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 an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her writing centres around protagonists who are on a journey of self-discovery and who explore their identity by overcoming adversity. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing ezine, with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from literary pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of construction vehicle books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://mailchi.mp/17e6ca162ff3/leilanie-stewart-author

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