Happiness & Other Poems

It was lovely to be part of the open mic launch of Happiness & Other Poems yesterday with St Leger Homes of Doncaster, a publication of fine work written during Hive workshops with young people and adults as part of Keeping Safe Week Doncaster run by St Leger Homes of Doncaster and the mighty Stacey Lynn.

A lovely mix of young people and adults read their work on Facebook live hosted by St Leger’s Stacey Lynn and Sandy from Healthwatch Doncaster and it was such a lovely session with brave and beautiful pieces read by all.

Find out more about the young people work St Leger do in Doncaster on their Instagram here.
Healthwatch Doncaster: www.healthwatchdoncaster.org.uk 
St. Leger Homes of Doncaster: www.stlegerhomes.co.uk

The Snow Grows Whiter

Painting the World Anew Through Poetry with Vanessa Lampert

In the words of Charles Simic, ‘The snow grows whiter after a crow has flown over it’. How do poets paint our world anew to turn up the brightness or amplify the dark? How can we write the crow, or be the crow?

Join prize-winning poet, Vanessa Lampert for this fast-paced, fun and worry-free poetry writing workshop, open to all levels, full of thought-provoking prompts. We’ll draw insights from a range of poetry and talk about how we can borrow (respectfully) from other poets. Leave the session with more colours and textures in your poetry paint palette and a more interesting range of brushes!

The Snow Grows Whiter: Painting the World Anew through Poetry with Vanessa Lampert
Sunday 11th July 12pm to 2.30pm (with a short break)
Where: Zoom
Booking: info@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Open to young writers (aged 15 to 30) in South Yorkshire & the nearby (priority given to young writers in the South Yorkshire region).
Cost: £4 (writers outside of South Yorkshire £6)

Vanessa Lampert has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University and Poetry School London. She has been published in many magazines, most recently in Magma, The Moth, Spoonfeed, Quince and the Oxford Times. She has twice won the Café Writers Prize, the Ver Prize, and the Edward Thomas Foundation prize. She came second in the Fish, Oxford Brookes, and Kent and Sussex, prizes and was commended in the Troubadour, Folklore, Segora and Newcastle poetry prizes. She was commended in the National Poetry competition 2020.

Vanessa is a poetry tutor for Learning with Leaders in India. She writes for and co-edits the online and print magazine The Alchemy Spoon. Vanessa’s first pamphlet On Long Loan, was published by Live Canon in October 2020. She is working on her first full collection to be published late 2021.

New Poets Pamphlets 2020

We are so excited that the New Poets Prize 2020 winners’ pamphlets are now available to purchase from Smith|Doorstop bookshop and other outlets. Last year, two Hive writers won the prize, Georgie Woodhead for her pamphlet ‘Takeaway’, and Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith for ‘Ugly Bird’. All four of the pamphlets are available here, and they launch on 27th June on zoom (here). You can also find fab reviews of Ugly Bird here, and Takeaway here.

Ugly Bird is bolshy and funny and unapologetic. With subjects ranging from public nudity and polyamorous dunnocks to women who run with wolves, these tender poems appreciate human relationships and the natural world, without shying away from difficult conversations around toxic masculinity and mental health. Ugly Bird is tough enough to stand its ground and look you in the eye: ‘I’m not perfect, and in no way do I want to be.’

Takeaway unflinchingly observes a world where everyone is doing their best to survive, often through a lens of the mealtimes that bring us together and set us apart; whether that’s a takeaway eaten in a car park, chickpeas ‘speared like love-struck hearts’, or a multi-generational cooking lesson. Brimming with inventive and tactile imagery, these poems play with time, until it is suspended or flowing backwards through domestic interiors where stereos send secret messages and a poltergeist misses doing the washing up.

Creative writing at Harrison College Doncaster

It’s been so much fun and so insightful holding the huge majority of our workshops and groups online over this past year – we’ve opened the door to loads of new writers and we’ve loved finding new ways of working – both for us at Hive, and for the writers taking part. We’ve been doing things as safely and sensibly as possible. We won’t lie though – we’ve all missed the creative energy of being in the same room as the people we work with and, over the past few weeks, with the world emerging we’ve – relished sessions in the real world again!

Yesterday, Nik completed his run of sessions at Harrison College in Doncaster. The college itself is there specifically to support young people over 16 with high-functioning autism, who want to thrive in business and enterprise. Over the sessions Nik worked with groups of young people to writing poems, encouraging teamwork, and nurturing written and verbal communication.

We wrote to celebrate ourselves; we designed futures for ourselves and our communities; we built creative work together and we let the world know what we’re most proud of. Any success comes from being proud of who we are and recognising all the things we do well.

A huge thanks to all the young writers who took part and to the staff at Harrison College.

This work was made possible by Well Doncaster Barrier Busters funding support.

The Wales Young Poets Award 20/21

Congratulations to Anni Hodgkinson of Doncaster Young Writers, winner of the inaugural Wales Young Poets Award 2020/21 in the 14 to 17 age category.

Anni won with her poem ‘Song of Ikea’s Sadness’. Her poem, ‘The Screams’, was also highly commended in the competition. The theme of this year’s award was Empathy.  Anni will receive book vouchers and her work will be published in a print anthology by Poetry Wales. Congratulations to all other winning and commended young poets.

The Wales Young Poets Award is UK-wide bilingual (Welsh and English) poetry competition for children aged 10-17, hosted by Poetry Wales.

The Canalworks Project with Mixing Roots

What a wonderful weekend of poetry on the canal! On Saturday, young writers from the Mixing Roots project joined Warda Yassin for an exciting poetry workshop on a canal boat in Swinton. Warda is currently collecting inspiration for a poem she’s writing to be displayed along the canal later this year. A selection of work from the Canalworks workshops will feature in a Poetry Society blog by Warda. Vicky Morris from Hive also came along to support and legendary Rotherham skipper Mariam Shah.

On Sunday we were back in Sheffield at Victoria Quays for more canal poetry with the general public and Hive young writers. We’re blown away by the poems from the weekend and can’t wait to hear and read Warda’s poem later this year!

If you’re a young person of colour, or from a diverse background, interested in writing, check out the Mixing Roots Project.

The Canalworks project is a partnership between The Poetry Society & The Canal and River Trust.


Safia Khan wins New Poets Prize 2021

We are so thrilled for Hive young poet Safia Kahn who is a winner of the international New Poets Prize 2021 – for her debut pamphlet collection ‘Too Much Mirch’. Safia started out in the network as a member of Doncaster Young Writers when she was 14! It’s been so lovely to see her grow as a poet over the last few years and we can’t want to hear her voice out there more widely. 

Being awarded a New Poets Prize offers Safia the wonderful prize of pamphlet publication with The Poetry Business alongside three other winners.

We want to say a massive thank you to The Poetry Business for supporting early-career writers so young, and offering this wonderful opportunity to move onto publication. Safia joins recent Hive winners Georgie Woodhead, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith (2020) and Warda Yassin (2018). This year’s judge was Kim Moore.

Kim Moore on Safia’s collection, Too Much Mirch “The poems in this pamphlet constantly surprised me with their inventiveness with imagery and the way the writer challenges assumptions and stereotypes and turns them inside out. There are stunning poems here about family, racism, misogyny and the interplay between them. A particular strength of this writer is their colourful and lively way of writing about people in all their complexity. My favourite of these is Julie, a hairdresser who is off to a Brexit rally. This poem manages to be both funny and alarming as the poet concludes ‘This is Julie’s world, we’re all just living in it”.

Safia Khan is a member of Hive Young Poets and an alumnus of Doncaster Young Writers. She has been published in places like The North, BATH MAGG, Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets and several Hive anthologies including Surfing the Twilight and Halfway Smile. She is currently studying medicine.

For more information, and to purchase 2020’s New Poets publications (hot off the press in June!) visit The Poetry Business

Michael Smith by Morgan Westwood-Cooke

A chance feature on the local news connects the dots a lonely schoolteacher has left out of place for years. A brilliant and illuminating study of how family trauma burrows deep and the ways we find to cope.

This radio play/monologue, written by Morgan Westwood-Cooke, and read by actress Stacey Sampson, shines a light on the strength and fragility of what makes us human, even when we feel incomplete.

Michael Smith started life in our Mastering Monologues masterclass with John Rwoth-Omack.

Michael Smith written by Morgan Westwood-Cooke
Read by Stacey Sampson
Editing support by Vicky Morris
A Hive Creatives project

It sounds incredible! Thank you! The process has been fantastic and has really boosted my confidence as a writer. It’s wonderful to hear something you’ve written treated with such care and produced to such a high standard.

Morgan Westwood-Cooke is an English literature postgraduate student at the University of Sheffield. She’s been an avid writer for as long as she can remember. She was recently part of Hive’s Fictioneers programme and has been commissioned through the Streets Unmasked project to write a piece for a forthcoming podcast.

Stacey Sampson is an actor, writer and facilitator born and bred in Rotherham. She has worked in theatre, film and television for twenty years, and is known for her role as Jennifer in Channel 4’s This Is England series (’88 and ’90). Stacey is an Associate Artist with Third Angel and several other companies and her plays have toured nationally to theatres and non-traditional spaces. She also specialises in collaborative writing and regularly works with schools, libraries, young offender programmes, mental health and homelessness organisations to create bespoke scripts and performances. Her children’s fiction has won the Mslexia Novel Competition, a Northern Writers’ Award and the Arvon Award.

Congratulations to Beth Davies – The Dead Cat Poetry Prize

Congratulations to Beth Davies of Hive Poetry Collective whose poem We Met You as a Dead Thing came second in The Dead Cat Poetry Prize – an annual poetry competition de(a)dicat(t)ed to the world’s best poetry about felines that have shuffled off their nine mortal coils. You can read her fine poem here.

We’re always looking for new young poets to join Hive Poetry Collective (currently running on Zoom)  Hive Poetry Collective is an every 2 or 3 weeks poetry workshop for young poets 17 to 30 yrs from across South Yorkshire (and nearby), who don’t attend another Hive group) While it’s currently online we are able to support young and emerging writers a little more further afield than South Yorkshire in the nearby north (so join us if you can!). Details here.

Beth Davies is a member of Hive’s poetry collective and the Writing Squad and a Sheffield Young Writers alumnus. She’s been published in various journals and magazines including Rust + Moth, Pulp Poets Press, The Kindling, Atrium and the Young Poets Network. Her work has appeared in various anthologies including Candlestick Press’ Ten Poems about Flowers, Valley Press’ Verse Matters and Hive’s Surfing The Twilight.

Between 2018 and 2020, Beth was editor of The Gentian, Durham University Poetry Society’s official online journal. She has also performed her work as part of South Yorkshire Poetry Festival 2017 and as part of the Hive 2020 showcase at Sheaf Poetry Festival.

Longley Park Workshops

If you’re a Longley Park Sixth Form student, you can sign up for one of three creative writing workshop through the day on Wednesday 16th June to work with our current Sheffield Poet Laureate Warda Yassin and Vicky Morris from Hive Young Writers network.

They’ll build your confidence and get you writing in relaxed and fun ways (small groups) and let you know about other opportunities for you to develop your writing and be part of a young writers’ community.

All welcome! You don’t need to think you’re a great writer to attend, just a keenness to try something new – the workshops are about sparking ideas and using your creative voice (not spelling and punctuation!) There’ll be no pressure to share what you write.

When: 16th June | Where: ILC space | pens and paper provided but bring a notepad if you wish

10:00am -11:45am
12:30pm – 2:15pm (female only)
2:30pm – 4:15pm

To book on: (details coming soon)

Check out Hive’s Young, Gifted & Black podcast below to see what emerging writers in the network are doing!

Warda Yassin is a British Somali poet and English teacher. She was awarded the Women Poets’ Prize 2020/21, and became Sheffield Poet Laureate in the same year. Warda writes about her Somali heritage and community and in 2018 was a winner of the New Poets Prize. Her debut pamphlet Tea with Cardamom came out with The Poetry Business in 2019. Warda has been a part of the South Yorkshire writers network (now Hive) for 8 years and recognises from her own experience, how it can support young people to reach their potential.

Vicky Morris is a poet and creative educator based in Sheffield. She’s been widely published in places like The Rialto, Under the Radar and The North and is the editor of four anthologies of poetry and fiction by young writers. Vicky has worked for many years developing young creatives across South Yorkshire and founded Hive Young Writers Project in 2016. In 2019 she received a Sarah Nulty Award for Creativity for her impact in the region. She is a recent Arvon/Jerwood mentee, and a current contributing editor at Poetry Wales. If All This Never Happened is her debut chapbook published by Southword Editions.