Saturday, 30 June 2012


00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , 5 comments
by Ashley Lister

Whilst teaching a class last week I mentioned poetry. A student groaned and I was prepared to let it pass. The lesson wasn't about poetry and I'm not on a mission to convert anyone. Instead of launching into a sermon I simply said, "You don't know what you're missing."

The student who'd groaned laughed. "I know that I'm missing nothing. Poetry's no good for nothing. Poetry doesn't do anything."

Aside from using too many double negatives, the student was wrong. I could have proved as much just by introducing him to the success of the Dead Good Poets' Society (DGPS).

The DGPS have done quite a lot this past year.

We’ve written a blog. An award-winning blog, as was shown when we received the accolade of website of the year from Radio Wave. The blog has been visited and supported by local writers, internationally renowned writers, colleagues and family. It is aptly named as a dead good blog.

We’ve hosted our usual events at the No. 5 CafĂ©. In September last year we had the children’s writer Joseph Delany share some of his writing with our group. We've been visited by Ann Wilson, Molly Baxter and a host of other stellar guests. We’ve had fancy dress events on themes as diverse as Science Fiction and Jeremy Kyle. The poetry events have been consistently fun and are always enormously well-attended.

We’ve produced a book of poems. It’s a damned fine book – I’ve got a poem in there myself. We even read the poems in front of the mayor.

We met the mayor.

We performed at the Intercontinental in Preston, on the same stage as Jo Bell and Jane Brunning and Nigella Ladylumps – all of whom are incredible performers and each one is deserving of their legendary statuses. As a result of that performance Vicky Ellis (on behalf of the DGPS) ended up working as a guest editor for the Lancashire Writing Hub.

The DGPS also read some of their work at B&F College as part of a quality and diversity symposium. Following that performance some of our poems are now being used as learning resources by teaching staff working on Functional Skills. In other words, DGPS poems are helping students learn how to read.

The DGPS are contributing some stories to an innovative feature in this autumn’s illuminations. It’s an incredibly exciting project that involves technology and storytelling and kudos to Mr Standard for his organisational skills in getting that so close to completion within the restrictions of such a tight frame. I’m thrilled to think that the DGPS will be part of the illuminations during their centenary year.

One of the bloggers has visited a children’s home to see how the DGPS might be able to help with bringing the entertainment value of the written/spoken word to underprivileged children.  Kudos to Shaun who is still ironing out details on that one.

Personally, I’ll be facilitating some enrichment programs in the autumn on behalf of the DGPS. These programs will be tailored to a 14-19 provision, specialising in blogging, science fiction, fantasy and journalism. In truth, I’m excited to be a part of all this.

This year has seen the DGPS poet in residence graduate from her MA program: well done Lara. It’s a year that has seen one of our most respected bloggers graduate from her BA: well done Vicky. It’s a year where one of our most popular bloggers (check the stats and see how the figures consistently spike on a Friday) is now one year closer to achieving her well-deserved MA in children’s writing: well done Lindsay.

There have been triumphs, achievements and accomplishments that I haven’t mentioned here. There have been too many to list on one page. And I’ve mentioned all of these so far because I’m not able to pinpoint a single favourite blogging moment.

To my mind this whole year has been enormously successful with more highlights than a 80s hairdresser. I’m truly looking forward to seeing how far we go over the next twelve months. Thank you to everyone who has helped by contributing. Thank you to all those who have continued to support us.

And in response to the student who said poetry's no good for nothing: you have a lot to learn.


Lindsay said...

It's been a great year and everyone is doing well. It's amazing what a great bunch of people can do in such a short space of time. Long may the Blackpool Dead Good Poets' Society reign as the most popular poetry night in Blackpool! Great post Ash.

Shaun said...

Well, when you put it like that.

Excellent post Ash. You've done well to remember so much!

Ashley R Lister said...

Lindsay & Shaun,

We've now conquered Blackpool. I think next year we should aim to dominate Europe. Then we can go global muahahahahaha


Adele Robinson said...

Go on Ashley,

You tell 'em how great poetry is. It is a whole world.

Ashley R Lister said...


I shall print this out and make them eat it :-)