Birmingham, Poets, and being Brave

It’s the classic story: I liked writing stories when I was little. English was my favourite class at school. I carried it through to University. Now I write whenever I can.

That’s pretty much it. At University I discovered that I actually liked poetry (who knew) – reading and writing it. During my first (and rather intense) job, I found poetry was something I could consume in my short evenings – wind down and feel complete. If I had nothing to do all night, I could read a collection, if I only had a few moments, I could just take one poem. Being able to read something that was whole gave me closure and grounded me.

When I landed my current job my life changed. I work for a charity that supports creative writing. My job role is pretty flexible: from running events, to updating databases and ordering the toner, no two days are the same. Working in the Arts has been a gift and the support from my family to go down a very different (and unpredictable) route was amazing. They were some much needed back up that let me be Brave!

Birmingham being it’s usual bad self.

I have been living in Birmingham City for over a year now. Okay, I’m still not used to the noise of this many people living this close to me and when the neighbours have a party at 4am it can get a bit annoying, but ultimately I love it. As someone who is happy to sit in my room reading, being in a place where there is always someone walking past makes me feel connected and stops me ever getting too still – too stagnant.

Birmingham gets a bad rep. As the second city, the town is bustling, but there are also places to be quiet and chill. Personally, I think of Brum as a green place. I over look a park and you only need to look out from the Library’s Secret Garden to see how many trees and parks there are. The rich and eclectic history of Birmingham also lends itself to the distinctive quarters and communities within the city. Last weekend was the Jewellery Quarter’s Festival, a perfect example of the many personalities of Brum! Of course there is always something to do – it’s a city! There aren’t enough evenings in the week to do it all, but my favourite way to spend a week day night is at one of the many poetry nights.

The poetry community in Birmingham is wonderful: inclusive and inviting, I have never felt like an outsider for long at a new event. People celebrate each other, praise each other, and push you to be brave here in a way I haven’t seen before. The audience is always warm and enthusiastic. They want to talk after, and vice versa – the readers and featured poets want to talk to you too.

I don’t think I will ever be able to enjoy everything this mega city has to offer poets and writers, but I will do my best and bring the blog along for the ride. The only take away I can give you in return for the time you have spent reading is that it’s okay to be brave. The worst that happens is you learn a lesson, the best is you succeed. Coming from a coward who’s spent a year being brave – it’s scary and stressful, and sometimes we focus to much on the rejections, but I learnt so much that I am a different poet. Put yourself out there and you might like what comes back.

A Wild Heddwen in her natural habitat.

Published by Heddwen Bethan

I have a Masters in English literature and Creative Writing and work as an arts administrator in Birmingham. I spend my free time cooking, talking about nothing in particular, and writing.

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