“We know each other’s dark secrets” – says Scarlett Ward about the Black Country poetry scene

She organizes the spoken word events, on the last Thursday of every month, at Caffe del Nino in Cannock. Nominated at the Saboteur Awards 2018, providing nation wide recognition to open mic events, Scarlett’s evenings stand out through diversity, intensity and poetry quality. A soon to be published poet herself, she praises the local scene for its richness and friendliness. 

Before her next spoken word evening on August 30th, I wanted to learn about her journey as a poet.  When I performed at one of her evenings, she straight away recommended similar venues and happenings. I found out then about Brum Stanza, the writers’ meeting at Waterstone Birmingham.

Back to Scarlett, her poetry reveals as emotional, powerful, and crafted with unexpected words in a melodic flow. Watch her perform a love poem which brought a wide, bright smile on her face. Later on, she presents her second choice – a poetic piece talking about how she managed to stay alive. The flower seeds her sister gave her kept her going despite suicidal thoughts. With the flower long gone now, the poem remains and the choice to live.

Dad advised to refine her poetry and approach a publisher

While she inherited her mum’s love of nature and creativity, her dad influenced her choice of books as a child. Scarlett recalls:

“My dad’s a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, he’s got all the books. I remember being in awe of his collection. I’d always read what my dad was reading.”

Also, she says her father advised her not to rush into self publishing. He encouraged her to find her own voice and refine her writing, then approach a publisher. The rejections motivated her to work even more, which she thinks would not have happened if she self published. This lead to Scarlett now working with a publisher on a future volume. She will make the details available when agreed with the publisher.

Previously the poet featured in a “Diverse Verse” anthology of local poetry. Since then, she grew even more convinced of one day coordinating a collection and possibly even an online literature journal.

A vibrant and diverse Midlands poetry scene

Even before running her own spoken word event, Scarlett engaged actively with the local scene. From the Liechfield Poets, to the Stafford Poets and the Walsall Poets Society, to the Birmingham ones the Midlands buzz with poetic creativity.

Her favourite in Birmingham, a Beatfreeks event, gathers an audience of hundreds, Scarlett says. According to the Cannock poet, it had to change venue a number of times as it grew faster than anticipated.


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