Women in Space: Apples and Snakes ‘Deranged Poetesses’!

I was delighted to hear a few months back that I would be performing for the amazing spoken word organiser, Apples and Snakes, this July, representing female poets in the North.

The theme of space exploration and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings really interested me because I am fascinated by where science can meet the Arts. My pitch was based on the 64 women who have flown in space so far, from a vast range of countries, their achievements but also their uphill battles to get where they are!

The performance will combine projected visuals, poetry, FACTS and performance. I have never done a show which feels informative and arty, so I am excited to see how other poets tackle this.

I am definitely looking forward to talking about periods in space and how the first black woman (Mae Jemison) cultivated frogspawn in space and how the first British woman in space (Helen Sharman) was first a chocolate engineer!

Be sure to celebrate #space#exploration the #moonlandings and #poetry with us at @arcstockton on 20th – reserve your seat now, Pay What You Decide on the night!



I opened Leeds International Festival

…and it was amazing!

The event was called Sex Tapes and focused on breaking down the barriers and exploring healthy relationships, free of any labels like “slut-shaming”. The seven performers had all been chosen by two amazing judges, Heidi and Ian, both excellent performers in their own right.

It was the first time I have ever been paid for a spoken word appearance, although I have headlined or been a spotlighted poet at various different places such as Coventry Cathedral, Cannock and New Mills. It was a euphoric feeling to get paid industry-standard rates thanks to Eleanor Snare and her successful funding application from Leeds International Festival . It really brought home to me how life-changing funding can be to artists and how important.

The event for me was liberating and definitely maybe grow with confidence as a performer. It reminded me of when I used to get up on stage and perform the whole play from memory, often in a lead role! I still have no idea how I had the confidence on the memory to do that and this was the first time as a spoken word performer that I learnt my lines! Add to that, that my “lines” were about sex and I was on first in the evening when the audience definitely hadn’t had enough drinks to hear about female orgasms, but I still felt I had a really friendly and supportive reception from both performers and audience alike.

It’s such a small world in the literary community, especially poetry and I was heartened to find out that I already knew two of the performers, but I could also make friends with new poets!

It gave me a real buzz to do more spoken word performances and to demand the correct rate for my performances (as long as the spoken word night has a budget!)

Have you ever been paid to do a performance as a poet?

My microchap has a home with Ghost City Press!

Each year, Ghost City Press open submissions for micro-chapbooks on any theme, 15 pages long. These collections are free to download and our way of giving back to the literary community, although of course they encourage you to leave donations for the authors who have given their work for free.

I am excited to say that my microchap has been accepted this year- it is a prickly collection which touches on a new relationship, pregnancy (or lack of),the-thing-between-a-woman’s-legs and sexual assault. Light in tone it is an exploration of the wonderful and the horrible things which can occur alongside love. More news soon but until that point you can see what Ghost City Press do here.

‘Growing Pains’ has a publisher!

It feels amazing to be able to say that my collection ‘Growing Pains’, my largest collection of works so far, coming in at 42 poems, will be published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press. I’m so grateful to this fantastic Manchester publisher, publishing experimental work and many poets I admire myself.

I started writing ‘Growing Pains’ last March, and since then it has been offered a publishing contract from a publisher now closed down, it has been described as ‘something anyone could have written’ (ouch!) and was shortlisted by Nine Arches Press, Bad Betty Press and Broken Sleep Books. I feel confident that it’s my best work and is very rare as a writer to be able to say that!

The collection is very much an exploration of the value of a woman’s body and how I have felt as a ‘child – adult’, navigating ‘adult’ spaces away from home and not being able to speak about the sexual assault I suffered, in a work environment, but being very far away from friends and family to talk to outside of work as well. It’s about love as well and the community that I found again up north; the happiness that I now have with my partner.

Find out more about Knives Forks and Spoons Press here

I’ll give more details as they come! 🙂

Planet in Peril

The Fly on the Wall website server is down, through no fault of my own unfortunately, so while we wait on Wix, here are the submission details of competition Planet in Peril:

Competition ‘Planet in Peril’ urges artists and creatives to engage in climate change research and respond to it, presenting statistics and the stark realities in a new form.

“Planet in Peril”: an anthology for our time.

“There has never been a more critical moment in this planet’s history. Ecosystems and species stand upon the precipice of extinction and await human action. Spurred by the urgency of the situation, Fly on the Wall Press has teamed up with WWF, The Climate Coalition, Dr Michelle Cain (Oxford University), former Derbyshire Poet Laureate, Helen Mort, and wildlife photographer, Emily Gellard, to create an anthology for our future.

“Planet in Peril” will combine beautiful photography of endangered species and delicate ecosystems, with poetry designed to increase public awareness of the complex issues surrounding climate change. A competition for poetry and photography submissions is now open, with cash prizes and publication of the grabs. Photography and poetry alike will reflect the damage already done to our planet and the urgency of the call to action, while the stark realities will be factually laid out with the support of Dr Cain. Fly on the Wall Press will welcome poetry submissions which explore personal connections to the planet and reflections on the damage inflicted on it by humanity. Submissions close April 28th.”

Categories: For Poetry, Photography and Art

Adult: Per poem or artwork £5

Low wage/Student: Per poem or artwork £3

Under 18s: Free

How to enter:

Address the subject line of your email as ‘Planet in Peril/FirstName/LastName’ and attach poems as a word doc preferably, PDF if not. For art and photography, wetransfer may be best, or low res attachments of jpegs to the email for the judging stage. Please send emails to isabellekenyon@hotmail.co.uk

Please attach the transaction number provided by Paypal. The Paypal account to enter to is isabellekenyon@hotmail.co.uk .

If the number is not provided, I will be able to locate it using your name.

Your work will be judged by myself, WWF and The Climate Coalition, so it’s worth taking a look at what these organisations stand for first! We look forward to reading and viewing your work and feel free to get in contact with any questions you may have.

Link when server is active again: https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/planet-in-peril 

Poetry Reviews so far…and Saboteur Awards have opened!

I have been really enjoying writing poetry reviews of some fantastic books over the past year or so, and wanted to share some of my favourites! Reviewing takes time and care, so if you enjoy the reviews below, would you consider nominating me for best reviewer in the Saboteur Awards here? https://form.jotformeu.com/90645792222358

Flowers I should have thrown away yesterday by Elisa Matejeva (Neon Books)

The Dancing Girl by Michelle Diaz (London Grip)

‘Birnam Wood’ by José Manuel Cardona: A Review

‘Here Comes The Sun’ By Kate Lewington        (Webzine 2)          

Thirty Clouds (KFS Press)        (Webzine 2)          

Cathleen Conway’s 
All the Twists in the Tongue’.

The dream world of ‘Ghost Arson’, by Bart Smock

 Review – ‘Bloodlines’ By Hannah Brockbank (Indigo Dreams)

Hex’ by Jennie Farley: A poetry review (Indigo Dreams)

Ghosting for Beginners by Anna Saunders: A Review

by Ricky Ray

Circling For Gods 
Jo Burns

Review: Apple Water: Povel Panni by Raine Geoghegan

Crowd Surfing with God by Adrienne Novy

Just Let Me Have This by Heather Sweeney

 Review: “corvus’ burnt – wing love balm and cure all” F.M Francis

Our Wild Magic by
Amanda Linsmeier

Glimmerglass Girl and Tiny Poems for Gentle Hearts

Performing at Verve Festival 2019

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of taking to the Birmingham Rep Theatre’s stage for the performance of the Community Poets anthology, published by Verve Poetry Press.

Not only was the audience supportive and vibrant, the styles and topics of each performer under the theme of ‘community’ were diverse and continually contrasted the one before in interesting ways.

Highlights of the day included meeting poets who I otherwise only interact with online and the workshop with Anthony Anaxagorou, which taught me to really interrogate everything about my poetry!

The anthology ‘Closed Gates or Open Arms’, is available here
and my commended poem is below!

Community Commute

The train rumbles back into life;

the tin can bodies readjust

to lean into each other more gently,

united in their delayed morning commute,

their grumbles soft with sleep.

Off the train, the little girl is bursting,

crossing her legs, blowing pufferfish- cheeks,

but her Mum finds pennies, pennies, and no twenty pence.

Nonplussed, a businessman holds out the coin, sailing the ticket barrier,

with an elderly passenger’s bags.

It’s a big city to fill, to save

with selflessness

battling pay cuts and tears

but in snatched moments I watch kindness

and it is enough

to hold us together.