Poet finds herself gainfully employed and takes a trip to Dreamland

Fresh from the Canterbury Poetry Slam! What a fab evening! and congratulations to Canterbury Festival,East Kent Live Lit. Apples and Snakes and of course the poets! Zombies, Mannequins, Dads on Facebook, Black Identity and whatevers from Brixton were only some of the themes the audience were treated to last Saturday night. I can breathe easy now, POETRY HAS ARRIVED! Keep checking this space for stuff in Thanet too from next year!

October, wo! what a month. Both Black History Month and National Poetry Day. Across the UK poetry stuff, which means some poets were gainfully employed. For all those of you who have 'proper jobs', you won't believe the life some of us lead! The life of a poet is an anxious and variable one. You might be out in the wilderness for months with nothing but cacti to eat, or shut up in your poet gaff chewing meaningfully on pencils and staring out across the rooftops waiting for that whistle across the hill or that email. Following on from taking Sixty Poems for Haiti to London and Canterbury Festival I have been happily leprechauning across the land. Black History Month is celebrated in various forms across the land from Martin Luther King to the rapidly growing body of Black Literature in this country. Black as a term can be elastic, stretching to incorporate writers that are not defined by colour alone, but linked by history, place and identity. So Asian writers fit into that category and those of mixed heritage, like me. Hence the shape-shifting Anansi, that folk-tale trickster figure who is my alter-ego, and a way of introducing Caribbean writing to children.  I have a body of poems for children called Anansi meets Miss Muffet in which I use nursery rhymes to bring the two worlds of the Caribbean and Britain together. Anansi, Lime Green Bunny (nickname Bun Buns), and I boarded the bus to Barham Primary School on behalf on WEDG (World Education Development Group) to offer poems, songs and hopefully inspiration to 60 children across the year group. Interactive singing and dancing was encouraged. Next stop was Whitstable's Horsebridge Centre on a sunny Sunday afternoon where children aged from 5-9 listened to poems and wrote their own on spider cards. Then onto Margate where Margate's Quartet Community and the Dreamland Trust had organised and invited me to run a Family Creative Day to celebrate Margate's lost Dreamland.  About 20 children and adults turned up to share memories, thoughts and ideas of Dreamland, Margate, and funfairs, with some as young as five-year old Lily-Mae sharing her memories of a funfair visit to us all! The children and adults took part in drama, writing and designing a postcard, as well as being interviewed by Thanet College students for a film they were making for Thanet Council.The Dreamland Trust have unveiled their plans for the re-opening of Dreamland which is due to happen in 2012, with a mixture of traditional and contemporary funfair rides, as well as the inclusion of a performance stage. It all looks very exciting, and as someone who came to live in Thanet in the early seventies, I have a range of memories of both Dreamland and Margate as a lively, thriving place, very different to some present aspects. There was the summer I bopped to the Radio I Roadshow on Margate beach, and the wild nights in clubs I shall not name! There was the waltzer and candyfloss, and kisses on the big wheel and Hawkwind! And tea in the gallery overlooking the panoramic sands in the old BHS store in the High street, now Primark serving belts and cardis...then came the kids! and lata lata I would wander the old town writing poetry! Well, after a time is another time as they say. Let's see what happens next with the Turner and all.