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A new freelance life: updates on Bi+ Lines, the Poetry Translation Centre and much else

Hi world! Hope you are well. Just an update from me, long overdue for 2023.


As many of you will have seen, at the end of last year I got Arts Council England funding to run Bi+ Lines, a project for bi+ poets. That has been going amazingly well - the workshops were oversubscribed, the anthology received submissions from more than 800 people worldwide, it has been such a joy to meet bi+ people across the UK - and now I'm going to begin the process of reading the submissions to choose the poems that will go in the anthology, which will be published by fourteen poems. I would like to state for the record here that Ben Townley-Canning, who runs fourteen poems, is a dream to work with and I couldn't be more happy to be partnering with them. If you've submitted to the Bi+ Lines anthology - thank you! I'm hoping to let you know decisions by the start of Autumn, and hopefully we'll be able to publish and launch the book in Autumn too (she says, having not yet started reading the thousands of poems submitted...). You can also subscribe to the specific Bi+ Lines newsletter here and follow the project @bi_lines on Twitter and Instagram - there will be more ways for bi+ people to get involved and meet up over the summer and autumn.


In May, I also had another big change: I "left" The Poetry Society, where I've been running its Young Poets Network and Poets in Schools programmes since 2017. It was my first job, and honestly the dream job. But after nearly six years it's time to do something else, and I am so pleased to have started a new freelance job at the Poetry Translation Centre, another dream place to work. I'm their new Events Producer and I'll be running their 20th anniversary programme next year, co-producing events across England around translation, languages and poetry in partnership with local communities and literature organisations. The role really combines my two main interests (poetry and languages) so I couldn't be more pleased that this is my exciting next step.


However, you'll note the scare-quotes around "left" The Poetry Society - although I'm no longer employed there, I'm going to be staying on as a freelancer working on Young Poets Network and some other projects for the next few months, just a couple of days a week. It's time to start that portfolio career in earnest...


Those are the three main projects that I'm working on at the moment, but other bits of work I've done recently have included an exciting poetry commission for the Southbank Centre around David Bowie (well - mine was about his first wife Angie) to mark 50 years since the album Aladdin Sane, a zine-making workshop at Hong Kong International Literary Festival for International Women's Day, a workshop on in-betweenness and queering quantum physics for fourteen poems and Queer Circle, a Dead [Women] Poets Society séance at Sheaf Literary Festival with Charlotte Shevchenko-Knight and Safia Kahn, editing Elspeth Wilson's manuscript, facilitating more translation workshops for the Poetry Translation Centre (book here!), going on BBC Radio London and Sheffield to talk about my work as a poet and producer, performing for TOAST Poetry in Norwich with the amazing Caroline Bird, and for fourteen poems in London, and most importantly speaking to an accountant to get my taxes in order! My younger self would be suitably impressed.


Upcoming smaller projects include everything on the Events and Workshops page, as well as my first schools workshop as part of Dalloway Day for the Royal Society of Literature (we're going to look at Virginia Woolf's Orlando and constructions of the self!); I'm also very excited to be in Where Else, an anthology of Hong Kong poets; and there will be more exciting readings with the likes of Corrupted Poetry and Queer Britain, TBA. And no doubt more things! You know how to get in touch with me, via the contact form on my website, so please do email me if you're interested in working with me now that I'm officially swimming in the freelance seas.


P.S. If you're reading this and you're wondering how to be a freelance poet, may I direct you to Rachel Lewis's free newsletter that explores being a poet?

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