Here comes the bride …

Well now, it’s one thing to create and perform a show at the Oxford Playhouse, but quite another to be commissioned to write and perform a poem for someone’s wedding. What an honour. But what a responsibility!

Mandy and Geoff commissioned me to write a poem to be performed as part of their wedding ceremony, which took place in York last Saturday. And as I sat in the Register Office waiting for the ceremony to begin, I felt the weight of that responsibility very keenly.

You see, neither Mandy nor Geoff had seen the poem beforehand. We’d all agreed that it would be a surprise for them. And I hoped with all my heart that it would be a good surprise!

My poem had had to be vetted in advance by the Register Office, and I had been relieved when I heard that it had cleared that hurdle. But would it pass the most important test of all: would the bride and groom approve?

Mandy and Geoff wed in York

Mandy and Geoff wed in York

And the answer is ….? Well, here’s a snippet of their email to me afterwards:

‘Thank you SO VERY MUCH from the bottom of our hearts for your fantastic poem/tribute!!!!’

I’d like to publicly thank Mandy and Geoff for entrusting me with such a crucial part of their most special day. And I’d like to wish them all the very very best for their future life together.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

The Royal Wedding

Well, I certainly hadn’t expected that I would end up as part of the BBC Radio York Royal Wedding commentary team on Friday, but that’s exactly how things turned out …

The Royal Wedding in BBC Radio York's Breakfast Show studio, with host Adam Tomlinson and Fashion City York's Russell Norton

The Royal Wedding in BBC Radio York's Breakfast Show studio, with host Adam Tomlinson and Fashion City York's Russell Norton

I had been invited in to encourage BBC Radio York listeners to write some Royal Wedding ‘ditties’, and to perform some Royal Wedding poems of my own, which I duly did:

But as the morning went on, and the guests arrived in their stunning (and not so stunning) hats, and Princes William and Harry set off for Westminster Abbey, I became more and more engrossed in the spectacle …

and more and more carried away by the whole affair …

And along with Russell Norton of Fashion City York, I stayed right up to the moment Kate Middleton entered Westminster Abbey at 11 o’clock, at which point BBC Radio York handed over to Radio 4 for coverage of the wedding service itself.

As Kate made her way to Westminster Abbey, I was serenading her (had she but known it) and the Radio York listeners with a poem:

When I left the BBC Radio York studios in the centre of York, I was greeted by the fabulous sound of the bells of York Minster pealing in celebration:

Then I made my way back to my home village of Heslington …

Heslington Village decked out for the Royal Wedding

Heslington Village decked out for the Royal Wedding

… for our Royal Wedding street party:

Our Royal Wedding Street Party, 29 April 2011

Our Royal Wedding Street Party, 29 April 2011

Many thanks to host Adam Tomlinson and all the team at BBC Radio York for inviting me to be part of this historic day.

A shop window display in Bootham, York, on Royal Wedding Day, 29 April 2011

Janette Ray Antiquarian Booksellers' window display in Bootham, York, on Royal Wedding Day, 29 April 2011

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz

Visit York!

Wednesday was a good day for my home city of York.

In the afternoon, York was declared the ‘Best Small City in Britain’ by Rough Guides.

And then in the evening, the people behind the very best attractions in York were honoured in the Visit York Tourism Awards.

The event was a gala evening held at the Knavesmire in York, ably hosted by Adam Tomlinson of BBC Radio York.

I was commissioned to write and perform a poem to introduce the contenders for a new Visit York award entitled ‘My York Favourite’ which had been voted for by the public.

Performing at the Visit York Tourism Awards, April 2011

Performing at the Visit York Tourism Awards, April 2011

I thoroughly enjoyed researching, writing and performing the poem. The response to it?

Well, the organiser of the event, Alison Ruddick, said:

‘To have you perform really reinvigorated the event and brought something new to it … You held the room brilliantly and this was down to you giving a really great, animated performance – so thank you very much indeed.’

Other feedback included ‘Brilliant’, ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Stunning’. So, mission accomplished there!

A big Thank You to Visit York‘s PR Manager Kay Hyde, whose idea it was to commission this poem.

And most of all, congratulations to all the winners (and all those who were shortlisted), who make York such a great place to live and visit.

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz

New Year’s Eve on Woman’s Hour

I had the great good fortune to spend New Year’s Eve in Manchester, being interviewed by Jenni Murray on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. During the interview I performed several of my poems, including ‘Madame Honfleur’ (about the Tree bumblebee that recently arrived on our shores) and a new poem specially commissioned by Woman’s Hour for the New Year.

Listen to me on the programme

The BBC's Manchester studios, where I went for my Woman's Hour appearance

The BBC’s Manchester studios, where I went for my Woman’s Hour appearance

I’ve been taken aback by the massive amount of feedback I’ve had from this appearance –  people sending wonderful comments to me by email, tweet and facebook, and ordering my Buzzing! CD and my ‘2009 in Rhyme’ CD. Thank you to all of you who’ve contacted me. It’s great to know I’ve put a smile on so many people’s faces.

2010 has been quite a radio-packed year, one way and another, beginning with a poem for Julia Booth on BBC Radio York in January, and moving on to a commission from the Radio 2 Arts Show for World Poetry Day in March and one from the BBC World Service in October.

So, now we’re into 2011, and I’m looking forward to including some of these poems in the Rhymes of the Times show I’m performing on Saturday 29th January as part York Residents Festival, and the Buzzing! show (that will include ‘Madame Honfleur’) that I’m performing at York Theatre Royal on Saturday 19th March.

Hope to see some of you there! (email me for details)

Meanwhile, Happy New Year  to one and all!

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.bizinfo@theBigBuzz.biz

Ooo – I’m a boo …

Due to popular demand, the BBC has made the poem I wrote for the World Service’s One Planet programme available as a ‘boo’ at audioboo.fm

To hear my poem, ‘My Biodiverse City’, as a boo,  click here.

And to find out more about One Planet and the poem I wrote for them click here.

Tansy beetle in York. Photo © Anneliese Emmans Dean

Tansy beetle in York. Photo © Anneliese Emmans Dean

Anneliese Emmans Dean info@theBigBuzz.bizwww.theBigBuzz.biz

A poem for the BBC World Service

It’s not every day that I get asked to write and perform a poem to be heard by 50 million people around the world. But that’s exactly what happened this week.

The BBC World Service’s flagship environment programme, One Planet, commissioned me to write a poem about the wildlife of my home city, York, here in England. My poem is included in this week’s programme, broadcast to coincide with an important UN biodiversity conference taking place in Japan.

In my poem, ‘My Biodiverse City’, I highlight some of the wildlife wonders that so enrich my life in York – including the stunning Tansy beetle, which is only found along the banks of the river Ouse here.

Tansy beetle in York. Photo © Anneliese Emmans Dean

Tansy beetle in York. Photo © Anneliese Emmans Dean

York is justly famous around the world for its history, but less so for its natural history. It was great to have the opportunity to celebrate some of the wildlife we have here too.

You can hear me performing ‘My Biodiverse City’ at the One Planet page of the BBC’s website (click on the 28.10.10 episode), or as an audioboo here. And there are some photos of mine to accompany the poem at One Planet’s flickr pages.

And if you’d like to find out more about the wildlife of York – in verse – then come along to my award-winning Buzzing! show, which celebrates just that in poetry, music and projected images. I perform versions for adults, for families and for schools.

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.bizinfo@theBigBuzz.biz

World Poetry Day thrill

Today is not only the first day of Spring, it’s also World Poetry Day. What a great combination!

To mark the beginning of Spring, we had a visit from a Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee, who spent much time in our garden sunbathing, preening and looking for a suitable nest site, as you can hear here:

To mark World Poetry Day, I was invited to discuss poetry on the Radio 2 Arts Show with presenter Eve Pollard and – what a thrill! – the most marvellous Roger McGough.

The Arts Show also commissioned me to write a poem for the occasion, ‘And the winner is …’, which I read live on air. You can read my poem here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rdw9j

and listen to the poem here:

World Poetry Day is a UNESCO initiative, and the poets they are promoting particularly this year are the Indian Tagore, the Chilean Neruda and Césaire from Martinique.

If you’d like to find out more about any of these poets, then I think a good place to start is with Neruda’s ‘Arte de Pajaros’ (Art of Birds). If your Spanish isn’t tip-top, then try the bilingual edition published by Lynx which has beautiful colour illustrations.

Now that Spring has sprung, the birds in our garden are starting to sing gloriously. Enjoy the poetry of the birdsong where you are!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzzinfo@theBigBuzz.biz