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Thinking of Joining? Tell us! :-)

14 Jan

Hello Mouthy World,

 I am not sure how much you know about Mouthy, you may have been in the collective for 3 years, you may have heard of us, you may have been to a session once or you may not know what I am talking about!

Until now, Mouthy has been open to new members every Friday we have held a session, because we want to be an open and diverse collective. Excitingly this has lead to the collective tripling (if not more) over the 3 years we have been in existance! However, the room is no longer big enough, and this take-up has lead to our provision becoming stretched for existing members.

As a result, we are having to pause our open recruitment policy for the next few months whilst we work out how best to provide for all the young, beautiful people interested in working with us.

This means, if you are interested, or know someone who is, instead of coming along to a session – please email us at and we will keep you informed of our plans to get you involved as soon as possible. Also, come along to our next show, Say Sum Thin 6 on the 7th & 8th of March at Nottingham Playhouse – jump on the open mic and get to know us, because we are eager to forge the most supportive path to get to know and support you as well as all our existing poets.


Warmest Regards

Deborah ‘Debris’ Stevenson & The Mouthy Poets


What is Mouthy to you? (Code of Conduct in Progress…)

13 Jan

Mouthy is growing faster than ever – we want to carry on supporting as many young people as possible, but the more work grow the more we must innovate how we can do that. Because of this, I feel its important we build an idea of who we are and what we believe. As with everything Mouthy, this is a conversation that started in our session last Friday… 

What behaviours, expectations and rules do you think should be impeded into Mouthy? What should we expect from everyone and tell the world we believe in. Please comment and add through comments, this is currently a working document 🙂 


  • Considerate Freedom of Speech. Everyone has the right to voice his or her opinions and be respected. However no one has the right to intentionally isolate or disrespect any individual with those opinions.  If this happens unintentionally, we should always approach these situations openly and respectfully.


  • Involvement & Support: Be as open as you can be and as involved as you can be – the degree of which everyone can be involved will be embraced without judgment and with support.


  • There is no bad but there is a better.


  • Eat your 5 a day: look after your physiological needs, so that Mouthy can provide for a higher level of development.


  • Be enlivening and radical.


  • There will be laughter, but there will be hard work too.


  • Be opinionated. If you know you have knowledge that can help me, give it to me.


  • Support Individuality.


  • “I miss Cleo” – let each other know who and what we miss.


  • A safe place to explore.


  • Come with an open mind.


  • Support; not just on the page & stage but mentally & emotionally.


  • Believe – in the power of the cultivated spoken word. Take the raw tools of language and sculpt them into a higher power.


  • Remain Diverse in every way forever.


  • Allow people to choose: participation will happen when and if you are comfortable.


  • A culture of questioning.


  • Encouragement.


  • Family.




Arvon 2013 Covers Night List

12 Jan

Arvon 2013 – Covers List


‘This Be The Verse’ by Phillip Larkin

‘Motherland’ by Jo Shapcott



‘The Same City’ by Terrance Hayes

‘Song For A Spent 100w Bulb’ by Jacob Sam La Rose (From ‘Breaking Silence’)



‘Dressed As For A Tarot Pack’ by Peter Redgrove

‘Condition Of Isis’ (poet unrecorded – if anyone can find it, let us know)



‘The River Of Girls’ by Tishani Dashi (From ‘Everything Begins Everywhere’)

‘Empires’ by Douglas Dunn (From ‘Fifty Strong’)


Laura D:

‘Gardenia’ by Jasmine Mans

‘Life and Death . . .’ by Gia Carangi (Laura notes that Gia is not a poet – she seems very interesting. Where do we find the poem Laura?)



‘Bone’ by Warsan Shire

‘Ugly’ by Warsan Shire



‘Since Feeling Is First’ by E. E. Cummings

‘The Christening’ by Simon Armitage



‘Daddy’ by Sylvia Plath

‘9 Reasons For Throwing A Cat Into A Wheelie Bin’ by Caroline Bird



‘Little Red Cap’ by Carol Ann Duffy (From ‘The World’s Wife’)

‘Mersey Crossing’ by Imtiaz Dharker (From ‘The Terrorist at my Table’)



‘Gaustic Soda’ by Liz Houghton

‘Bone’ by Saga Nobuyuki


George W:

‘Love Poem’ by John-Frederick Nimms

‘The Apple Incident’ by Ted Hughes



‘Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps’ by Aaron Levy Samuels

‘The Stranger Manuel’ by Catie Rosemurgy



‘A Helping Hand’ by Miroslav Holub (From ‘The Fly’)

‘Zone Of Silence’ by Ezeslaw Milosz



‘The Cinnamon Peeler’ by Michael Ondaatte

‘Wildnights’ by Emily Dickinson



Underground, Pure Hustle – Kate Potts

Raisa’s Arvon Experience

10 Jan

Being accepted to go arvon, gave me a restart effect which was the “this is me”
I am ready to accept that I am a poet comfortable in my own skin and to show the seriousness and reason behind me, writing and poetry. I applied to go with an open mind and in return I recived a positive affirmation within the art of the way of my thinking. I am a dysleix person of whom work on visual learning and stimulus. I also work with the thought of having a different voice in my mind using imagination. I often have a barrier which hold me back which is my anxiety and depression. When I applied for Arvon it was around the time that I accepted my mental state. And not letting anything or opportunities in which can create an experience and also knowledge in what can encourage me and help me with my talent. I learnt through visual concepts whilst being at Arvon it helped me to accept that the visual process in learning wasn’t wrong and it actually helps when your able to write something through visual. I enjoyed being able to write a character
biography and auto biography it encouraged that creative voice in me to write a piece on the native Alboriginal historey, I have a strong interest in Alborignal historey and settlements. This exercise used my voice and my imagination. Which was exciting and the work I came out with whilst at Arvon impressed me and made me think wow did I write that? I also enjoyed the surrealism work shop with Pascle Petit because the art that we looked at by Freda kahlo. Wow the storey behind Kahlo life was very deep and dark which gave me a voice of 1950s and 1940 this gave me inspiration to write my piece for say something 6. The atmosphere in Tottliegh Barton was fresh and clean,with a strong sense of history being it a historic pre doomsday building. It bred history and storeys and the rooms were nice and spacey but very cosy. I liked the fact that our rooms were quite close so that we can see the rest of the group and keep that unity that we already have as a
group. Since I went to arvon and before I have accepted my voice and not so afraid to write what my gut is telling me to. Thankyou for accepting my application and offering us your friendly service. The staff at Arvon are very earthy and take into consideration different types of peoples needs from disabled to vegan to vegiterian any needs arvon sure dose cater and impresses. Its not often I see a country side and actually become apart of it. The only time I see the country side is whilst driving from different cities. Arvon give me that sence of belonging where my heart wants to be and to learn from different experiances. That’s why being apart of mouthy I’m all ways learning and appreciate the opportunities offered. I cannot thank mouthy the creators enough it makes me emotional. Never could I imagine being apart of a group with people that are creative and absorb brilliance. I feel apart of some were I finally belong.

Thankyou xx

KPM – Introducing myself :)

9 Jan

Hi, my name is Kai, the German intern who’ll be here in Nottingham until the end of April. I’ll see you all or at least most tomorrow in the session, but before, Deborah asked me to introduce myself on the blog. So I thought: Why not free-write a poem in 5 minutes (excluding research). This is the second poem I have ever written in my life (I wrote one Wednesday, thanks to Jim and Hayley). So this is what came out:


Kai. I love this three lettered name because when I was 12 I could write down my full name in high score lists of computer games. Kai as KAI: 80320 on Earthworm Jim – still on number 1 – I believe. And when you make karate moves you can enhance your power by shouting my name. KAI! Peter is the name which defines my gender. I’m a man when I say “Kai Peter”. But I don’t. I don’t say “I’m Kai Peter”, my true name is Kai because Kai could be any gender, I can be anything anytime I want. Müller. You pronounce the ü like this: Say e and shape your mouth as an o. The tongue, teeth and voice must remain the same. Et voila: ü. As in Müller. I’m one out of 98, born in 87 which is 10 years after Elvis Presley celebrated his birthday for the last time – but I have nothing to do with him except that I dance like him. But a bit more queerly. I’ll show you and you’ll see my abrupt stops, changing the direction of my movements. To be honest, I look sexy and ridiculous with a mustache, so I stick to my beard. And I like my brown curly hair since I was 18. And I bite my finger nails and the skin around it. My oversized head is put on Darth Vader’s black and white body in front of an Imperial Star Destroyer, because I love these high pitched engine sounds of Star Wars you hear when space ships are shooting into space.

I left Braunschweig. I can still feel the coffee warming my cold hands and sitting quietly next to my girlfriend, both of us acting like she and I will sleep separately in oversized beds for the next four months. I can still see the silver ring my friend shows me for his soon-to-be-fiancé. I can still taste the bread we eat every morning in Germany. I can still hear the sound of my yellow robot who eats all my money when I lay a coin on his hand. And I can still smell my girlfriend’s hair while she is leaning on my shoulder in the train to the airport. She smells like a newborn baby.

But I’m in Nottingham now, a resplendent place I’ve never been to before. It’s my first week, and I’m not mouthy – I feel I’m the opposite. So show me what it’s like. Show me what you can achieve with the power of words. Show me how to become (a) mouthy.


Job Opportunity – Pastoral Care Director

6 Jan



Job Title:                                Pastoral Care Director

Responsible to:                   Artistic Director, Deborah Stevenson

Location:                               Nottingham based

Hours:                                    One year, one day a week contract –

Generally Fridays 12-8pm with some flexibility around events and other special activities, meetings and training, Aug – Oct this time will be re-arranged around your availability and Mouthy activity.

Pay:                              £3,600 (freelance, invoice basis)                      


“Often, hardship and isolation from the ‘norm’ gives young people a story and a need for catharsis: there isn’t vocabulary for their experiences, so they must develop their own.” The Mouthy Poets believe that young people deserve support and education in developing and expressing this vocabulary. Furthermore, by performing these stories to large live and digital audiences, others are inspired to articulate their own differences and listen to those of others.

The Mouthy Poets are an open community collective of approximately fifty 15-30 year olds, meeting on a weekly basis where they learn writing, editing, performance and event- coordination skills. Mouthy is a young and growing organisation, which, up until this point, has been fuelled by the passion of a small and largely voluntary team.

Newly awarded Grants for the Arts funding means that Mouthy can grow their organisational infrastructure and sustainability. The Pastoral Care Director Role, outlined below, will enable the successful candidate to play vital hand in an growing organisation supporting the 50+ young people within the collective. You will be joining Mouthy at an exciting time in its growth as it continues to reach young people through workshops, performances and research in Nottingham Playhouse, schools, Germany, America and soon, beyond.

You can find out more about Mouthy here:



The Pastoral Care Director will be managed by Mouthy Poets Artistic Director, Deborah Stevenson on a day-to-day basis. However, this post has additional reporting responsibilities to other members of the Mouthy Management Team.

Job Purpose

The Pastoral Care Director (PCD) will be based one day a week in Nottingham where they will work with Mouthy Participants:

  • Meeting each participant upon enrolment to the group, to gain a general understanding of their needs and to identify any potential support that might be needed or to signpost to other sources of support.  
  • Meeting with specific participants more regularly when referred by fellow participants, workshop leaders, staff or themselves.  
  • Attending the weekly 3 hour sessions (Fridays 5-8pm), participating and observing to suggest any further support, considerations, training or policy that might need to be implemented to provide pastoral care for participants and optimise the artistic purpose of the sessions.
  • Providing a clear personal and digital communication for the young people before Mouthy sessions on Fridays.

The emphasis is participant-centred rather than problem centred.  The Pastoral Care Director will be an:

  • Excellent role-model
  • Active listener
  • Acute observer
  • Encourager
  • Professional friend
  • Challenger of assumptions
  • Guide
  • Sign Poster
  • Trainer  
  • Policy Maker  
  • Reliable
  • Approachable
  • Non-judgmental
  • Perceptive
  • Empathetic


1.   Principal Duties and Responsibilities


1.1      Being available as a ‘non-authority’ adult to any young person in need of support.  In the first instance, all Pastoral Care Workers are responsible       for developing relationships of trust with young people.

1.2      Be available to offer one-off or continued one to one support to staff           referred or self-referred young people in need of support.

1.3      Communicate information/feedback when necessary with a young            person’s parent, carer, or Mouthy staff.

1.4      Develop and implement specific strategies and training in consultation with Artistic Director and other relevant Mouthy Staff to combat areas of need within the collective e.g. relationship issues, anger management, digital safeguarding usage etc. To work alongside the Lead Producer, to produce a Safeguarding Policy, E-Safeguarding Policy and any other relevant documentation, that is tailored to Mouthy’s requirements and train the relevant staff and participants on how to adhere to these documents. 

1.5      Lead sessions/exercises looking at various operational and best practice models, drawing on expertise of outside agencies when necessary.

1.6      Keep records of ongoing work and achievement, produce termly reports including statistical analysis of the work.

1.7      Assist in applications for funding by producing relevant information and data when requested.

1.8      Work with Mouthy to determine target groups/individuals and issues to work on.

1.9      Lead sessions/workshops on issues that promote self-esteem, self-worth etc. looking at topics that are barriers to young people reaching their potential.

1.10    Spend time in sessions as support to build relationships with        young people. 

1.11    Liaise and build a relationship with other support agencies e.g.     Connexions, Women’s Centre, Let’s Talk Nottingham etc.

1.12    Undergo training that is of benefit to the collective.

1.13    Seek the ongoing development of the project and continue strategic          planning with the line manager on the development of the project.

1.14    Research and gain awareness of issues that young people are facing and         best practice of how to effectively give support.

1.15    To attain targets and objectives as set out in Mouthy and as agreed with the line manager.


1.16    To take reasonable care and operate all relevant requirements of he        Health and Safety legislation, The Childrens’ Act and any other relevant           legislation in the performance of your duties.

2.      General Responsibilities

2.1      Other Duties

To undertake any other specific duties and responsibilities within capabilities as may be assigned by the Artistic Director, as necessary.

2.2      Discretion to Act:

To exercise discretion in the performance of the duties of the post and to use best practice commensurate with the safety of clients and colleagues, and the effective and efficient use of resources. 

To work within the guidelines of Mouthy policies and procedures.


2.3      Relationships:

To establish, maintain and enhance team-working with colleagues and staff of Mouthy and to keep confidential all information about individuals and the business of Mouthy. This will include attending Mouthy’s biannual key performances (7th-8th March & 18th July 2014).

2.4      Personal Development

To play an active role in the development and implementation of your individual development plan.


2.5      Association Ethos

To positively promote the aims, objectives, ethos and core values of the Association.



Please ensure that you address all the requirements marked with an “A”

in the final column as we will be looking for this information when Shortlisting


Job Title:            Pastoral Care Director




How Assessed*


1.1 Experience of working with 15-30 year olds


1.2 Experience and working knowledge of developing and implementing child protection procedures and practices


1.3 Experience and working knowledge of the issues affecting young people to-day


1.4 Experience in developing and implementing safeguarding and training policies.



2.1 Teaching or Youth Work qualification (desirable)


2.2 Knowledge of the local areas (desirable)


2.3 An understanding of how to store and treat confidential information.


Education/ Training / Qualifications

3.2 E-Safeguarding or Digital Safeguarding training


3.3 Counselling qualification.


3.4 Coaching qualification.


4.1 Ability to demonstrate effective communication skills both verbal and written


Skills & Abilities

4.2 Ability to train others


4.3 Ability to demonstrate good level of IT skills


4.4. Ability to relate to young people


4.5 Ability to be self-sufficient and emotionally resilient.



5.1 Able to support the core values of the Association


Other work related requirements

5.2 Willingness to undergo a satisfactory enhanced CRB or DBS check



*When Assessed – (A) on Application form, (I) At Interview, (T) During Test,

(D) From Documentary evidence EG References, Qualifications, driving license etc


Application Process

Please send the following to by 5pm January 27th 2014:

1. Your CV (no more than 2 sides of A4).

2. A covering letter that explains how your skills and experience meets the essential criteria of the job (1-2 sides of A4).

3. (Voluntary) A completed copy of the Mouthy Poets Equality Monitoring Form, attached.

We also advise you prepare two signed references of approx. 150 words including contact telephone and email details. If you are shortlisted for interview, you will be requested to bring these with you.

Interviews will be in Nottingham on January 30th/31st, please ensure you can be available on these dates if shortlisted. All candidates should also ideally be available to start in the role on February 17th 2014.

Please ensure all documents are in Word or Pdf. format, electronic applications only.


Mouthy Move Into Arvon. Make It Their Home.

2 Jan

The thing that Arvon will forever do best, is provide writers a space crammed with excuses to do nothing but the thing they must: write. A library of poetry, sprawling hillside view, a sturdy writing desk. Phone/internet signal largely out of reach. A daily structure that mixes communal workshop with private hours generating and editing everything they may have needed the focused/forced space to get through.

Second time around, Arvon did not disappoint. With the Totleigh Barton site seemingly even more intimate and homely than the welcoming Hurst’s of last year, Mouthy settled in within minutes. Conversations crawling from bedroom to barn, a buzz of expectant writers with notebooks/laptops clasped to chest.

For me, when you ‘finish’ a poem, especially one carved from a deeply personal place, you want to hurl it to the world like a beacon searching for a familiar face. Throughout the week, the stories that were revealed required more than applause, more than a ‘one poem down, however many more to go’ ethos. They needed hugs and hand holding. So did the writers behind them. I was moved by the amount of supportive, caring conversations happening amongst Mouthy’s initiated without any prompting from our tutors, or listed as a post-workshop request, throughout our stay. Be it checking in with someone seeming especially quiet that day, asking someone if they feel like crying all day today too but it’s okay that they do, simply going over a poem and asking them the question: what is it you want to say?

My time at Arvon this year is something I’m still processing, but one thing I am clear of right now is this affirming reminder: The Mouthy Poets will always, seemingly instinctively, have each other’s backs.