WHAT DO POEMS ADD TO AN EVENT?
Poetry is freeing. We think we’re only hearing poems with our mind and our intellect, but we’re also feeling them: heart and soul and gut. It frees us to move more easily between agendas and feelings. Many good, heart-driven events can end up merely as discussions. Poems can alter that balance. They remind us of deeper reasons for our presence and our convictions.
DO POEMS SCARE PEOPLE OFF?
Some people’s early exposure to poetry made it seem inaccessible and irrelevant. That isn’t the case here. The poems always deal clearly with the subject at hand. The two most frequent comments I get during – and after – events are: “I don’t like poetry, but I love yours!” and “You’ve made me think differently!" Exciting, not scary.
PERFORMANCE OR RESIDENCY: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Ask me along to perform, and I’ll bring existing poems about the themes of your event; (and very probably poems written for your specific gathering). Invite me for a residency and I'll write as we go along. Residencies can work on single-day conferences - but develop nicely in longer gatherings too. Either way, you're getting a benign outsider’s perspective on the process - as well as content - of you event.
WHAT DO YOU DO, TYPICALLY?
I don’t. Your gathering, however big or small, is different from others. So I work with you, in advance, to ensure that the poetry I bring speaks with vitality to the people of your gathering. Communities, universities volunteers, congregations, assemblies, celebrations, faith groups - everyone needs something different.
Getting in touch is your best to find out what we could do together.
WILL YOU WORK WITH SMALL GROUPS?
Yes. I love it.
HOW MUCH NOTICE DO YOU NEED?
The more the better. But I'm hugely adaptable. (My Radio 2 work had to be ready in four hours, from brief to live broadcast. Aaarggh). We will need time to prepare something really good, and very relevant. If you’re thinking of using me, check my availability sooner rather than later. You’re not committing yourself.</p>
DO YOU TEACH?
Yes. I've taught in advertising agencies and prisons and lots of places in between. Nowadays I run three kind of workshops. Have a look at the Workshops section. Truly, most teaching is witness plus the revealing of innate skill. Ask me more?
WILL YOU WORK WITH ANYONE?
Yes. As long as their beliefs and intentions are inclusive.
DO YOU PREACH?
I'm a minister. If part of your invitation is to preach, I can. People sometimes book me for a weekend of performance-and-workshop, followed by preaching. I enjoy it very much. But let's talk about whether it adds anything.
DO YOU WORK WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE?
Yes. They’re more prepared, generally, to have a go than the grown-ups. They don’t automatically self-censor either. Although mixed-age groups can be a complex; younger and older kids can’t always appreciate each other’s work. We'd need a conversation about timings and goals.
HOW FAR WILL YOU TRAVEL?
To the ends of the earth if you give me enough notice.
I've worked as a writer all my adult life; for advertising agencies, in prisons, at magazines - and at the BBC.
And performed at gigs, conferences, assemblies. In pubs, theatres, arenas and churches.
I've run workshops wherever US-and-THEM dynamics are an issue.
If you're not sure I can do what you need, ask.
I'll tell you if I can't - but it's unlikely.