahoy!)