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Last Updated: 10/10/2013 12:07:04
Trinity Church Showcases Hull Poetry at Heads Up Festival - Saturday 28th September 2013
By Michelle Dee
They've performed everywhere from the Boathouse to the Hotel Tower Ballroom (maybe not, that was Jake and Elwood), five have taken part in the Edinburgh Fringe, and between them they have amassed seven published works, in a relatively short space of time.
Under the Write to Speak banner, eight performers came together within the historic and hallowed Holy Trinity Church, to showcase spoken word in Hull.

The audience, including the Rev. Canon Dr. Neal Barnes, sat beneath the medieval vaulted ceilings, listening intently as the performers treated them to a selection of original poetry works. Amongst a program of many highlights were a number of notable performances.
Russ Litten read a dark piece highlighting the injustice and horrendous treatment by Humberside Police officers, on Christopher Alder. This reading was a sobering reminder that poetry can serve other purposes than just to entertain.
In direct contrast to Russ is Ruth E. Dixon. With red heeled boots and a waterfall of ruby locks, the ex-BBC broadcaster had the audience in fits, with Kitchen Extension; her ode to cookware. Up until a couple of years ago, Catherine Scott had never written poetry, but while attending a workshop at Hull Truck she met with Joe Hakim and attended a series of workshops he was hosting. She caught the poetry bug and began attending open mics and performance nights.
The counsellor who spends her day listening to others, had found her own voice and then early this year she announced fearlessly she was taking a one woman show to this year's Edinburgh Fringe. Now, to top off what has been a remarkable few years in the Cottingham poets' life, her first collection, A Woman With a View was published in September by Burning Eye Books.

Catherine, with apparent ease, delivered three pieces that typify her approach and love for rhythm and rhyme. The Office Bitch 'with her bulldog persona' who gets her come-uppance, went down well with the generous crowd, the alliteration and the neat role reversal in Job Application greeted with a cheer.
What's next for this unassuming Cottingham writer? By the looks of it, anything she damn well likes.
Write to Speak, headed up by poets Joe Hakim and Mike Watts, focuses on encouraging and offering support to emerging writers, providing a platform for younger voices looking to make their way in the world of verse.

Alex Tamminen is one such talent and she impressed once more, as she switched from a familiar vocal delivery to something much more edgy and street. Her poems look at what it means to grow up amidst all the pressures and expectations of youth. She particularly connected with a piece about codependency and the bitter realisation that the nature of people can change.
So what is the state of Hull Poetry at the moment?
With access to the online community poets are aware of one another. The growing number of events and regular nights such as Away With Words at UMU hosted by the ever ready ball of words and energy Jim Higo and Fresh Ink.

Making good use of social media the nights attract a varied audience, to witness richly diverse programs featuring local and national names performing spoken word.
Technology and new publishing trends mean that writers can, with no inconsiderable effort, publish collections of work and promote themselves. With the welcome support of outlets such as Waterstones in the city centre and online through Amazon and the like writers can reach audiences far and wide.

With Thursday's National Poetry Day featuring an online event using the hash-tag #HullPoets, organised by Hull Libraries to link renowned poets alongside fresher voices thus cementing the importance and relevance of Hull's proud poetry tradition.

Away With Words Event
Reviews, Art So You Wanna be a Crime Writer? at Heads Up Festival - Saturday 28th September 2013 at The Other Space By Michelle Dee.
Michelle Dee enters the grisly world of crime fiction, a place where a black inkwell resides at the heart of every writer, and attempts to piece together, from the thoughts expressed by a select gathering of authors, a rough guide to crime writing Read more...

Reviews, Theatre City Sketch Heralds a New Dawn for Storytelling in Hull - At The Other Space, Hull By Michelle Dee
City Sketch is a site-specific theatre work that takes place inside The Other Space, a converted office block at No 94 Alfred Gelder Street in Hull city centre. Unusual theatre, immersive theatre, interactive theatre is making all the traditional theatre practitioners sit up and take notice. Just as audiences want to interact with news and entertainment online, so they want to be part of the story in theatre. Read more...

Reviews, Art Rhythm is a Danza! By Dark Clerk Photos by Philip Rhodes.
I'm shouting in a gallery, I'm shouting in a gallery, just one of the many taboos that dancer/performer Ellen Turner broke at Danza! in Hull. Ellen delivered an outrageous finale, to a rip-roaring third annual Danza! the Contemporary Dance event this year gravitating from Fruit to the Live Art Space at Ferens Gallery. Whereas live music in the city and theatre is enjoying a popular resurgence, dance is still under-represented in the city. Read more...

Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Helen Mort
Mike Watts' second collection is darker than his debut, dealing with relationships, sex, debts and the difficulty of chasing your dreams while still making ends meet. But despite the gravity and grit of the subject matter, the poems always have a kind of exuberance to them, and energy that's almost infectious. Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Michael Black's New Play Pride Debuts at Adelphi - Tuesday 18th June 2013 By Michelle Dee
'No-one will love you - you will be alone forever' The new play Pride by Michael Black conjures up images of the barbaric treatment of homosexuality in the latter half of the 20th Century; a play that explores issues of societal division, segregation and rejection which are as relevant today as they were then. It is appalling to think that from 1950 and then for the next three decades, Behavioural Aversion Therapy was being administered to homosexuals in NHS hospitals across the country. Read more...

Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Terry Ireland
Just spent an hour dipping in and out Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts. Always did like his style - no words wasted, tight and sparse. Controversial at times but always readable. Really enjoyed. Another good 'un Mike. Looking forward to hearing some of them performed. Mike is a superb performance poet that I have had the privilege of working with and attending his work shops. I can hear his voice in every poem. Read more...

Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Michelle Dee
Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory crashes through life in quick-fire stanzas that whack the unsuspecting reader over the head. This, his second anthology available now at Waterstones Hull, sees the popular writer flexing muscles, girding loins, easing into the self-made role of Hull street poet. The poems are accessible, something you can pick up during a cigarette break and immediately share in a sense of solidarity. You and he versus the rest of 'em. Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Adelphi Club Stages Theatre Double Bill By Michelle Dee
Crisis can strike at any time as the television is so fond of telling us. It can take many different forms but the important thing is how you respond. Do you have the tools in the locker to manage the crisis to recover; to survive? Joanna Morris' A Delicate Man explores the unknowable quantity that is human nature. What is an all too familiar set of circumstances: a family torn apart Read more...

Reviews, Art Book Launch - Swear Down by Russ Litten at Pave - Wednesday April 10th 2013 By Michelle Dee.
If it is possible for poetry to rock a room, then on Wednesday Joe and Mike did just that. It was author Russ Litten's book launch and a crowd of authors, poets, theatre-makers, movers and shakers from the Arts scene in Hull including local press and radio, all gathered to celebrate the release of Swear Down, Litten's second novel, but his first foray into crime-writing. The night was held at the popular drinking emporium, Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Phantom of the Opera at St. Mary's College, Tuesday 12th March 2013 By Michelle Dee
It has been years since I saw a school production. I remember my own performances as an overfed urchin, an unfunny jester and as a witch-doctor, with a mixture of nostalgic pride laced with pangs of sheer terror. A friend's two daughters were in tonight's show, so I took my seat in the school hall dutifully: poised to cheer and applaud in all the right places. Read more...

Reviews, Art Sunday March 4th 2013 - Northern Elements at Fruit By Terry Ireland.
It was an evening of poetry
Of four different styles
An evening of belly laughs
And wry gentle smiles
As each of the ladies
In their own special way

Reviews, Art Sunday March 4th 2013 - Kate Fox Standing Up for Hull Poets By Michelle Dee.
Stand-up poetry or spoken word, call it what you will, is on the rise in Hull. Joe Hakim, curator for Northern Elements, said as much at the Kate Fox show held on Sunday night at Fruit. You can't fail to have noticed the many venues and night dedicated to this vibrant versatile and increasingly popular art form. Poetry is everywhere. Whether it is mixed in on a variety billing of live music and theatre, Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Thursday 5th July 2012 - Fred Voss and Joan Jobe-Smith - The Longbeach Connection at Hull Truck - Humber Mouth Literature Festival By Michelle Dee Photographs by Cilla Wykes
Tonight's poetry performance was the culmination of three years effort, to bring the highly respected Californian writer Fred Voss to Hull. All week I'd been hearing reverential murmurings about the two visiting poets, particularly from the writers in my midst. Wearing dark shades, dressed in black from head to toe, the flame haired Joan Jobe-Smith, Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Theatre Brothel 2.0 at Hull Truck Theatre - Saturday 29th September 2012 By Michelle Dee Photographs by Cilla Wykes
In recent years, film and theatre reviews have become littered with the following: Spoiler Alert! So what can I tell you about Theatre Brothel 2.0 without giving the game away? The Theatre Brothel experience begins as you walk the back corridors and passageways of the theatre. Which two of the four shows you got to see in any given night, depended on what answers you gave to some probing questions. Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Tuesday 3rd July 2012 - Hannah Silva and Helen Mort at Fruit - Humber Mouth Literature Festival By Michelle Dee Photographs by Cilla Wykes
Not very often I'm lost for words after a performance. I can usually begin to frame my response, think in terms of genre, style, influences. Not so for Hannah Silva. Ghost Running was a special collaborative spoken word performance with renowned Yorkshire poet Helen Mort, and took place at Fruit in Hull's historic Fruit market area, for the Humbermouth Literature Festival. Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Monday 2nd July 2012 - Ross Sutherland: The Three Stigmata of Pacman at Fruit - Humber Mouth Literature Festival By Michelle Dee Photographs by Cilla Wykes
The annual Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull moved into its second week; a week filled with innovative and acclaimed spoken word artists curated by Write to Speak and Fresh Ink in the Hard Rhymes & Great Exclamations strand of the festival. The performers are arriving in Hull from as far afield as York, Devon, Los Angeles Read more...

Reviews, Art Revelations On The Edge by Sarah Pennington at Red Gallery - June 2012 By Michelle Dee. Photographs courtesy Sarah Pennington
A whale bone washed up on a distant shoreline; a battered old tin found loch side returning to its place of origin; strange crab claw tools; methodical arrangements of chalky bone fragments from fish and fowl. These are just some of the curios that await you when you visit Revelations on the Edge. Artist and sculptor Sarah Pennington left her home in Hull and spent 3 months on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Read more...

Reviews, Theatre Reclamation at Hull Truck Theatre, Saturday 23rd June 2012 By Michelle Dee
Getting to Edinburgh Fringe is a milestone in every artists career, and performing at the Arts and Culture Festival presents many challenges; least of all financing the escapade paying for travel and lodgings while you attempt to put on a marathon of shows in a month. Reclamation by Joe Hakim, Mike Watts and Ruth E. Dixon is about self discovery not in the namby-pamby Read more...

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