Who, what, when, where?

A lively group of poets has been meeting monthly in and around the city of Wells, Somerset, for over fifteen years. There is usually a guest poet in the first half, time for drinks and conversation in the interval, and readings from the floor in the second half. These do not need to be pre-booked; just turn up and you will be made welcome.

The charge is currently £2 or £3, depending on the venue. Meetings start promptly at 8pm and finish about 9.45. They are friendly and informal. There is a lot of laughter and occasionally a few tears. We listen in a spirit of respect to every poem, whether it comes from a published poet or a complete beginner. Each reader gets a chance to read two (shortish) poems. Some people come just to listen, and some listeners become contributors.

Guest poets booked so far for the rest of 2018 are as follows:


July 2 at Cordis Mundi, Bove Town, Glastonbury Melanie Branton
Melanie’s first collection, My Cloth-Eared Heart (2017) is published by Oversteps Books.

Her poems have been published in a number of print and online journals, including Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Clear Poetry, Clockwise Cat, The High Window, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Light, Lighten Up Online, Message In A Bottle, Monkey Kettle, Obsessed With Pipework, Prole, Snakeskin, South, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, and The Spectator.

She has performed headline or feature slots at (amongst others): Cafe La Dada, Bath; The Berkeley Square Poetry Revue, Bristol; Can Openers, Bristol; Hammer and Tongue, Bristol; Milk, Bristol; Raising The Bar, Bristol; Satellite of Love, Bristol; Cheddar Poetry Night; Taking the Mic, Exeter; Pucker Poets, Plymouth; Rhymewarp, Plymouth; The Front Room, Portsmouth; Hammer and Tongue, Southampton; Ooh Beehive!, Swindon; Poetry Island, Torquay; Stanza Extravaganza, Torquay; Word Mustard, Weston-super-Mare.

She came second in the Bristol Poetry Festival Slam in 2014 and 2017 and won the Hammer and Tongue Bristol regional final in 2015 and the Superheroes of Slam Bristol heat in 2017.

No meeting in August

Sept 3

Oct 1 David Punter Professor of Poetry, University of Bristol, and co-director of the Bristol Poetry Institute.
David Punter

His publications include China and Glass (Bran’s Head Press, 1985); Lost in the Supermarket (Open Heart, Hong Kong, 1987); Asleep at the Wheel (Amani, 1996); Selected Short Stories (Hub Editions, 1999); Foreign Ministry (Hub Editions, 2011); and Bristol: 21 Poems (Amazon, 2017). In 2014 he brought out an audio-CD of his work, Flashes in the Dark.

His poetry and short stories have been published in a huge variety of magazines in the UK and North America. His poetry has won prizes in the Liverpool International Poetry Festival, the Yeovil Literary Festival, and the Mere Literary Festival. His work touches on celebration and loss, delight and grief. Some of it is based in dream; other poems are rigorously formal. His most recent work, like ‘The Ballad of Refuge’, which was featured on the National Poetry Society website, has turned to political themes, especially those concerning the current disasters of global economics; at the same time, he keeps a firm poetic foothold in his current home city of Bristol and its environs.

Nov 5

Dec 3

Guest poets who came to us in 2017/8:

Feb 6 2017   Linda Saunders
Linda’s first full-length collection, Ways of Returning (Arrowhead Press), was short-listed for the Jerwood Aldeburgh prize: ‘[She] applies words to subtle experiences as a painter might use paint, for their texture, balance and tone, with attention to each brush stroke’ – Philips Gross. A second collection, The Watchers, was also published by Arrowhead: ‘These poems are beautifully structured, evocative and tender, with such a strong feel for the brilliance of each minute inside passing time’ – Helen Dunmore. Her most recent collection is A Touch on the Remote (Worple Press): ‘In these skilful, lyrical, often quiet poems, Saunders shows the world cherished by our watchfulness, life lived in rapt attention’ – Carrie Etter.

Mar 6   Tom Sastry
Tom Sastry was born in 1974. He is a second generation Original. His mother is Originally English and his father Originally Indian. He grew up in Buckinghamshire and has lived in Bristol since 1999. He thinks that not belonging is more interesting than belonging. He enjoys having to deny that he is an anarchist.He was chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of the 2016 Laureate’s Choice poets and the resulting pamphlet Complicity was published by Smith/Doorstop in October 2016. “Tom Sastry navigates the mysterious everyday in this honest and often funny collection, making friendships and love affairs new and strange.” – Carol Ann Duffy.

May 1  Claire Coleman
Claire is a poet, gardener, Fool and co-founder of Festival of Fools and Touch and Go Theatre Company. She has worked as a clown, circus performer, teacher and youth worker. Fooling is a present that opens her to unmapped places. Latest news 25th April:
Claire has been short-listed in the National Memory Day Poetry Competition – and it’s a very short list!

June 5  Gram Joel Davies
Gram lives in Somerset and reads with Juncture 25 Poets. His collection  Bolt Down This Earth  is published by V. Press and can be bought from Gram’s website. It has already been nominated for the Forward Prize.

July 3   Annie Fisher
Annie is a freelance literacy consultant and storyteller. She enjoys writing both light and serious verse and has had poems published in a number of on-line and print magazines. Annie’s pamphlet Infinite in all Perfections  was published at the end of 2016 by Happenstance.

No meeting in August.

September 4 Jo Waterworth
Jo is a long-standing and much-loved member of the Fountain Poets. Her latest pamphlet Paper Islands was launched on 17th June at ACE Arts, Somerton. Her poems work on more than one level; they are inventive, often playful and always surprising.

October 2 Tom Sastry
A return visit by Tom, who delighted us in March.

November 6 Rosie Jackson
Rosie’s particular passions are exploring the links between writing and visual arts, and the role of the creative arts in health.

December 4 Jinny Fisher
Jinny is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who began writing poems a few years ago and has been reading with the Fountain Poets for some time. She lives in Somerset and is a member of Juncture 25 and Wells Fountain Poets. Magazine publications include The Interpreter’s House, Under the Radar, and Prole. Her many-layered poems are often suffused with dark mystery.

Feb 5 2018 Rachael Clyne.
Rachael is a long-standing member of the group. Her work work appears in various magazines and online, also in anthologies: The Very Best of 52, Book of Love and Loss, Poems for a Liminal Age. Her prizewinning collection, Singing at the Bone Tree concerns our relationship with the wild.  For more click here.

April 9  Deborah Harvey 

Deborah has  three collections of poetry, Communion (2011), Map Reading For Beginners (2014), and Breadcrumbs (2016), all published by Indigo Dreams.  Her novel, Dart, about life on Dartmoor during the Black Death, was published under their Tamar Books imprint in 2013.  All are available from the Indigo Dreams websiteAmazon and good independent bookshops.

May 7 Conor Whelan.
Conor 2 small
Conor studied Literature and Theatre Studies at Leeds, trained at London International School of Performing Arts, and currently lives in his home town, Bath.  While at uni, he was Editor of The Scribe Magazine, and a regular on the Yorkshire poetry circuit, he performed on local radio, and at Ilkley Literature, Headingly Literature, Small World and Over the Moon Festivals.  Publications include: Reach, Poetry and Audience, Cadaverine, The Scribe, Young Poets Network Magazines; Stand as the Barefoot in Park Publication Prize; Incandescent Poetry Volume 1.  He was Fiction and Poetry Editor for Dead Ink Books; a playwright, with plays including Bubbles at the West Yorkshire Playhouse; an actor, having toured Italy and performed at Edinburgh Fringe in Splinters of Light (4*, Scotsman, Three Weeks).  He writes about wild places and being optimistic despite the evidence.

June 21 “The Langport Moot“, a joint venture between us, the East Coker Poetry Group and Fire River Poets from Taunton. We enjoyed a brilliant midsummer day of walking, writing and reading.


5 thoughts on “Who, what, when, where?

  1. Collette Lord

    Thank you for making me feel so welcome at my first “reading” visit to Fountain Poets. I heard a wonderfully eclectic range of poems, which were read in a variety of styles, giving me food for thought on my own work. Collette Lord

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