Women of Words

Hull's spoken word performance space with an all-female cast


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Women of Words on #IWD2021

On March 8th International Women’s Day 2021 we thought we’d give space to four fantastic women whose work inspires us. Each of these four northern women – the geographical distinction is of vital importance too – these women are, despite a global pandemic, successfully launching new collections.

The Oscillations by Kate Fox was released through Nine Arches Press, When I Think of My Body as a Horse by Wendy Pratt via the Poetry Business and Winner of the International Book and Pamphlet Competition (Judged by Imtiaz Dharker & Ian McMillan) Passerine by Kirsten Luckins was published in February by Bad Betty Press, and due to be launched in a few weeks time [Just in time for our 6th Birthday] Vitriol Works by Geneviève L. Walsh on Flapjack Press. (Click on Links to purchase and support independent publishers)

By now we have become accustomed to our poetry selves existing largely online, that book launches are viewed via Zoom and premiered on Youtube. What we lose in the lack of audience connection we can sometimes make up for in accessibility and reach. Audience numbers online can be pretty good as more and more people turn to poetry for solace and comfort and joy and escapism, from the harsh realities of what is hopefully a post-pandemic life, an entire year since the world of arts went dark.

With the release of each book, we asked Michelle Dee from the collective, to share a favourite poem and tell us why it resonates with her.

We were very fortunate to be able to hear from this fantastic collection The Oscillations when Kate joined us on Zoom last year where she debuted ‘What could be called communication‘ but the poem I’ve chosen is called Masks which speaks kindly about recognising and accepting all those different sides of ourselves, and how we still carry the child inside no matter what age.

Watch Kate Fox and Friends at The Oscillations Launch event here:

From Wendy Pratt’s when I Think of My Body as a Horse, jumping out at me straight away was poem The Circle of Sisters, it made me think about what it is to be an outsider, the wrong side of the rope and, more loosely, the different ways one can be othered: as Wendy says she felt by some of the mums after her daughter died. This is a powerful collection about how both the mind and the body experience trauma, grief and recovery.

Hear Wendy Pratt Read from When I Think of My Body as a Horse at Poetry Business Competition Winners 2021 Launch: (along with the three other winning authors)

The third author we have chosen to celebrate today is Kirsten Luckins. She also was a Zoom guest in 2020 where she kindly shared with us her plans for her new book Passerine, a curation of poems and letters to her departed friend Sophie.

The thing that immediately jumps out at me is the deceptively powerful repetition The clouds today are… each time you read them you feel grounded and comforted, yet simultaneously they have you looking upwards in anticipation of what is to come. I cannot recommend this collection highly enough, the language, the imagery, the feel of it is utterly transformative and not bleak as you might expect given the subject.

Watch Kirsten Luckins launch event for Passerine here:

As we said earlier just in time for our 6th Birthday Geneviève L. Walsh is releasing Vitriol Works which Joelle Taylor succinctly describes as ‘Poetry to make your fists itch‘.

Vitriol Works is a stinging cocktail of fierce urgent verse with all the niceties stripped away. I’ve chosen Salvation (is just a haircut away) for the cynicism that sings out and chimes so beautifully with my own dissatisfaction at those who breeze through life, finding everything comes to them so sodding easily

And you’ll find Geneviève hanging out with their mates at this launch event March 22nd… here look you’d be a bloody fool to miss it. https://www.facebook.com/events/464170464780425/

Mentioning Joelle Taylor I picked up ‘Songs My Enemy Taught Me’ at Kirsten’s recommendation, after we read and deconstructed ‘report card’ in her workshop How To Enjoy Poetry. Published back in 2017, lets give a shout out to Joelle while were at it. And marvel at the fact that some of these voices have and continue to infiltrate the classroom, giving hope that the next generation will do a better job than we did.


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Lost and Found / Streets Apart Double Bill

An online screen premiere of Lost and Found (November 2020) followed by Streets Apart (July 2020) on December 2nd

Lost and Found is a new film short by Hull-based collective Women of Words featuring, Cassandra Parkin, Louise Beech, Lynda Harrison and Michelle Dee, made on location at Little Wold Plantation, East Riding of Yorkshire. 

Lost and Found is a reaction to the isolating effects of the restrictions to movement and social gathering, felt by the collective during the pandemic. Taking a pre-arranged creative writing prompt the four writers reimagine what is possible within the six minute free write framework, and then share their responses with each other. While indoor events are curtailed, the film is a reminder that the outdoors can serve you well as a setting to inspire new work. 

“A prompt is only a starting point, it should never be a barrier” Cassandra Parkin

Lost and Found was kindly funded through the Grants to Arts initiative via City Arts, Hull City Council. Film by Sarah and Phil of Mollusc Films. 

Women of Words hope that their short film will be enjoyed by their regular monthly audience, whom they continue to miss during 2020, despite the welcome but never the same, switch to online WoW events. The collective invite individual writers, other creative collectives and performers to respond to the theme of ‘lost and found’ and encourage them to share their words online using the hashtag: #lostandfound2020 

Duration 10 mins approx. 

The online premiere of Lost and Found will also feature Streets Apart  

Streets Apart consists of Nine spoken word pieces written and performed by Cassandra Parkin, Louise Beech, Lynda Harrison and Michelle Dee. Working remotely with visual artist Anna Bean the collective have created a unique series of performances inspired by their experiences of lockdown. Edited by Anna Bean with original music by Ben Parkin, each performer appears within a subtle frame designed by the artist that reflect both character and content.  

Duration: 25 mins approx. 

How To Watch Go To:

(Attendees must be registered to view the film)

Headphones or external speakers advised to achieve the best sound reproduction to watch the films.  

(Women of Words ‘Streets Apart’ created during the first lockdown was previously screened as part of She Fest Digital 2020 : She Productions, East Riding Theatre) 

Follow us: Facebook.com/womenofwordshull 

Tweet @womenofwordshul using: #lostandfound2020 

Downloadable Film Stills


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Women of Words Streets Apart

Film Premiere:  ‘WoW Streets Apart’ Nine spoken word pieces written and performed by Cassandra Parkin, Louise Beech, Lynda Harrison and Michelle Dee.

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WoW Streets Apart edited by Anna Bean

Working remotely with visual artist Anna Bean, with original music by Ben Parkin, the collective have created a unique series of performances inspired by their experiences of lockdown. Edited by Anna Bean each performer appears within a subtle frame designed by the artist, that reflect both character and content.

Premiere Date: July 22nd. Time: 7pm. Programmed by She Productions for SheFest Digital 2020Please Book via EVENTBRITE HERE

Pay What You Feel event – your donation goes to the writers.

Headphones or external speakers advised to achieve the best sound reproduction.

Film Duration: 25 mins approx     

Women of Words are an acclaimed spoken-word collective creating work individually and as an ensemble. Through a residency at Hull Central Library they showcase the talents of women in and around the Hull region, giving each voice a space to perform. 5f2fa29f-32b6-40aa-992c-103f8a578269

https://www.facebook.com/womenofwordshull/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/womenofwordshul


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Update: Postponed events due to Covid 19

Lovely fellow WOW-ers: in the light of everything that’s happening, we’re sure you won’t be surprised that we’re cancelling our April and May Women Of Words events. These were due to take place on Wednesday 1st April and Wednesday 6th May.

Depending on the situation, we may well need to cancel our June event. We’ll make a decision by the middle of May at the latest.

Lots of love and good thoughts to you and your loved ones. We’re especially thinking of those of you who are ill, or who have loved ones who are ill. We all wish you a swift recovery.

This too shall pass. We’ll look forward to giving our planned April and May guests, Hannah and Chloe a fantastic Women Of Words welcome later in our calendar. Stay well and safe in the meantime.

We’ll see you on the other side xx

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April WoW with Hannah Lasagne

And we are into April with the beautiful and eloquent verse of Hannah Lasagne: ‘She has a stillness in her performance that is bewitching,’ says Michelle. April 1st with Hannah Lasagne at Hull Central Library, upstairs, first floor inside the James Reckitt Reading Room from 2pm – 4pm. Open mic, freewrite exercise, guest poet and some jolly hosting from the WoW collective.  Continue reading