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Helên Thomas is a prize-winning performance poet who is both versatile and original. Helên’s first taste of poetic success came in 1985 when she was a prize-winner in 'She' Magazine's National Poetry Competition with 'Ode To Bad Poetry'.
In October 2000 she won the Manchester Poetry Festival Slam.
She has performed at a range of venues including schools, libraries, tents, a canal barge, an ancient historical monument, lots of pubs, an inflatable peach and the occasional theatre.
She has wowed audiences from Borders books to the Bowery Club New York; from folk clubs to fringe festivals; from rural Cheshire to racy Reading. Special guest appearances include: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival; The Buxton Fringe Festival; Manchester Poetry Festival; The Bristol Poetry Festival; The Poetry Tent at Glastonbury; Chloe Poems’ ‘Wham bang Thank you Mam’ @ The Green Room, Manchester; The Ashton Court Festival, Bristol; The Lymm Festival; The Cheltenham Festival of Literature; The South Kensington Festival Stars of Slam; Big Mouth Cabaret, Bristol; Mouthtrap Cabaret, Reading; Rossendale Folk Festival; Jim Bennett’s Poetry Open Mic. at Border’s Books; The Castle Bar, Cardigan, and The Bowery Poetry Club New York.
Helên has organised events for Warrington’s Hot Wire Events and The Lymm Festival. She was actively involved in Warrington Community Press, which produced two publications one of which was ‘The Hotwire Slam Anthology’. She was commissioned to write a ten-minute performance poem to commemorate five years of The Lymm Festival; she has helped to judge the festival’s creative writing competition on three occasions.
In 2004 Helên devised a piece of performance for children called ‘We Are Poets’ along with primary school teacher Kate McGann. In the roles of Penelope Page and Gabby Mouth, Helên and Kate have provided workshops and performances to a numerous schools to critical acclaim. 'We Are Poets!' are no more but Helên still performs her poems and delivers workshops in primary schools as a solo stand up poet. See www.helendthomas.co.uk for details.
In 2003 Helên donated poems to a ground breaking e-book edited by Todd Swift, ‘100 Poets Against the War’ which went down in history as the fasted assembled poetry anthology of all time. This was later followed by, ‘Times New Roman’; ‘Poems for Lord Hutton’ and ‘Babylon Burning 9/11 Five Years On’. All are free to download from http://www.nthposition.com
The site also includes some of Helên’s poetry on its regular poetry pages:
‘Babylon Burning’ is also available to buy in print form from print on demand publisher Lulu at: http://www.lulu.com/content/447370
January 2008 saw the publication of the ‘We Are Poets!’ book, Helên's poetry collection for 7-11 year olds. The book is packed full of madcap characters such as obese fruit bats, rock star maggots, myopic professors and lots of naughty, grubby, scabby children an is illustrated by Paul Neads. For a sample taster, please visit www.flapjackpress.co.uk
Helên’s poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies both in print and online:
‘Hopelessness and Other Hobbies’, Helên’s self published chap book, 2001
‘Slam! The Hotwire Anthology’, Pyramid Press 2002.
‘Shortfuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry’, Rattapallax Press, 2002.
‘In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining itself Vol. 6’, MW Enterprises, 2005.
‘Venue Magazine’ Bristol, 2006.
‘Taste’, clan-u press, 2006.
‘The Ugly Tree Magazine’. Issues 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19 & 20 www.flapjackpress.co.uk
‘Citizen 32 Magazine’. Issues 3 & 4
‘This poem is sponsored by.’ Corporate Watch's 10 year anniversary anthology. February 2007.
‘In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining itself Vol. 7’, MW Enterprises, 2007.
'We Are Poets!' Flapjack Press publications 2008 www.flapjackpress.co.uk
'Best of Manchester Poets, Volume 1.' Puppywolf June 2010
More recently Helên has been putting her poems to music and has collaborated with a number of musicians aswell as creating musical backings for her poems herself. The results can be heard on www.reverbnation.com/helenthomas where you will also find the occasional free download.
In 2009 she joined forces with musician Owen J. to form electro synth pop combo 'Tingle In The Netherlands'. For more on that please visit www.nerveecho.com
In December 2011 Helên was featured poet in issue #97 of The Poetry Kit's 'Caught In The Net' series.
Also in 2011 Helên produced a CD of poems for children, some set to music and backing beats. Available to listen or download from www.helnthomas.bandcamp.com
You can also see some of Helên's performances on youtube:
'On Being A White Square'
'Love Poem For My Disco Glitter Ball'
Comments and Quotes
“A surreal burlesque with permission to rhyme… a lyrical super-hero!”
"Helên Thomas is a proven performance poet with a broad and incisive repertoire and the happy knack of saying the right thing at the right time for the right audience – whether they know it or not."
(Paul Neads, Editor of 'The Ugly Tree' Flapjack Press.)
"Helên Thomas is one of the UK's very best performance poets - and a witty, crafty, formally inventive writer for the page, as well.”
(Todd Swift. Editor of ‘Shortfuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry’ Rattapallax Press, 2002)
“Helên Thomas’ irreverent style and soft-sound intonations were spot on as she served up snack after snack of poetic fare.”
(‘Literally Speaking’, Cheltenham Festival of Literature 2002)
“Look out for the poems on domestic items which are beautifully timed.”
(The List, Edinburgh)
“One of the Northwest’s funniest, LOUDEST and most original poets!”
(Buxton Fringe Festival)
"As good as dancing round your handbag to the sparkle of a glitterball. Helên Thomas is as high octane as a girls’ night out with karaoke, sponsored by Stella. Helên successfully engages her audience with everyday musings on the world so that you're left thinking - I wish I'd said that. Read, listen, but most of all enjoy."
(Rosemary Dun, poet and promoter of Big Mouth Cabaret, Bristol.)
“I think you are going to be the world’s greatest poem writer in the whole wild world.”
“I love your poems so much, I think you deserve a treat.”
(Pupils at Holy Spirit Primary School, Netherton.)
Comments re. the 'We Are Poets!' anthology of children's poetry:
"The ‘We Are Poets!’ anthology is a collection that should be in every school library… a wonderful book by a great poet! "
(Jim Bennett, Managing Editor of The Poetry Kit)
"This book of young people’s verse will have your sprogs agog with humour, both cheeky and endearing. The right side of risky and just a little frisky, ‘We Are Poets!’ by Helên Thomas promises mirth and learning from the offset."
(Gerry Potter, previously known as Chloe Poems, Gingham Diva.)
You can view and / or listen to samples of Helên's work at the following sites:
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
Link to Poetry Kit 'Caught In The Net' # 97 (02/02/2012)
Everybody Everywhere Stomp Your Feet! (07/11/2011)
Two more youtube clips from me (05/01/2010)
I'm on youtube! (29/07/2009)
Scabby Knees! (06/02/2009)
Seize the Day (27/01/2009)
Memory Beach (10/01/2009)
Blog link: http://www.writeoutloud.net/blogs/helnthomas
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