MONDAY 08/06/15  FROM 7.30pm    RHYME AND REAL ALE

Affectionately known as RARA, this come one come all open mic event at the Mackintosh Sports Club in Roath offers you an eclectic range of poets, storytellers and spoken word performers for FREE. If you have something you can do in five minutes and want to share it with a welcoming audience come along and do so, it’s FREE! Beer and other beverages NOT FREE. Second Monday, every month, RARA!!! This month, your hosts will be Fran Smith and Bridget Leggy Tanner…

WEDNESDAY  10/06/15 FROM 7.30pm   WHAT YA GOT?

As it says on the pic, second and fourth Wednesday of every month, come and show organiser Owain and the audience at Ten Feet Tall what you do! Turning up early is recommended to ensure all the slots aren’t snapped up before you get there, and I will be nabbing one myself to read The Coward, a story poem of mine that is coming out for Kindle next Monday Expect a variety of performance styles and experiences if you come to show what ya got, or simply come to see what the performers have got! Upstairs at Ten Feet Stall, the bit with the stage in it, entry to watch or perform is FREEEEE!!!,

FRIDAY 12/06/15  8.00pm  LAST MIC STANDING @ A Shot in the Dark 

The last heat, and the heat is on at A Shot in the Dark where you can eat, drink, and be entertained as musicians, comedians and poets offer themselves up for your perusal and your vote. One pound entry to the event, way more than a hundred pennies worth of entertainment! Um, please vote for me? ; -)

SUNDAY 14/06/15  7.30 pm HEARTSPOKEN (four) with special guest CANDY ROYALLE 

Heartspoken will be happening for the fourth time at Kuku Club at the Park Plaza Hotel. BUT WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR FIVE POUNDS IF YOU VENTURE OUT ON SUNDY EVENING?

Mab Jones presents, and hosts a night of words delivered from the heart, be they happy, sad, amused, enraged, or anything else they could be. Sign up to take part in the open mic to get a pound off the entry fee or pay the whole fiver and simply enjoy the variety of spoken word voices and styles you will encounter. If you have a heart, bring it along, pal, hear words beating fast  and Candy Royalle!!

my Website

Yet Another Busy Bleary Eyed Blog…

Bit bleary eyed after bringing spoken word/comic verse/rap parody type stuff to The Coach, a Bridgend pub with an open mic night, last Thursday of each month. Since it was mostly music I think people were a bit bemused at first but then they got into it, joining in with the Amen! part of Priestly Boys and the chorus of The Booty Song.

Yesterday morning, barely awake, got a text from Mab Jones asking if I would join her to go on Radio Cardiff to talk of performance poetry and spoken word, in general terms and in terms of upcoming events.Here’s a photo from the studio, featuring a big smile from Mab and me at my most alert…

My first time on the radio ever, recited some rhymes as did Mab and we talked of performance poetry and upcoming events as well as Mab plugging the Letter to an Unknown Soldier project. I had intended to submit a letter anyway, but have to make sure I do after saying I will during this hour that gave me a small amount of respect for presenters (keeping talking to avoid dead air is harder than it seems and I don’t claim to have knocked it out of the park)

And now, a list of upcoming events:

Photo: And this is what the poster looks like with the correct relevant information on it....


August 11th from about 7.30pm RHYME AND REAL ALE Julie Pritchard’s come one, come all, no favouritism free open mic event at The Mackintosh Sports Club, Keppoch Street Cardiff reaches it’s first anniversary. An anthology of RARA poets work will be launched and will be for sale. First priority for proceeds is for RARA to have it’s own PA equipment to ease the pressure on poor Dave Daggers (who doesn’t know at this point the booklet has a  cover image, by me using two photos Dave took at diffrerent RARA nights. The other cover image was supplied by Bex Marriott. RARA is held second Monday of every month

August 14th WORD4WORD a National Theatre Wales TEAM event of verse and spoken word hosted by Frank Thomas. Not open mic but much variety of wordiness will be on show, including mine. Prizes are up for grabs for the performers, one to be decided by the organisers, the other, the audience prize, well come and vote for whoever best floats your boat!

August 23-25 HUB FESTIVAL An annual fixture in Cardiiff, featuring a shedload of thingsto see and b at, including MEGAVERSE,a spoken word event I am curating and hosting and currently putting together a performer list for. August 24, Cardiff Fashion Quarter 6-8pm, be there or be elsewhere!

August 29th last Friday of the Month means another Evening of Spoken Indulgence at the Hydra Bookshop in Bristol. Host Matt Duggan presents a variety of literary and literally spoken word. Then Sept 19th during the Bristol Poetry Festival a special event at the Hydra will see the launch of HYDRAZINE, an anthology of material by those who have read at Matt’s events, including some words from me

September 8th at RHYME and REAL ALE the Roath Writers group will be launching their second anthology of work by group members, edited by Cardiff writing mover and shaker Christina Thatcher, who will be first half guest host at RARA to give regular RARA ears and any other that come along a treat. Christina will introduce contributors to the Roath Writers group anthology, who will share their words, and I and you can then buy the anthology 🙂 Then Julie Pritchard will host the second half to complete the evening with a variety of styles of open mic performance.

Now I have to rush off to a voluntary work meeting. Laters, taters!




Disturbance Review

REVIEW by Will Ford (Published online by New Welsh Review, print version subscription details below)

NWR Issue 102


by Ivy Alvarez


Disturbance is a precisely constructed, unflinchingly observant, heartbreaking and terrifying novel of poems, a powerfully delivered and devastating firestorm of words. It portrays the build-up to and fallout from the murderous and suicidal conclusion to family life. This family has been bruised by domestic abuse, broken by divorce and ultimately obliterated by the words ‘you can’t keep my children from me… they’re mine’.

Beginning at the inquest into these tragic central events, Ivy Alvarez presents a story told in non-chronological kaleidoscopic fragments of minute detail and raw emotion. These include an emergency services operator helplessly hearing screams and shotgun blasts down the telephone line; a grandmother thinking of buying a carpet to cover bloodstains; the mistress of the murderer suffering scapegoat-hungry media coverage; Jane, scrabbling in vain to hide from a long feared fate, and Tony, a violent control freak, blaming his victims for his actions.

Over the course of forty-four poems, the reader is taken forwards and backwards in time, each poem helping to construct the wider story and often simultaneously offering a snapshot portrait of the principal character in their own words. This results in a provocative array of stylistic approaches, including a dark appropriation of the Ladybird Readers: ‘See Jane run. Watch Dick run. Watch Dick chase Jane. Watch Dick chase / Jane through their house. Dick has a gun. Run Jane run.’

Within this ‘verse novel’, Alvarez shows admirable artistic control and a remarkable capacity for empathy. She has crafted a range of voices that, even in the briefest of appearances, reveal another facet of the wider narrative and another example of just how far the hurtful consequences of terrible acts can travel. Telling the story in verse form creates just enough distance to prevent Disturbance becoming too emotionally overwhelming to read. This method also reveals a terrible beauty within the blackest shadows of human experience.

Disturbance is a fully ‘adult’ book which may require some readers to look themselves in the eye and ask if they would have acted differently from the neighbour who didn’t want to get involved or the policemen who didn’t rush towards the sound of a shot. So authentically self-protective are some of the characters that a childlike feeling can descend on the reader seeking the need for a hero.

Among the visceral responses Disturbance provokes is a sense of helplessness. In this harsh reality, apparently definitive signs of a tragedy waiting to happen become visible only in hindsight. Wisely, then, Alvarez does not seek the moral high ground of pointing out what people should have done or said. Rather, we are offered authentically painted human responses to the kind of events most of us will be lucky enough never to be caught up in. Alvarez does not seek to suggest how to prevent these kind of horrors. As comforting as it might be to tell ourselves otherwise, such terrible acts occur because one person chooses to commit them. Tony’s choice is his alone, whatever means he uses to justifying himself:

Better to be a brute
than be far less.

So common is the real-life scenario of a divorced father saying ‘You can’t keep my children from me’ that Disturbance could be justified solely as a humane parable and warning about the dark places such a statement may lead. But the skill and imagination with which Alvarez approaches her subject matter from so many perspectives also makes the book an adventure for the mind. This is achieved without ever engendering the feeling that it is exploitative of suffering, and Alvarez leaves plenty of room for readers to bring their own imaginations into play.

Each reader will have their own individual response, just as Alvarez’ characters react individually to these terrible events. The timeless value of storytelling is that it can transport us into the lives, experiences and minds of others, and hold up a mirror to our assumptions and moral certainties. Alvarez has taken a long, courageous look into such a mirror. The reflection we see may bring us close to weeping for humanity. But not to giving up on it.



Attended the Cardiff Launch of Disturbance by Ivy Alvarez last night to hear readings and take part in the open mic with a piece I wrote yesterday (see below)

Amazon link for Ivy’s book (which I have written a review for and will blog when it is published by New Welsh Review)   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Disturbance-Ivy-Alvarez/dp/1781720878/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386329482&sr=1-1&keywords=disturbance


My piece read at the Chapter event

The Spirit of Human Endeavour

Put Jack
Back in his box
Close the lid
And swing
The hook across
To where it meets
The loop that keeps
Jack aware of
Who’s the boss.

Smaller than
He wants to be
Crouching inside
Less cubic feet
Than he feels
That he deserves

How do they dare?
Such bloody nerve
I’ll show them all
See if I don’t
I know I will
They think I won’t
But this coiled spring
Inside of me
Wont be kept down

It strains and strains
It must extend
It will not be
Denied my “friends”
You will regret
You’ll have no choice
I’ll box your ears
With my freed voice

I’ll demand
And then I’ll take
The satisfaction
For which I ache
While you hold me
In this tin
More cramped
Than any
Wooden coffin
That men lie in

I’ll push
I’ll stand

I‘m free…

Then the giant hand
Began to descend
Pushed on Jack’s head
And yet again
The spring inside
Became compressed
Forced down and down
To fill his chest
To the extent
That breath came hard
And thoughts turned black
As his card
Was marked anew
In Fate’s favour

You tasted free air
But did not savour
That which is not
Yours to have
Nice try
But no cigar
Mon Brave

I put you back
In your box
Closed the lid
And swung the hook across
To where it meets the loop
That keeps you aware
I am the boss

So you can take your tuppenny Rice
And you can eat your treacle
That’s the only food you’ll ever get
You little weasel

In the dark Jack
Simmered and seethed
Smaller than
He wants to be
Crouching inside
Less cubic feet
Than he feels
That he deserves

How do they dare?
Such bloody nerve
I’ll show them all
See if I don’t
I know I will
They think I won’t
But this coiled spring
Inside of me
Will not be kept down