Wednesday 28 November 2012

The Albert Poets

Welcome to my interview with Stephanie Bowgett from The Albert Poets.


Hello Stephanie.  Can you tell us a bit about your writing group?
We are called The Albert Poets and have been in existence since December 2012. We hold a writing workshop in the Albert Pub, Victoria Lane, Huddersfield every Monday evening (19.15 – 21.15 ish). Attendees who wish to take it in turn to lead the session. Everyone brings 6-10 copies of their poem which they read to the group who then discuss it. The group also hosts a reading on the second Thursday of each month featuring four invited readers each time. Each reader reads for 15-20 minutes with a 15 minute break between. Both events are free of charge and our writers (a mix of established and new writers) are not paid.
How many members on average does your group have?
The writing group has a core membership of 15-20 writers and is usually attended by 6-8, nobody goes every week and the group is open to anybody so people drift in and out, but there is a group of about eight writers who are very regular attendees The readings typically attract between 20 and 30 people – again no one comes to them all and we have a mailing list of about 150. 
Who are you and what is your role within the group?
I am one of the founder members and presently take responsibility for coordinating the sessions.
What have been some of your most popular/successful activities?
The readings have achieved a national reputation and we are lucky to have received support from many wonderful writers who attract big audiences.
What genres do the members of your group write?
Almost exclusively poetry, but occasionally short prose passages. The styles of writing are very diverse and the group is open to a wide range of styles and philosophy.
Have you ever written collectively as a group, such as producing an anthology?
For the first four years we produced anthologies featuring all the poets who had read for us. “First Draft”, “Re-draft”, “Over Draft” and “Final Draft”. We are considering reviving this tradition if we can find funding.
What kind of support does your writing group provide for its writers?
Several of the “regulars” are published poets and/or tutors or teachers of writing from Universities to Infant schools and many are published poets. I can only really talk about the support that I get from the group which is an incentive to write regularly, several informed, but objective critiques on my work and the huge inspiration and privilege of detailed insights into how other people write.
Where do you get your ideas/writing prompts from?
At the moment we are not doing writing exercises, but are considering a running a short series of workshops with writing activities. Because of the make-up of the group, we have run and attended many such sessions over the years, so there is no shortage of ideas. Writing prompts, in my experience usually come from places where you least expect them.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
Show don’t tell.
What is the best piece of writing advice you give?
Read widely and take risks.
Do you have guest speakers at your group?
No. at the moment we are entirely unfunded.
Does your writing group have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook?
We have a Twitter @TheAlbertPoets, and we're on Facebook.
How would someone go about joining your writing group?
By emailing me or just turning up at the pub!
Thank you very much, Stephanie.

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