Tag Archives: Say Sum Thin 9

Debris Stevenson – Final Draft Auditorium show #SST9

6 Jul

Current Length: 5min

I will definitely need:

-1 Handheld mic + stand

-Track will have been mixed into one

-Audio Track – this will be with you by Friday.

I might need:

-ambient mics

-20 chairs

I may be using:

-A loop pedal – I am looking into this at the moment.

Performance wise:

-I am hoping to work with Hannah Silva and my partner to create a bit more texture using Mouthy’s on stage to create a sense of togetherness and seperateness, maybe saying some of the refrains with/ over me, and laying them up using a loop pedal. This is only a maybe at the moment as it depends on time and resources really.


-Beyond what I have stipulated below – I really trust you and Laura on this one, what is making it difficult at the moment is not being 100% clear on the way I am going to perform it but I think there definitely needs to be a sense of being on a train but also being in a Grime setting with that strobing, darkness, and togetherness at the same time as being apart.




Human Farm 











Commuters journey;

wrappers, papers, rats and goodbye naps.

Commuters journey;

Brompton bikes, fights, scenic cites.


Commuters journey;

ticket fines, keypads distract minds.

Commuters journeys;

wheelchairs navigate human freight.




It’s only a reservation –

trying to feed them both from her seat –

no other space to squeeze their feet.

Have we made life so neat?

A reservation?




Lady sits with bags, baby just blinks

his eyes don’t collide either side, he just squints,

her hands hook pits, her hands look tough,

but skin splits // like her bags lookin’ rough.

Sittin’ here, two seats apart on the train,

Reddening she’s staring through her baby like rain.


And I’m sittin’ here thinking

human farm, human farm,

human farm. Sittin’ here.

                                                Hey, we’re sittin’ here

yes sorry sitting here,

yes please sorry, sorry,

sorry sittin’ here

our seat yes we’re sittin’ here.



I wanna say –

                                    She’s just sittin’ here, saying nuthin’, watch

                                   Plenty other seats on the train, cotch!



But – down the aisle wheelchairs (three) –

sticklers claiming seats

now elders with priority.

Awkward, I pretend I don’t see –



She’s showing hurt: —

sweat-patches by the mile.

No one questions bags,

why she’s alone

lady over there

offers hands as a home.

(Hands as a home).



Commuters journey,

suited kindly other offers cover

commuters journey,

Tesco bags pram past stags,

commuters journey,

adjacent // stacks of fragile patience,

commuters journey,

Calm, baby offers palm.



Only a reservation

Finally, she was just about to eat.

Only a reservation,

before a clique of work colleagues meet,

                                    Oh our a reservation?

Eyes with a touch more grief?



Now I’m sitting here

thinking human farm,

human farm, human farm,

I’m just sittin here.

Hey, I’m sitting just here

Yes, sorry we’re sitting here,

yes us, sorry – sitting here.

Our seats, yes, we’re sitting here.







Crying silent, tears are itchy, rolling down her shirt.

Strangers offering hands, but baby screeches, baby squirts.

Ladies champers-table, Marks & Spencer – what next?

No longer sittin’ here. Standin’ in aisle getting’ vexed.



Commuters journey;

bougie bitches don’t get deserts.

Commuters journey;

mums travel lonely carry slums.

Commuters journey;

bust, we need strangers’ we trust.

Commuters journey –

dust, no tracks without rust.




Only a reservation,

others assist with muggy buggy.

Only a reservation,

champers ladies ignore her like a druggie.

Finally at her station

and I wish I could say I’d done less harm,



whilst I was sitting here


human farm,


human farm,


human farm

human farm

human farm,


human farm

human farm



Thinking here –

I was just sittin’ here

sitting here thinking human farm.

sittin’ here

sitttin’ here




Was I doing

any less





Clichés, Drafts and Caroline Bird

31 May

My drafting process is a bit of a doozy. One piece of writing I may whizz through and after a couple of revisions chalk it off to a job well done, while others I’ll struggle over and struggle over and struggle over again and again trying to write my way into an idea. Writing a poem for Say Sum Thin 9 is proving to be a case of the latter form of drafting. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get anywhere with it. I have the idea, but I can’t find the medium in which to express it. It’ll come, but it’ll take time.

If the other Mouthy Poets are having similar problems they’re doing a cracking job of keeping it under wraps, particularly if Friday’s workshop with Caroline Bird is anything to go by. Caroline promised to get us all writing, said that we’d be all well tuckered out by the end of the workshop and I’ve got to admit she wasn’t wrong there. I was worn out by the end of the session, but the amount of work everyone produced was staggering. I write at about 4 wph (words per hour) and I think that’s fast; I’ve got nothing on the rest of Mouthy. Pages of the stuff straight onto the page, but with Caroline in the room we all really kicked it up a notch. She even said at one point she wanted the session to feel like six hours’ worth of workshop in three. It was jam-packed, and it was great.

We looked at a number of poems and used these as springboards for exercises. One such exercise was to try and get to the heart of clichés, trying to find ‘the danger’ in them again. Caroline used the examples of ‘head in the clouds’ and asked us questions like ‘What does that feel like? Is it cold? Is it hard to breathe? Where’s your neck and how does it feel: is it thin, long, what?’ I tried to write around the phrase ‘cat got your tongue’ – taking it quite literally is a painful thing to imagine when you really think about it! When I read what I’d written Caroline suggested I remove the last line to give it a punchier feel, and this is something I find myself often doing or being recommended to do. I think it’d be a useful way to think about your own poetry too: how does deleting the last line or stanza change your poem? Is it better? Worse? What does it offer or change? It’s good practice to play with your drafts in such a way.

And speaking of drafts, midnight tonight marks the deadline for first draft of our poems for SST9. If you’re anything like me, you’re bricking it. If you’re not anything like me, teach me your ways. With that said, I guess it’s time to get to the drafting.

I guess I’m going to cheat here a little because I’m going to bung on my idea and first draft to this post! How cheeky of me. So here goes:

My idea revolves around a fisherman trying to catch carp the day after a carnival in his village but all he can catch are goldfish children released the day before. Behind him the carnival is being packed away. I have this very strong image of him sat there trying to get a decent carp on a bank holiday Monday after he’d not been able to fish all weekend because of the carnival. I’m wanting to play around with the poetic form, but I think the specific way I play about with it will come later when I settle on the backbone of the poem.

And so here’s the first draft while we’re at it. I’m sure it’ll be one of the shortest first drafts you’ve ever seen!



Blp. Floating dog biscuit.



I told you I write at 4wph! I can’t seem to get beyond this. The problem is I’m trying to write a character and I don’t know anything about him. For this to work, I need to figure out what makes him tick. Or to step away from the idea of performing as him. With the midnight deadline looming, reckon that may be a hard one to pull off! I’ve taken the mickey a bit there, but ah well! I’ll sign off here…


The journey begins…

20 May

The journey toward Say Sum Thin 9 has officially begun. The Mouthy Poets have now split into teams to market and produce the summer show. We also set about honing our ideas for the performance, writing out first drafts of poems and working in groups to discuss where these ideas were strong and where to go from there.

So the groups we split into were Education and Management, Social Media and Marketing, Evaluation and Funding, Production and Stage Management, and Publishing and Merchandise. You could probably guess where I fell in, what with blogging a whole lot and that. Each group has an important role in bringing together the collective for a smooth and exciting show. Heading the groups are the Mouthy interns, making SST9 truly a show organised by the Mouthy collective. The task ahead of us is a slightly daunting one, but we’re all eager to crack on with it.

And crack on with it we did. Once in groups we laid out what it is we want from SST9, and a challenge accepted by all was to sell over 500 tickets. It’ll be a long road, but worth it all the way.

Such a turnout wouldn’t get anywhere without the poems to perform though, so first thing’s first. We got to writing our ideas centred on the theme of carnival. Despite the work being rough, the ideas at their core were really interesting and I for one am geared up to see where they go in the future. A key thing we are committing to this time is utilising the stage in the show and the use of props. In the past we feel we could have taken the idea of performance further in our poetry, so this time we are writing with a mind to perform our pieces, seizing the chance to mess with lighting, sound, props, and the stage space as much as we can. The result I’m sure will be an amazing one. And the ideas are already up on the blog too! It all moves fast at Mouthy.

With that I guess I’ve let you all know the journey has begun! Watch this space for more details on how SST9 is coming along.


Catching Up!

15 May

Oops. So that’s about a month gone by with me forgetting to blog. It’s been busy, what can I say. Guess what though, means you lot get a bigger blogpost today!

Starting off with the workshop a few weeks back, we discussed the theme for Say Sum Thin 9 in groups of three else four, debating for themes that were not our first choice. Cruel trick on Anne’s part maybe, but hey, it got us motivated for alternate ideas we may have otherwise decided to overlook completely! And some of the ideas were really something, with everyone plugging some great points regarding marketing, writing, and performing each potential theme. In the end though we settled on having Carnival as the theme for Say Sum Thin 9. So broad AND so specific, I don’t think we could have asked for more in a theme! Having the whole of the Playhouse to mess around with will be a real treat with this theme as well.

Fortnight ago though, I had another mint (great) day. Showing up to the Mouthy office I was told to go to Cobden Chambers for the Creative Quarter’s Enter Festival where we had a stall being set up. We manned it till about 4 and got to meet some awesome people doing various creative and entrepreneurial things in Nottingham. One group even brought shark beanbags in! Like, I’m not kidding there were shark beanbags and you sat in the shark’s mouth and they just looked aces. I think we should get some: they’d suit the ‘Mouthy’ vibe, do you not think? Enter Festival’s going to be carrying on throughout the month so check out some of their stuff here: http://bit.ly/1DDeZ4l

And Hannah Silva came down for the workshop. What a session. Now I’d never seen her before though I knew about her Gaddafi poem. The rhythms she used and the sounds she chose to focus on were just brilliant. In one poem she took a sentence from an Ed Miliband speech and picked it apart, working with just the vowels of a part of the phrase and the syllables in other parts to make what I can only describe as a truly musical poem. Following her performance we all joined in trying to work with our own phrases, pulling them apart by letters and syllables to get to grips with one of Hannah’s most fun strategies for writing.  The session saw many of our lot write some cracking stuff. One of the activities we did was to walk while thinking, sit while writing. This was to try and get the rhythms of walking into our poetry. To generate ideas Hannah gave out various objects including photographs and foreign money and old action figures. I got a postcard of a lady with an iguana on her head; sure gave me some weird and funky ideas.

To get us up to scratch, last week we had a heavy session on identity. I’d never known I thought myself to be so chilled out about everything, at least to a point. It helped to focus my thoughts about myself as a writer though, especially regarding what I want to achieve. We discussed things like who we think we’re writing for, why we write, and who exactly we identify ourselves as. Don’t know about the rest of you lot, but I’d not thought about that stuff quite so much. Thankfully, it reasserted that yes I do just want to write nonsense and regional things in my poetry, and that’s fine by me. Tell you one thing though, it showed how diverse and awesome Mouthy are, and that can only be a good thing!

Tonight we’ll be brainstorming ideas for SST9 and I’m well excited to see what everyone’s been thinking up.

Till next time


Say Sum Thin Success

3 Mar


After months of planning and preparation, Mouthy took to the stage at the end of February to perform “Say Sum Thin 8”. It was a resounding success, with over 100 audience members for both nights! It’s hard to articulate how much energy was put into every bit of work needed to produce the shows and to name all that participated, in making them as good as they were, is to put every single Mouthy Poet name down.

We would like to thank you, however; as the audience you clicked, clapped and mhmm’d throughout both nights and for a poet to experience that is only going to make them grow in confidence and feel that the work they put in was worth it.

We were privileged on Friday night to play host to First Time Dave, on his ‘Good to Talk’ Cycle Tour. Dave is doing 10 gigs, in 10 cities in 10 days and by the time he had reached Nottingham he had already cycled hundreds of miles and he had many more to go. His charity of choice for Nottingham was Harmless, an amazing service that offers support, training and consultancy to those who self harm; Say Sum Thin 8 and First Time Dave managed to raise £115 for this amazing cause! So thank you to those who donated and please continue to support them in their work. (Harmless Website / Review)

Friday night also saw members of the audience give us a taste of their own poetry in open mic slots, it is a brave thing to do and it was a delight to hear the voices of those who came to hear ours.

On to Saturday, and before the headline show Ideas Tap offered a free workshop with New York Slam Poet Jon Sands. We were made to look at persona poems, challenged in a free write and enjoyed a (totally relevant) game of “I don’t believe you!”. We certainly all took something from the workshop and it was a good moment for the Mouthy’s to relax before the headline show that evening.


The Mouthy Poets Cafe opened at half 7 to a very busy atrium and the show began. Once again there were clicks, claps and appreciation shown throughout – with a choreographed piece which involved doughnuts, armadillos, a jam roly poly and much more. The show finished with Jon Sands performing some of his poems to a ruckus of laughter and acknowledgement of his incredible word play and imagery. If you can, check out his book “The New Clean” and find out more on his website! A big thank you goes to him for being so energetic and bringing that to the stage for us to share.

The show does not end at lights up however, the evaluation process continues as we start to collate the feedback you gave us! This will make Mouthy grow and improve, so that we can continue to provide you with bigger and better performances. You can continue to give feedback of your experience using the hashtag #SST8. We will be picking a random winner from these who will receive a Zine signed by Mouthy & Jon Sands!B-8-kOLWsAEaBEf

We are also still on tour and will be hitting the MAC in Birmingham this Saturday, with guest poet Hannah Silva! Make sure to check out our Facebook event page and community page and our Twitter for updates on what we’re up to.

So thank you, once again, for joining us for Say Sum Thin 8! Weare so grateful that you came to support us and we loved speaking out to you. If you can’t get enough of us…Say Sum Thin 9 is on the 25th of July! Pencil it in!

“I am full up but there is always room for desert”

“You guys are amazing…”

“Excellent, had a brilliant time”

“We ❤ poetry! Thank you XXX”


“Powerful, imaginative and breath-taking. Thank you! X”

“10 out of 10 would poem again”

“Brilliant! First timer and loved every second. Diversity of poems was great. Well done Mouthy!”