Yes, Christmas still hasn’t happened yet, New Year’s resolutions have not yet been broken, the goose is still very much getting fat. But now is the perfect time to note a date in the diary for four outstanding poetry events that will take place at The Old Fire Station in January 2014. We shall present to you an un-rhyming couplet of exciting competitions, and a hermeneutical cacophony of explorative poetic evenings, placed on the very jagged prongs of cutting edge poetic practice today.

Competitions and Non-Competitions

Anti Slam main logoOn the 23rd January we welcome a quirkily entertaining contest in which the worst poet wins. Enter, The Anti-Slam!!! Pop along to listen to some of the UK’s best poets actively attempting to trip, slip and hilariously fail. Completely going against the grain of the trendy poetry slam, The Anti-Slam turns this on its head, providing a rare chance of seeing creative types trying to be terrible. With poets this good, being this bad, it’s going to be awesome. Check out The Anti-Slam page for more info:

On a rather different note, 28th January sees the holding of the county contest of the nationwide Poetry by Heart competition. Launched by Sir Andrew Motion in December 2012 as poetry-by-heart-logo editan initiative of the Poetry Archive (, it is now in its second year. Students from schools and colleges will compete at The Old Fire Station for a place in the prestigious regional and national finals, which will take place in March 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Come and see some budding future poets rend their selections from over 600 years of our national literary heritage.

Explorations of Human Life

Poetry of Madness ImageThe Poetry of Madness is a thrilling venture with performance poets Mark Gwynne-Jones, Sam Berkson and Zena Edwards at the forefront, opposing the ‘tyrnany of the sane’, and prompting questions as to what mental illness is and how and why it affects us. Designed to stimulate and provoke discussion and thought, the performance will see the various performance styles of these three poets move and interact in a thrilling mix. This all happens on 25th January. You can watch some excellent taster videos by clicking the links below. And check out the website of The Poetry of Madness to see the startling and refreshing work these guys are doing:

Watch Mark Gwynne-Jones performing around the British Library –
And check out Sam Berkson’s querying poem here –

Further adventures into the human psyche will be guided by the second national tour of Being Human, live at The Old Fire Station on 31st January. Midland Creative Being HumanProjects in association with the Belgrade Theatre and Bloodaxe Books brings a dramatic performance of 35 poems from around the world, acted, spoken, lived, by three top notch performers. Poems about love & loss, fear & longing, hurt & wonder; essentially about being human, will be performed alongside music, projections, props and imagery to create a charming and creative afternoon. Get more information by visiting their page:

All in all then, an exciting, introspective end to the month of January to facilitate new thoughts and reflections in the New Year. From the initial forays into performance, to hardened stage-veterans, a wealth of poetic insight will be on show at the Old Fire Station in January 2014.

Head to the website if you’ve been temped to come and see one (or all!) of the shows…