There’s a chance to have your poetry published in a 20-page pamphlet while also supporting the homeless, with the added benefit of being selected by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. The Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition is unusual as the entry fee per poem is just £2.50 to make it possible for everybody to have a try. The winner will also be selected on the basis of just one prizewinning poem (maximum length 40 lines), so you don’t have to submit the whole pamphlet for a chance of being published. If you want to submit more poems there are discounts, with 6 poems costing just £10.

This is the first year for the Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition and it’s the initiative of poet Ruth O’Callaghan, founder and organiser of the Camden and Lumen Poetry Series. This popular project supports the homeless in the Cold Weather Shelters in the Camden and Kings Cross areas of London, and all income from the competition will go to support the same cause. None of the people involved in organising the competition will take any income from it, so it’s set to give a real boost to the amount donated by the project every year.

Poetry is really making a practical difference in helping the homeless thanks to Ruth’s tireless efforts and wonderful new initiatives. The Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition will not just benefit the people in the Cold Weather Shelters, but it will also help a poet to get their pamphlet into print. With entries invited from all over the world there will be poets of all standards joining in to help raise money for charity while competing for the prestigious prize of being selected by Carol Ann Duffy, patron of the Camden and Lumen Poetry Series.

The winner will receive 50 copies of their pamphlet to keep, sell, or give to friends. They will also be invited to read at the regular Lumen and Camden venues, if they can make it and would like to, and their pamphlets will also be offered for sale online and at the twice-monthly events. All money raised from pamphlet sales by the publishers and by the Camden and Lumen project will go to the Cold Weather Shelters.

The closing date is early next year on February 14th, but it’s never too soon to enter. Entry fees received from now on will go towards helping the Cold Weather shelters as winter approaches. The pamphlet will be published by Ward Wood Publishing, and full details on how to enter are on the website http://www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk

You can enter by post by sending your poems and a cheque to Ruth O’Callaghan, or you can send the poems by post and pay by Paypal if you prefer. For international and other entries it’s possible to enter by using Paypal and then either posting the poems or sending them in an email. Regulars at events can hand their entry to Ruth, who will pass them on to Carol Ann Duffy. Full details are on the Ward Wood website.

Do join in and also post details about this competition on your own blogs and websites as the competition is likely to raise a substantial amount to help the homeless while also giving a poet a highly desirable prize.

On July 13th there’s a chance to read at open mic after three of our best-loved and strongest women poets: Elaine Feinstein, Mimi Khalvati and Fiona Sampson. The atmosphere in the room at our Lumen venue is sure to be electric, so try not to miss this one. With such a wonderful event it’s sure to bring together all the regulars plus plenty of newcomers, so the poetry will mix with a chance to socialise over wine and soft drinks with friends old and new.

If you’re new to the Camden and Lumen Poetry Series then the format is that booked poets are invited to read in the first and second half, with an interval for wine, soft drinks and chat in the middle. Poets from the floor are called up by our organiser, the poet Ruth O’Callaghan, so if you’d like to read then bring along one poem of up to 40 lines. When you come in you’ll be able to put your name on a list to be called, and if you leave a copy of the poem with your contact details it will be sent to the editor of next year’s anthology for consideration. All proceeds from entrance, drinks table, and book sales (the books have been generously donated by publishers) go to support the Cold Weather Shelters for the homeless.

What a wonderful line-up there is for this event at Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place, within walking distance of Russell Square, St Pancras and Euston stations.  Full details are on the Events page.

Penelope Shuttle and Fiona Sampson are two of the well-known poets supporting Seeking Refuge, the latest anthology from the Camden and Lumen Poetry project in aid of the homeless. Each year Ruth O’Callaghan organises regular open mics with all proceeds going to the Cold Weather Shelters, and readers can submit the poems they perform for inclusion in this prestigious anthology.

Jan Fortune-Wood selected the best poems from last year’s open mics and edited Seeking Refuge, which has been published by Cinnamon Press this year. The standard of the poems is high, and the collection also makes poetry accessible, so the anthology is a perfect gift as Jan indicates: ‘This is real poetry with a real purpose – accessible, entertaining, varied and able to make a difference. Seeking Refuge is both a great way to get into poetry and a fantastic way to support an essential charity housing London’s homeless.’

Seeking Refuge is already available from Inpress Books, and as all proceeds go to the Cold Weather Shelters it’s worth getting a copy and a few extra to give as gifts. The launch, on May 9th in the Lumen venue, is sure to be a vibrant and sociable event, with the selected poets reading their Seeking Refuge poem, and copies available for purchase.

Check the Events and Publications pages for full details, and a link to the book on Inpress is on the left.

If you’re a bluechrome author and would like to take part in a special reading organised by Sue Guiney then get in touch. bluechrome authors are invited to read from their books at this event, with proceeds going to support the Cold Weather Shelters.

Sue is known at the Camden and Lumen events and was in the last anthology, Genius Floored. The Camden and Lumen project also includes other bluechrome authors, so if this sounds like you then leave a comment here if you’d like to take part.

You can also ask to take part by clicking on the Facebook link to the left of this page and leave a comment there, or ask at the next Camden or Lumen event. Even if you haven’t been involved with Camden and Lumen or the Cold Weather Shelters before this could be a good time to start if you’re a bluechrome author or would like to attend the event.

This reading is likely to be quite a get-together as the bluechrome authors are a wonderful bunch and it’s a pity this publisher is no longer active. It will be a celebration of the creative talent of the authors and a time to move on to new projects.

This event could go on tour,  and if you’d like to arrange a similar one in your region let Adele Ward know so that she can help you get the word out.

The event will be in St Benet Church, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4ER on Thursday, 22 April at 6.30pm for 7.00pm. Admission will be £4 and will go to support the Cold Weather Shelters.

There’s now a Facebook group for Camden and Lumen Poetry. This has been set up in response to feedback about the website, because people said they liked to be able to keep in touch online between events. This is particularly important for participants who enjoy the project but live all over the UK and beyond, and might not be able to get to London regularly.

The Facebook group will also let other people find out about Camden and Lumen Poetry and all members will be able to invite people from their contacts list. It’s such a worthwhile project to champion poetry and to help the homeless, and this should help spread the word.

It’s also possible to leave comments on the Facebook group page, and there’s a discussion forum if you’d like to raise some topics for debate. It doesn’t all have to be serious. Just introducing yourself and putting a link to your website is a great idea. Although many people at the events know each other well, a website link helps newcomers and let’s us all pass an enjoyable time reading each other’s work.

To get to the Facebook group you can click on the link to the left of this page. Alternatively you can search for Camden and Lumen when you’re on Facebook. Let the conversations begin!

Last year Camden and Lumen Poetry raised £3840 for the homeless by contributing to the Cold Weather Shelters. This income was raised at the popular poetry events in Buck Street, Camden, and in the Lumen venue, near Kings Cross. Money comes  from the entrance fee to events, book sales, the popular raffle, and the wine and soft drinks bar.

Extra money is raised from sales of the annual anthology and from books donated by publishers. The events are always well attended so poetry played a major part in helping the homeless through this last hard winter, thanks to the efforts of organiser Ruth O’Callaghan and the poets of Camden and Lumen who make it such a vibrant project.

Ruth announced the total raised for the year at the last event in Camden, and added later: ‘Due to the recession it was extra hard work – but not so hard as sleeping out on the streets this bitter winter.’

The last anthology, called Genius Floored, has an excellent selection of poems by well-known poets and by poets who read at the Camden and Lumen events (and the regulars also include published poets). Poets who read at each open mic can submit the poem they present to be considered for the next anthology.

You can find details of how to get a copy of the last anthology on our Publications page, and Jan Fortune-Wood is currently editing the anthology from last year’s readers to be published in May 2010 by Cinnamon Press.

Each year a publisher sponsors publication of the collection, and the anthology last year and in the coming year are both sponsored by John Anderson of Soaring Penguin Publications. To find out the times and dates of the next events take a look at our Events page.

Carol Ann Duffy is the new patron of Camden and Lumen Poetry, finding time in her busy schedule as Poet Laureate to give her support. Ruth O’Callaghan, Camden and Lumen’s organiser, sent out this exciting information in an email and also told the audience at the last poetry event in Camden. Standing on stage in the Buck Street venue, Ruth gave the news to the large audience she always attracts with her tireless efforts. Proceeds from the project go to support the Cold Weather Shelters, which have been so vital in the past few months, and Carol Ann Duffy’s support will give this an extra boost.

These regular evenings have well-known authors alongside aspiring new poets, and offer publishers and magazine editors the chance to present some of their writers before the open mic session begins. Ruth also invites favourite poets to read, so the evenings often include familiar and well-loved names. In May of each year a selection of poems presented by poets from the floor in open mic appear in an anthology alongside some of our best known poets.

Carol Ann Duffy’s support will raise the prestige of Camden and Lumen Poetry, which is already a well-established and popular project thanks to Ruth’s hard work. This will benefit the Cold Weather Shelters and will also give extra encouragement and inspiration to the poets who perform at each event and put forward their poems to be considered for the anthology.

Welcome to Camden and Lumen Poetry. This is the place to find news about Camden and Lumen poetry, including details on forthcoming events. It’s also the place to give your feedback on Camden and Lumen Poetry by commenting on the posts. We hope you find our site useful for up-to-date information and that it will provide an online way to keep in touch between events. Newcomers are always welcome.

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