Archives For Poetry

'Old books' photo (c) 2011, Moyan Brenn - license: was recently reported that the Bible will be made available in almost all language groups by the year 2022 (Ted Bergman from the Summer Institute of Linguistics). Upon reading this, the mention of the year 2022 immediately piqued my interest on account of the fact that I am participating in this project about the year 2022. Given that this project centres around the libraryof Birmingham and libraries are about books, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to consider the Bible, the book that is widely regarded as ‘the book of all books,’ honing in on some of its literary styles and techniques that have shaped English language and culture today.

The Bible is mysterious in the sense that it has stood the test of time, it continues to be the best selling least read book year after year despite numerous historical attempts to destroy it. Religious controversy aside, the variety of literary means and methods make the bible interesting from an artistic standpoint as you can find various styles of poetry, drama not to mention stories of every genre under the sun.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic and Hebrew in particular is known to be a very powerful, dramatic and emotive language. When the King James Version of the bible was translated into English it did some interesting things for the development of the English language. It is no secret that the bible bore influence on many of William Shakespeare plays and of course Shakespeare is widely regarded to have shaped English Language and Literature.

Just to illustrate my point with a few examples, in English when describing a conversation, we would say simply say something like “And he said…” but the same thing expression in the Hebrew language would say something like “And he opened his mouth and spake, saying…” To give you another example, in English we would say something like “He got up to put on his coat and left.” In the Hebrew it would say something like “He arose, girded his loins and went forth.” Get my point? It all sounds much more dramatic and reading it keeps you on tenterhooks.

As we consider arts and culture in Birmingham and its progression in 10 years time, I think it’s important that we reflect on the foundations on which our creative expression is often built. In 2022, The Library of Birmingham will be that place where we can take the where it will be standard practice for visitors to draw on our heritage to help us make better decisions about our lives and our futures. When we consider where are coming from we will always gain insight into where we are going.


Sipping prosecco and pimms, indulging on fluffy iced cupcakes, and posing for photographs whilst standing in a room of admirable art isn’t my usual Thursday evening, but I could certainly get used to it. The launch party of Art in the Heart kicked off last week in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and I enjoyed it that much that I am now inspired to see all of their exhibitions that will be on display this summer.


Art in the Heart is celebrating the region’s world class art collections, across 23 leading West Midlands cultural attractions. In Birmingham venues include the IKON, the planetarium at Thinktank and RBSA Gallery in St Paul’s Square. The Discovery Season Festival at the Library of Birmingham is also part of Art in the Heart, along with Reference Works, a photography exhibition in the new library’s gallery. Other exhibitions have work on display by famous artists such as Rembrandt and Damien Hirst, and my personal favourite; Quentin Blake. You have to have a high regard for the man who brought the BFG to life.

The launch party opened with George Catlin’s American Indian portraits, on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until the 13th October. Catlin was a 19th Century American artist who followed Native American tribes and painted their portraits. The most interesting thing for me was that he wasn’t just an incredible artist, but he was also a writer and a performer. He even visited the UK with his portraits to tell his tale, touring the country and performing dances and re-enactments to support his art work.


George Catlin, Indian Portraits

For the 1800s, he was a well travelled man, and from the things to read in the art gallery, also that of a socialite: He spent a lot of time around Birmingham, visiting the newly restored Shakespeare Memorial room, housed in the new Library of Birmingham, meeting with Mr Cadbury, a stop at the then button factory at Snowhill, and he even partied with a local novelist in her home on Bennett’s Hill. Quite the lifestyle really, almost as glamorous as me attending an arts launch party.

Do try to check at least one of the exhibitions out, if Indian portraits aren’t for you, then there most definitely will still be something to intrigue on the impressive list of what’s on. Aside from Quentin Blake, I shall be gracing my presence at the Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival based at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

To find out more information on the many events and exciting exhibits, go to:


As you may know, my ideas for Birmingham in 2022 are focused around cultural integration. They explore the idea of arts and culture bringing about social unity, and allowing people the chance to stand up and confront the forces that really pose a threat to them. They are rather idealistic, but I also feel they are somewhat logical given the way the world is progressing. Anyway, I have posted below my short essay, and my attempt at poetry. Hopefully Alice’s work can breathe some more life into the pieces. Nonetheless, here are the latest drafts of them.

Continue Reading…

​Wanted: Up and Coming Writers, Bloggers, Future Forecasters and Creatives passionate about the creative future of Birmingham.

Are you aged between 16-24 yrs? Do you want to help generate alternative visions for the future of arts and culture in Birmingham? Contribute your ideas and ambitions into a strategy for the arts for the year 2022? Plus work as a team to create a professional-standard printed magazine-style brochure for the Discovery Festival of the New Library of Birmingham?

September 2013 sees the much-anticipated launch of the new Library of Birmingham: the largest public library in Europe. To celebrate the iconic building the Discovery Festival will see a host of cultural events, activities, projects and performances for residents of and visitors to Birmingham on the theme of Discovery.

We are using this unique opportunity to generate visions for the future of arts and culture in Birmingham for the year 2022, created, written and produced by young creatives, just like you.

Birmingham 2022 will provide a space for unique perspectives on the current and future cultural offer for young people in Birmingham, and have a wide reach and impact with young people across the city, through the distribution of 50,000 magazines from September 2013, and the ongoing digital presence on the Project 2022 blog throughout the Discovery Season from September-December 2013.

Workshops in journalism & magazine production plus trend forecasting and hosted focus groups with members of the visual arts, theatre, music, performance, literature, photography, fashion and design communities will make Birmingham 2022 both a digital social media project and editorial training ground for young creatives wishing to engage with Birmingham’s diverse cultural offer.

The core group of 20, 16-24 yr olds will produce and create all of the following:

• Content for a new website for young people by young people
• A real-time capsule, which will be placed in the new Library of Birmingham and unearthed in 10 years time…
• A professional standard print magazine-style brochure for the Library of Birmingham Discovery Festival with a distribution of 50,000.

What will you get?

• A unique personal development opportunity
• An opportunity to develop both your artistic and employment skills
• Careers development within the creative and cultural industries
• An opportunity to share your views with cultural organisations and other young people
• £50 to cover expenses
• To meet and work with industry folks and mentors

The brief is now live on IdeasTap and the deadline for applications is Friday 1st March 2013. To apply follow this link.

To apply, tell us in 100 words why you would like to take part and submit an example of a 200-500-word article or piece of media (video, animation, podcast) on a cultural happening in Birmingham, plus two ideas for further consideration. You MUST also support your application by uploading further examples of your work to your IdeasTap portfolio. ​

Not a member of IdeasTap? Sign up: It’s free and anyone can join.

​​The project session times will be fortnightly twilight from 5pm-8pm in Birmingham. There will be some weekend sessions and an intensive summer school in July; this is a long-term commitment until December 2013

We encourage applications from different creative disciplines such as Music, Arts & Culture, Theatre & Performance, Literature, Fashion & Photography. We’d also like to hear from Videographers, Illustrators and Media bods.

We will be inviting successful shortlisted applicants to a recruitment workshop on Thursday 7th March 2013 from 5pm-7pm at mac, Birmingham.

Birmingham 2022 is in partnership with IdeasTap, mac, Fused Magazine, The Library of Birmingham, Capsule and funded by Arts Council England.