Yesterday, to celebrate International Women’s Day, I read a few poems from my collections, A Model Archaeologist, Chemotherapy for the Soul, Toebirds & Woodlice and Metamorphosis of Woman/Realms of Man at the International Women’s Day Poetry event in Belfast. The event saw 12 poets (myself included) reading work at the Intercontinental pub.

This was my first reading in almost 2 years, since life events came in between: relocating from London to Belfast, a broken foot, pregnancy and new parenthood. I must admit, it felt good to shake off the open mic cobwebs and get back into Spoken Word events after so long.

There was a good mix of poetry on the night: poems in English and Spanish, thought-provoking poems about sexism, stereotypes and equality, and heavier topics such as surviving rape and coping after stillbirth. It was good to see an equal turnout of male, female and non-binary poets, as had been advertised, not to mention diversity in verse: French and Spanish speaking poets as well as local.

As for me, I chose to read a selection of serious and zany poems from my work, keeping the focus on the topic of women, to mark the occasion. It’s always hard to know exactly what an audience want, but I was happy to hear laughs at the right moments, which is a good enough gauge of reception for me.

The event was organised by The Thing With Feathers in case any other local poets want to see other future events.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019. Leilanie has also published four poetry collections: Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015); Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their rambunctious toddler, a voracious reader of dinosaur board books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.wordpress.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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