Daily Writing Prompts

After a pretty reinvigorating time on the first ever Arvon Foundation Queer Poetry course last week, tutored by Caroline Bird and Richard Scott, I’m starting a little project on here to give myself and you a prompt every day to develop a regular writing practice. These will be mostly thinking about poetry writing but of course, you can use them however you like. The focus will be on taking inspiration from Queer and Feminist history, aiming to include and represent from lots of different places and cultures around the world. To be clear, I don’t mean I’ll be encouraging cultural appropriation, but I will be making sure the prompts don’t assume Whiteness or European-American-ness. I am also really open to anyone using these prompts bringing their own into the mix and adding to the pot – share in the comments if you’d like.

I also invite you to add the ingredient of form to your responses – if I get stuck I find forms with rules can help by giving a kind of scaffold to climb. I do this by rolling a dice and giving each number a corresponding poetic form, eg 1=sonnet, 2=free, 3=terza rima, 4=found, 5=couplets, 6=concrete. If you have other mother tongues that bring their own poetic or lyrical forms, I would love to hear about those and if/how you use them.

Follow the tag #DailyWritingPrompt here to get going – the posts should all show up below. Feel free to share your writing in the comments (bearing in mind some competitions don’t like poems that have appeared online – if you ever want me to take down something you’ve posted, just ask).

In the centre is the sun, and around it is a big halo of light through hazey sky, a pale rainbow circle.

DWP: August 11

On August 11 1942, actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr and her collaborator, composer George Antheil, received their patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that has since provided the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi. Hedy had fled both her country and her marriage in 1937, escaping from Vienna to Paris, … Continue reading DWP: August 11

A mug on a windowsill. The wall and window is comepltely covered in brown paper which has been scribbled all over. The mug has also been drawn on the whole picture is covered in doodling lines and marks.

DWP: August 10

Yesterday was Tove Jansson’s birthday, so today’s prompt celebrates her life and love. Jansson based many of her Moomin characters on real people: Too-ticky is inspired by her long-term girlfriend, Snufkin is based on an ex-boyfriend, and an early drawing of what became Moomintroll started as an insulting portrayal of Kant. I’ve also been re-reading … Continue reading DWP: August 10

A handwritten poem on a piece of paper that has been washed, crumpled, ripped and pieced back together.

DWP: August 9

One of the books I’m reading at the moment is Opacity-Minority-Improvisation, by Anna T. The book is looking at queer slangs from around the world, like Polari, and how they construct a kind of linguistic closet for the users. The author often writes in Greek without translating, and leaves gaps in the text when there … Continue reading DWP: August 9

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The History Bois: A Drag King Take-Over

May 3-7 at The Spire, St Marks Chapel, Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5JN

Created with drag king and artist E.M. Parry, this week-long take-over of the Spire is an exploration of masculinity through the ages, combining exhibition, live art, workshops and a two-night drag king cabaret.

The History Bois: Adventures in Drag King time-travel

May 6 & 7, 7:30-11pm

The Bois are back in time! Come and play with the space-time-gender continuum at this epic Drag King cabaret. As part of the History Bois Drag King take-over of The Spire, we bring you Adventures in Drag King Time-Travel: two nights of delicious historically-themed cabaret performed by a succession of legendary kings time-travelling direct to Brighton Fringe 2020, bringing you a queer crash-course in masculinity as performed through the ages. Whether you like your manhood ruff-and-ready, Boi-Georgian, sweet-as-funk 70s style or post-apocalyptic robo-camp, the Bois have one hell of a history lesson lined up for you…

The History Bois: Meeting the Unruly Dead

May 4 & 5, afternoon / evening workshops

Part of the History Bois Drag King take-over of The Spire, these workshops run by Drag King and artist SL Grange are for folks wanting to connect with their queer tr/ancestors. Using writing, drawing and performative processes, we’ll create our own rituals and art to uncover and honour lost queer hero/ines. If you already have a historical figure in mind that you want to work with, please bring any research along. Otherwise, there’ll be a range of folks to explore at the workshop. Basic art materials provided, or bring your own if you already have a creative practice you’d like to incorporate.

The History Bois: We Elizabethans

May 3-7, 10-5

An exhibition of visual and live artwork by E.M. Parry, as part of The History Bois drag king takeover, using costume, scenography and performance to stage dialogues with past and future, tracking queer and trans embodiments in the negative spaces of the historical archive.

Singing Our Lives 2018

After last year’s amazing project working with community choir groups and refugees, I was back on the Together Productions team for a second go. This time we wrote one new song – with 150 people! The resulting piece is called Sembo! and is a journey from isolation and fear, through to a united call for justice. I facilitated one big workshop using Open Space Technology, where we gathered themes, fragments of text & music and some key images. This was followed up by a smaller writing workshop where we focussed on the two main themes that had emerged and created more written material, which I took away and curated into the final libretto.

Bringing together the Mixed Up Chorus, Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus, Freedom From Torture, Woven Gold, Stile Antico, students from Guildhall School and spoken word artist Zena Edwards, with Phelim McDermott as director and Mike Roberts as composer, we cooked up quite a storm. The gala performance took place on July 1 at Milton Court, in front of a few hundred enthusiastic folk, and raised money for Freedom From Torture and Woven Gold.

 

 

3FF – Singing Our Lives

I’ve been working with interfaith dialogue organisation 3FF and their resident choir – the Mixed Up Chorus – to create a new song cycle. Alongside composer Mike Roberts, we ran a series of workshops with the choir members, immigrant parents from the local primary school, and members of Freedom From Tortures choir. We explored the groups experiences of migration and refuge, and collaboratively developed words and music resulting in 3 new songs.

The Mixed Up Chorus performed the pieces in July 2017. BBC Radio 4 were there to record the songs and talk to some of the participants. You can hear the article here, with one of our song-cycle pieces – Prayer For Tomorrow – in the background: 

Writing on the Walls

A mark-making workshop for up to 25 participants. Working with graphite, our bodies and our impulses to quieten our inner critics and make uninhibited marks freed from the constraints of the page. We work in physical conversation with each other; listening, dreaming and improvising together to help something new emerge. An artwork, a story, a joyful mess.