Five Minute Interview with Wayne Holloway-Smith

kendal-poetry-festival-poet-wayne-holloway-smith

 

Welcome back to the return of Kendal Poetry Festival’s Five Minute With series.  Our Young Blogger-in-Residence Hannah Hodgson interviewed the fantastic Wayne Holloway-Smith, who will be reading on the 8th September at 11am with Dean Parkin.  You can get a ticket for Wayne’s reading here.

Wayne Holloway-Smith’s pocket book Beloved, in case you’ve been wondering was published by Donut Press in 2011.  He also gained a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Brunel University in 2015.

He won the Geoffrey Dearmer2016 prize, and his first collection Alarum was published by Bloodaxe in 2017.  John Challis reviewed Alarum on behalf of the Poetry School, and said ‘Alarum is enviably good…Hilarious and witty, it’s also terrifically sad, but wears its tragedy so lightly at first it’s hard to notice.’

 

HH: If you hadn’t become a poet, what do you think your career would’ve been?

WHS: I think I would have been the lead singer of The Strokes, or an ice cream man. Ha. In honesty, I don’t know if I can think about things as disconnected as that. I mean, most people I grew up with are either plumbers, carpenters, or else they work on building sites. My dad, in addition to being an asshole, was a builder and painter/decorator. The type of person I am now and what I do are both contingent upon people I meet outside of my own familiar environment, at different moments in my life – these people expose me to new ways of thinking about what I am allowed to do with myself. I reckon poetry ended up being a thing I loved and wanted to do as almost-accidentally as anything else someone might love and end up doing with their time.

HH: What is the strangest poetry event (scenario you have been in?)

WHS:  The best event I recently went to was a thing run by Inua Ellams and Theresa Lola, called RAP Party.  You walk into this dark and absolutely packed room, where everyone is drinking and dancing to a DJ playing hip hop.  Then, every so often, the music cuts, a spotlight hits a part of the room, and there’s a poet reading something interesting.  The particular month I attended, the theme was a specific Kanye West album, so each poet read a piece of work in relation to a track on that album (many seemed to critique the rapper in some way due to his recent behaviour).  The whole thing was so fresh, celebratory and inclusive.  It feels like these types of events are one way forward in terms of rejuvenating poetry readings.  No self-reverence.  No pretensions.  Just pluralism and loads of fun. 

The weirdest thing that ever happened was that two very drunk women had a massive fight right in front of a stage while I was reading.  I don’t know why.  

HH: What is the best thing that has happened to you because of poetry?

WHS: 1) I get to write, read and talk about what I enjoy the most, and get money for it to help support my family. 2) My personal politics is constantly being challenged and shaped by what I read. 3) I’ve met so many brilliant, intelligent and funny people, a lot of whom are now my best friends.

HH: If you could become someone else for a day, which poet would you choose?

WHS: Anne Carson or Mary Ruefle

HH: Do you have any tips for any new or young writers?

WHS: There’s no one way of writing.
Things happen differently for different people.
No one has the monopoly of what is ‘good’.  So you don’t have to listen to people who think they do.

HH: Thanks Wayne! If you’d like to read some of Wayne’s poetry, you can order his collection from Bloodaxe here, or head over to the Poetry Foundation or the Poetry Society to read some of his poems.

Opening Doors – Opportunities for Poets

 

Here at Kendal Poetry Festival headquarters, we have been plotting and planning – please read on for information about our new project – and spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested!

Opening Doors

Are you a writer who would like to attend the festival but can’t afford to financially?

We are running a pilot project this year where we are offering the chance for two writers to attend the 2018 festival.  Each writer will receive a Festival Pass which will enable them to attend any of the readings, discussions during the weekend, plus the Saturday open-mic.   Both writers will be hosted by a member of Brewery Poets in their home from Thursday 6th September to Sunday 9th September.

We would like to offer this opportunity to writers who would benefit from a weekend of immersion in poetry, but who would not be able to attend without some financial assistance.

Things to note:

  1. Travel is not included.
  2. Writers need to have their own transport or be physically able to walk. The festival venue is about a 40 minute walk from where you will be staying.
  3. You will have your own bedroom but will be sharing a bathroom. Bedrooms are at the top of the house, so you will need to be able to climb stairs.
  4. Your host will provide a help-yourself-breakfast, but you will need to provide your own lunch/dinner.  Tea, coffee and sandwich making facilities will be available.
  5. There is the opportunity to perform at our ‘Writing Summit’ Open Mic event on Thursday 6th September but this is not compulsory.

To apply please send an email to team@kendalpoetryfestival.co.uk with the following information:

  1. One document with your name, date of birth, email address and a short biography (100 words).
  2. A 200 word statement outlining why it would be difficult for you to attend without a bursary and how you would benefit from the opportunity.
  3. Contact details (Email) of a referee – someone who knows your work and knows you personally.
  4. Please include all of this information in one Microsoft Word document.

Deadline for submission is May 31st.  Decisions will be made by mid-June and we will reply by email to all applicants.

Kendal Poetry Festival, 7th-9th September 2018

It’s been a while, but the team behind Kendal Poetry Festival (ie Pauline and I) have quietly yet frantically been working away behind the scenes.  We’ve spent the last few months putting together grant applications to fund the 2018 Kendal Poetry Festival, and it is with great relief and excitement that we can say we have been successful and have secured full funding from the Arts Council and the Sir John Fisher Foundation for the third consecutive year.

At the top of this post you will see some photos – these  are of our new venue, the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.  After two successful and sold-out years at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery, we had to take the difficult decision to move the festival elsewhere, because our wonderful audiences kept expanding and there was no room for you all!

We are really delighted with our new venue though – the Castle Green Hotel is a 4 star hotel on the outskirts of Kendal (just about within walking distance if you like hills!) and 15 minutes away from the motorway.  There is a pub, bar and restaurant on-site, as well as a gym and swimming pool.  Most of the 2018 festival will take place at the hotel, with a few events taking place in town centre venues such as Kendal Library, the Waterside Cafe and Waterstones.  The hotel is fully accessible with hearing loop, and the larger rooms will allow us to accommodate our growing audience.

This year, we will have Festival Passes available – these are limited in number so keep an eye out here for when tickets and festival passes become available.  A Festival Pass will allow entry into our open mic session, our seven Main Readings and three Discussion sessions.  Extra things happening this year include two readings aimed at nursery and primary school children and a session which will involve having Afternoon Tea whilst listening to poetry!

The hotel have offered a 10% discount on their usual room rates for any festival goers – to take advantage of this special offer, please ring the hotel and quote ‘Kendal Poetry Festival’ to the reception team on 01539 734000.  This offer is detailed below

Friday – £126.00 single – £153.00 double occupancy
Saturday – £153.00 single- £180.00 double occupancy
Sunday – £126.00 single – £153.00 double occupancy

There are also other accommodation options available in Kendal – for a list of bed and breakfast options and hotels, you could have a look at http://www.bedandbreakfasts.co.uk/cumbria/kendal/