Freeing verse. And saxophones…

There was a fantastic mix of words and music at Verse Matters in October. Shelley Roche-Jacques kicked off the evening with a lovely reading which explored the historical role of women writers. This was an apt opener, given the continuing inequalities in publishing, particularly for women, and for Black and Asian writers. In 2005 the Free-Verse-Report asked why so few […]

Verse Matters – September

After another fantastic night in August, Verse Matters is back on Thursday 10 September with more talented artists. There’ll be fantastic poetry from the formidable Toria Garbutt (A Firm of Poets), beautiful music from Lou Richards and poetry from the wonderful Genevieve Carver (Paper Boat Poets). There’ll also be open mic performances from Iranian musician/ MC MoLi Nik (ASSIST), Katherine […]

You have reached your destination!

The launch of Verse Matters was wonderful. Helen Mort kicked the evening off by reading a few of her fantastic new poems, taking us from the irritations of ‘blonde jokes’ to the diets of climbers.    As Helen was about to read her final poem, a phone chipped in with precision timing: “You have reached your destination”. It certainly […]

Verse Matters: A Feminist Arts Event

We’re getting closer to going live with Verse Matters: a new feminist arts event that I am setting up in Sheffield. We’re teaming up with a fantastic new cafe at The Hide on Scotland Street where we’ll be running every first Thursday of the month from 7.30pm. Verse Matters provides a platform for poetry, spoken […]

The politics of parenting

There is a prevailing assumption that children and politics do not mix. That parenting is apolitical, and that women who talk about children cannot, at the same time, be talking about resistance, justice, struggle or emancipation. This was brought home to me recently, when in a recent Facebook post I wrote the following: “I received […]

Children’s books in the literary marketplace

Many illustrated books for children are packed with stereotypes. From ‘naughty’ Spot who won’t eat his dinner, to mummies dressed in pink aprons, and daddies who read the paper and go on adventures, the children’s literary marketplace seems to be dominated by conditional parenting and conservative narratives. Although there are fantastic children’s illustrators and writers, we […]

That’s not very long…

I received an email yesterday from Clare College, Cambridge about the high profile events being planned by the college to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the admission of women into the college. The email invited me, along with other members of the college, to come together and celebrate the college for taking ‘the momentous decision to end centuries […]