Archives for posts with tag: Kirsten Luckins

The Stanza 001

Still buzzing from last night at The Chillingham in Heaton. Poets Harry Gallagher

20150116_7073 and Mandy Maxwell

20150116_7081have started a new spoken word evening every month at The Chilly. It’ s called The Stanza and I was one of three poets invited to perform.


I shared the stage with poets David O’Hanlon

20150116_7107 and Catherine Ayres.20150116_7218

I know David but it was the first time Catherine and I had met. Great poets. Authentic, enjoyable performances.

There were also open mic slots and I enjoyed seeing “big names” on the scene like

20150116_7201Jenni “Jibba Jabba” Pascoe,

20150116_7094Kirsten “Apples and Snakes” Luckins

20150116_7195and Jane Burn rub shoulders with newcomers including my cousin Ross Punton.


The audience was brilliant: receptive, interested and engaged. I got a “whoop” after performing my haiku. That was a first….

There were free poetry books courtesy of Borderline Books, the organisation that gives books to the bookless and music from Renata and Trev.

All in all a great night. Next one is Thursday February 19th. Entry: only £2.



Pear flavoured marshmallows from Gareth James, the chocolatier in Tynemouth were sampled during this morning’s Poetry with Friends session at Whitley Bay Library. The jury is still out on the mallows (sorry Gareth) but we love your chocolates and hot drinks!

gareth james

The theme of today’s session was Otherness. It was a tough one but we managed to chat about:

I’m Nobody! Who Are you by Emily Dickinson

Discipline by George Herbert

I Would Like to be a dot in a painting by Miro by Moniza Alvi

The Grey Eye by Martin Figura

The Mystery of Pain by Emily Dickinson

Death by George Herbert

Every Day Life by Svetislav Stefanovich

To my Master in Zen by James Kirkup

The Quest for Tropical Paradise by Sheree Mack

Night by William Blake

Full Walnut Moon by Jen Hadfield

Corpse by Kirstin Luckins

What an interesting couple of hours!

The next Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay is on November 13th. Come and join us. Visit for more info.



 The final weekend of Mima’s Louise Bourgeois retrospective is celebrated tomorrow, Saturday 11th October by North East women poets.

Local poets in collaboration with local theatre company Precious Cargo have devised a performance piece which will take place in Mima, Centre Square, Middlesbrough, TS1 2AZ.

louise b

Spoken word star Sophia Blackwell, Tynemouth’s very own Sheree Mack plus spoken word collective,  Tees Women Poets will perform at 2pm and 3pm.

For more information visit


Poetry & Music at the Coast this weekend

Free as a Bard returns to Whitley Bay’s Jam Jar Cinema this Sunday 28th September with poets Ellen Phethean and Kirsten Luckins plus musician Robby Thinman.

Free as a Bard (or FaaB) brings together the best, most accessible poets and musicians from the North East and beyond, places them in the original and convivial setting of the Jam Jar Cinema bar and lets the evening do the rest.

I help organise FaaB and Sunday’s gig will be our third Jam Jar event. The previous two sold out so please buy your tickets in advance online or in person at the cinema on Park Avenue from Wednesday to Saturday.

Tickets £5. Event starts 7.30pm.

Here are our performers….


Ellen Phethean, a founder member of The Poetry Virgins, is a writer and editor.

Wall (Smokestack Books, 2007), a novel in poems, won joint first prize in a Crossover Novel competition in 2004.

Her first collection, Breath (Flambard, 2009), was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award 2010.

Her second collection, Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman was published this year by Red Squirrel Press.

Ellen runs workshops and teaches Creative Writing. Her website is


Kirsten Luckins is a poet and performer based in Hartlepool.

She spent the summer touring her first spoken word show The Moon Cannot Be Stolen around the region and at the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show was runner-up in the Saboteur Awards 2014.

She is North East programme co-ordinator for performance poetry organisation, Apples and Snakes. She blogs

thin man

Robby Thinman has been beavering away trying to learn music in anonymity around Tyneside for decades.

He played guitar in several bands and finally drums in Simon Todd’s band playing good and original material.

Solo, Thinman has been traversing the region’s open mics and jams for the last few years inflicting “songs” on the general public
with his Dylanesque voice.

Free fresh fruit and a literary raffle too!


Yesterday I caught the last night at The Customs House, South Shields of Kirsten Luckins’ touring….what to call it? Poetic one woman play, spoken musical, acted stanzas?

I’m struggling to find the right words because The Moon Cannot Be Stolen is so fresh, so thought-provoking, so witty, so clever, so touching.

Kirsten is the North East co-ordinator for Apples & Snakes and if it wasn’t for her work in that role, I wouldn’t be out and about sharing my poems with audiences.

She has a way of coaxing strong, authentic performances out of wee timorous poets clutching their files of poetry. I know because I was one of them.

I am so pleased she is sharing her amazing work with more and more audiences. She is a powerful, inspiring performer.

I hope this short Northern tour is not the end of the line for The Moon Cannot Be Stolen.

Check out the show’s blog for more info

kirsten moon

The internet’s a depressing place filled with ill-considered thoughts, extremist views, trolls and online bullies with their backs to the camera. Do you really like that comment on Facebook? Are you friends in real life as well as online? You follow that person on Twitter but do you care about what happens to them? Trending now…nonsense…

But the internet is also a place to find support and true friendship. Just ask young gays, emerging transsexuals and (‘m not being trite, here) fledgling poets. All three groups are in the process of accepting the reality of their identity and need to find others who share their problems as well as their passions.

When I returned to the North East five years ago, I rediscovered my poetic muse. I had always carried her with me. She came to University then London and Cambridge with me but she was folded up inside a box.

In summer 2009 she’d had enough of watching me. She needed to reconnect with me. In August 2009 she wrapped herself around me and helped  me make sense of grief, loss and of life. She has never left me since. She is a good friend. She doesn’t “do” Facebook or Twitter.


Rachel Cochrane and Kirsten Luckins do Facebook, Twitter, they write blogs and…they support emerging poets and writers. Rachel’s FANTASTIC online audio archive has been an outlet for my work. Rachel’s about to launch a new website and I look forward to reading, seeing and hearing her future work.

Kirsten Luckins is the North East co-ordinator of Apples and Snakes. She has supported me in my journey from page to off-page performance poet. She is also an amazing poet. Her show The Moon Cannot Be Stolen is currently touring the North East. Next one is Hexham on Tuesday then Saturday 7 June, The Old School House, Leyburn, Thursday 12 June, Empty Shop, Durham and finally Friday 13 June, Customs House, South Shields



All hail true friendship…and full fathom five female creativity.

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