Shouting “Carnival” and whispering “Decay”

Photo by Gabriel Bolton

Photo by Gabriel Bolton

I’ve taken for my title a line from a fine poem read by Diana Hill at our December meeting. It was altogether a memorable meeting. Twenty-three of us met for supper beforehand (the food was excellent and the staff coped well with last-minute changes) and half a dozen more poets joined us for the meeting afterwards. We welcomed newcomers Linda, Andrew and Robin.

The poems covered a wide range, from an ode to a toad to a ballad about a lead-miners’ strike, from “Dionysus on the Pull” to “Shamanic Knitting”.

Jane Williams and two accomplices performed, with props, a pastiche of TS Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi”. Their version concerned three poets travelling from Wells to a  meeting of the East Coker Poetry Group. I wonder if this is the first poem to feature lines spoken by a sat-nav! It was, as they say, a very hard act to follow. Andy, however, rose to the occasion with his wonderful poem “The Button-box”. The evening was a very good mixture of the serious and the hilarious, the carnival and the decay.

Sara Butler’s poems remind me of the magic flowers we used to get in Christmas crackers – a tiny ball of coloured paper would expand, when dropped into a glass of water, into a beautiful and complex bloom. Sara’s poems are short, but they go on expanding in the mind. A short poem packed with layers of meaning is so much harder to write than a long one. Impact can often be in inverse proportion to length. Sara will be reading at the next “Poetry and a Pint” at St James’s Wine Vaults in St James Street, off Julian Road, Bath BA1 2TW, next Monday, 9th December at 8pm. Other readers will be Stephanie Boxall, Rosie Jackson and Louise Green. It should be a very good evening.

Sara will be chairing our next meeting, on January 6th, and as in previous years this will be the one occasion in the year when we are encouraged to bring favourite work by published poets to share with the group.

Lastly, I still have a few copies of this year’s anthology. Contact me if you want one.

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