writing steampunk poems:
Recently I contacted Ben Henderson, who, along with his wife Tixia, organises the annual Surrey Steampunk Convivial, to see if I could offer my poetic services. He was very kind and accommodated my idea of having a steampunk poetry workshop as part of the event, which took place last weekend. I arrived bright and early on the day, to the Royal Oak pub in New Malden, the main venue for this weekend festival, along with the Christchurch Centre, conveniently across the road from the pub. The place was already buzzing with stalls selling various wonderful steampunk accoutrements in the shape of dragon-dwelling hats, goggles and spectacles, be-cogged and geared jewellery and vintage steampunk-style outfits.
There were already several steampunks milling about wearing fantastic garb, drinking tea, and settling in for the excitement to come. A few people dared to try out a writing exercises or two and below is my friend Anna’s rather marvellous poem, which captures the spirit of the Convivial perfectly:
Anna Stickney’s poem:
I wandered lonely as a clockwork snail,
that clanks along o’er cranky planks,
when all at once I saw a crowd,
a host, of extravagant steampunks
beside the cakes, beneath the teapot,
duelling and posing at the Royal Oak.
loading the specially-built cannon for the ‘fling a familiar’ contest
The two days were a blur of familiar-flinging, snail-racing, tea-duelling, steampunk morris dancing, belly dancing, anamatronic steampunk R&B, snake-snuggling, beer drinking, corset-limbo, radio-play performing, superb steampunk dj soundtracks, shadow-puppet theatre, intellectual superciliousness slamming, storytelling, great live music and bands to dance to and many other bizarre, eccentric and hilarious-but-always so so stylish- steampunk occupations to keep everyone busy.
‘Be Splendid’ is the motto of the steampunk, and indeed it was, and as well as all the fun and frivolity, the Convivial was marked by the friendliness, generosity, good humour and welcoming attitude of everyone there, especially to the newbies amongst us, of which I was one. But- no more a newbie- I am hoping to be back for more creative steampunk mayhem this August, when, due to its’ popularity, there will be a second Surrey Steampunk Convivial of 2015, where I hear rumours of marquees in the beer garden…and possibly flamingo croquet…?
So please, grab your top hat, goggles, corset and kraken….and join in the fun!
More pics from the event below.
For more information head over to the Surrey Steampunk Convivial website here.
Diggory mole makes it into the hat
the purple platypus winner
‘around the world in 8o days’ radio play
tense atmosphere at the tea-duelling
preparing to snail race
me, trying to hold on to the super-speedy corn snake
sword-wielding belly dancers!
the winner of corset limbo shows how it’s done
Darren Gooding’s amazing storytelling
shadow puppet theatre!
audience participation invloved languishing and carrying a bagful of sky
intellectual superciliousness slam…nincompoops!
me reading some steampunk’d poems
the marvellous Moth with Ben and Tixia