Launch of 2nd Loose Muse Anthology

Whoever said that things get easier as you get older, LIED! This year seems to have passed by in a frenetic blur, and I’ve been working my tukkas off for months. September was certainly no exception, but I’m not complaining as it was a fabulously exciting month.

Starting things off with a bang on September 12th was the first Loose Muse event of the autumn, and actually the beginning of Loose Muse’s 8th year of operation. Amazing to think it’s been going that long and that the quality and enthusiasm of everyone who comes has been sustained at such a high level. Looking back I’ve been able to feature over 150 women writers, some of whom have gone on to do amazing things, as well as many hundreds more in the open mic slots, which are growing in popularity with some tremendous writers sharing their work.

So for our 8th anniversary event, not only did we have celebration chocolate, but features were Susan Utting, a poet of extraordinary sensitivity and word-power, joining us from reading, plus Steph Pike, down from Manchester. I’d not seen Steph perform before, but I knew she was a feminist activist poet whose work was both highly political and electric in performance. I totally loved her work, and it was a pleasure to listen to poetry that made you think. And she was nice with it, which is always a bonus. Special Guest on the night was also writer, dancer and performer Ellen Zaks, who’d flown in from Spain the day before especially to share her colourful and unique blend of poetry and performance with us.

There’s always a lively Q & A session after each feature with questions from the floor. The political nature of Steph’s work inspired questions as to why so little political poetry is published in the UK. It’s certainly not welcome in poetry/literature/writing magazines here, and thus not published. In other parts of the world censorship is sometimes apparent and brutal. Here there appears to be quiet censorship by stealth…we don’t know what we don’t know or what we don’t see. Which made me think that maybe the next Loose Muse Anthology should encourage more political work as one of its themes, which would hopefully inspire some interesting work. Write me what you think of the idea.

Steph and I have also been talking about having a Loose Muse event in Manchester either later this year or early next, with a mix of London and Manchester writers. So watch this space for more news on that….should be an amazing gig, and taking Loose Muse on the road will be fantastic.

Then on the 13th September there was the launch of the 2nd Loose Muse Anthology ….yeeehaa! Anyone who thinks it’s a piece of cake to produce and publish a book containing the work of 35 writers needs to see a therapist! Quite a lot of my summer had been taken up with producing a 2nd volume that was as good as the first. And it was! That’s not just my opinion, but also that of everyone else who’s seen it. The front cover uses another of Lorraine Clarke’s brilliant images – that woman is a genius! – easily as striking at the first. And it contained the marvelous work of 35 writers, 28 of whom were able to join us on launch night to read their work. High spot in a night of high spots was Linda Shanson reading her poem I Would Never Know’, based on a real-life incident. With musical accompanied by her husband, international musician Baluji Shrivastav on dalruba, it made the hair on the back of your neck stand up listening to it…truly haunting. And Claire Booker’s hilarious short play ‘Sperm Vampire’ provided much needed light-relief in a night of intense and powerful work.

Everyone agreed that the venue – downstairs at Cotton’s Caribbean restaurant in Exmouth Market, EC1 – was a great choice, with good food, great staff, and a comfortable, welcoming ambiance….all in all a fantastic night. And anthologies sold well on the night, although there are plenty left if you haven’t yet managed to buy one for yourself, so buy one now while stocks last. At only £8.00 (+ p+p if applicable), it’s a fantastic bargain. Just drop me a line and let me know how many copies you want, and they’ll be sent to you as soon as I get the cheque (payable to Loose Muse).

I’ll also be selling copies at the next Loose Muse event on 10th October, which will feature poet Ivy Alvarez, and Jona Burghardt, flying in from Stuttgart just to feature. And if you want to feature in the next anthology, you have until next spring to do so, so get writing ladies, get writing!!! I’m getting excited already.

Next blog I’ll be reporting on the gig I did in Oslo with Patricia Foster and Dzifa Benson, including what happened at the amazing Weeping Statue of Mono. You wouldn’t believe it.

Until then…share the passion, share the joy….

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