Who, what, when, where?

A lively group of poets has been meeting monthly in and around the city of Wells, Somerset, for over seventeen years. For the last few years we have had a guest poet, time for drinks and conversation in the interval, and readings from the floor. These do not need to be pre-booked; just turn up and you will be made welcome.

The charge is currently £3, so that we can pay our guest poets. Meetings start promptly at 8pm and finish about by 10pm. 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.

As of February 2019, we are a Stanza Group of the Poetry Society. Non-members are always welcome.

Guest poets booked so far for 2020 are as follows:

THE NEXT FEW MEETINGS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED: they will be rescheduled when the current emergency is over.

Monday 6th April at Cordis Mundi, Bove Town, Glastonbury BA6 8JG: LZRD– click on the link to see a few of these poems full of marvel and mystery, written in symbiosis by 
Penelope Shuttle and 
Dr Alyson Hallett

In this collection of poems drawn from the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, land is not just alive and singing, it’s full of mischief and mystery and power.

 Beaches, serpentine stone, cliffs, chips: the Lizard is a prayer book with the pages in a deliberate wrong order.  The Lizard is a church made of celtic air.

 Everything is tinged with salt and freshened with a breeze that’s fast and furious off the sea. St. Keverne, Cury, Ruan Minor – wherever LZRD goes, it invites you to the party.

This book opens its doors and says come in, come with us as we travel across this magical land.

Alyson Hallett is a prize-winning poet and Hawthornden Fellow whose latest books include Toots (Mariscat Press, 2017), Walking Stumbling Limping Falling (Triarchy Press, 2017) a conversation with walking artist Phil Smith, and LZRD, a collaboration with Penelope Shuttle. Alyson’s poetry has been carved into Milsom Street pavement in Bath, into a companion stone in the Peak district and etched into a library window in Bristol. A commitment to collaboration and embedding text in public places is central to her practice. She has worked, and continues to work, with dancers, musicians, scientists, visual artists and sculptors.

Besides publishing six books and pamphlets of poetry, Alyson has also written drama and an audio-diary for BBC Radio 4; an essay on Chalk for BBC Radio 3; drama for Sky Television; a book of short stories. She has a practice-based PhD in poetry, and is a freelance lecturer at the University of the West of England and Falmouth University. She has taught with the Arvon Foundation, runs a private mentoring programme, and gives workshops and readings in the UK and abroad.

Since 2001, Alyson has curated the international poetry-as-public-art project, The Migration Habits of Stones, and has sited work in the UK, USA and Australia. In 2010, she was the UK’s first poet-in-residence in a university geography department as part of the Leverhulme Trust’s artist-in-residence scheme. Six Days in Iceland (Dropstone Press), a book of poetry, photographs and scientific text written in collaboration with Professor Chris Caseldine, resulted from this.

Before writing full time, Alyson worked as a cleaner; a postwoman; a housekeeper on the Isle of Iona; a mental health worker for MIND and the Richmond Fellowship. Joining a creative-writing group in Pollokshields Library, Glasgow, led to the moment when she dared to change direction and follow her dreams.

Penelope Shuttle has made her home in Cornwall since 1970 and the county’s mercurial weather and rich history are continuing sources of inspiration. So too is the personal and artistic union Shuttle shared with her husband, the poet Peter Redgrove, until his untimely death in 2003. The fruitful nature of their relationship is celebrated in her poetry and in the work they accomplished together, most notably in the groundbreaking feminist studies on menstruation, ‘The Wise Wound’, and its sequel, ‘Alchemy for Women’.

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Monday 11th May 2020 upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY: Stephen Boyce will read from his latest collection, The Blue Tree. Stephen works as an adviser to heritage and arts bodies. A prize-winning and widely published poet, he is the author of three poetry collections, The Blue Tree (Indigo Dreams 2019), The Sisyphus Dog (Worple 2014), and Desire Lines (Arrowhead 2010). He has also published two pamphlet collections – and a needle case of poems. Stephen is a co-founder and the current chair of Winchester Poetry Festival and lives in north Dorset.

 

Stephen Boyce’s third full-length collection extends his range with poems of loss, love, reconciliation and especially hope. The poems are anchored in the natural world, especially the world of trees whose ‘awes and fascinations’ often provide the setting for tales of the everyday and the unexpected.

 

***

“These poems are exquisitely crafted, woven together with subtle cadences, half rhymes, delicious details, unexpected similes. Yet beneath their elegance and grace lies a deeply felt humanity, a passion and gratitude for nature, landscape, enduring love, that is all the more profound for being understated and beautifully contained.”

Rosie Jackson

 

“To read a poem by Stephen Boyce is to step into a physical location – with landscapes rendered in tactile detail, trees in particular coming as vividly alive as people. Whether drawing on present experience, memory, visual art or reading, he makes it real, in a seamless weave of thought, perception and emotion.”

Philip Gross

 

“The natural world is often the touchstone of these elegant and supple lyrics. Poems that hinge on a bird or a tree offer up small epiphanies which illuminate the parallel journeys of the human creature. These are poems of tenderness and quiet beauty that know just how little needs to be said.”

Katharine Towers

 

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Tuesday 2nd June 2020, upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY:
a warm welcome back to Wells for Deborah Harvey, whose fourth poetry collection The Shadow Factory has  recently been published by Indigo Dreams.

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Monday 6th July 2020, upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY: Dominic Fisher.

 

Dominic published poems in magazines in the 80s and 90s but it wasn’t until he left teaching that poetry got the attention it needed. In the last three years or so he’s published in Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Magma, Brittle Star,  Raceme, South Bank Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, and Under the Radar and a poem has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He was the winner of the international Bristol Poetry Prize 2018, and his collection The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead was published by The Blue Nib in March 2019.

Dominic’s debut collection explores ways the living and the dead meet – for lunch,  in an artwork, on an allotment plot, in the city. We meet poets, artists and others engaged in the struggles and contradictions of their own times, and encounter challenges from our own.

……………………..No meeting in August………………………………………………………………………..

Tuesday 1st Sept 2020 upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY: Gareth Writer-Davies

Gareth was short-listed for The Bridport Prize in 2014 and 2017, and highly commended in the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize in 2012 and 2013. Publications: Bodies (2015), Cry Baby (2017), both from Indigo Dreams; The Lover’s Pinch (2018, Arenig Press).
He is a Hawthornden Fellow 2019, and his latest pamphlet The End was published last year by Arenig Press.

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Tuesday 6th Oct 2020 upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY: Matthew Stewart

Matthew lives between Extremadura, Spain, and West Sussex, England. He has a full collection, The Knives of Villalejo, with Eyewear Publishing. Two pamphlets, both now sold out, were published by HappenStance Press.

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Saturday 17th October 2020, from 11.30am, upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY, we proudly present The Fringe Poetry Binge!

A feast of poetic delights. There will be several courses, including the following:

ANNA LEWIS
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2002, Anna Lewis has gone on to win several prizes for her poetry including the G.S. Fraser Prize, the Robin Reeves Prize and the Christopher Tower Prize. Her debut poetry collection, Other Harbours, was published in 2012 by Parthian.

Anna grew up in Wells, attending the Blue School, and now lives in Cardiff.  Her second full-length poetry collection, In Passing, will be published shortly by Pindrop Press; she has previously published one full-length collection and two pamphlets, and her poems have appeared in magazines including Poetry Wales, Agenda, Magma and The Moth.

ROSIE JACKSON and GRAHAM BURCHELL will give an audio-visual presentation of their new book Two Girls and a Beehive.

Two girls and a beehive

CLIVE BIRNIE of Burning Eye Books (“Never knowingly mainstream”) will run a Q&A on the process of achieving publication, and will read from Palimpsest, his narrative sequence of poems recently published by Verve Press. It has been described as “Sci-fi poetry noir.” Clive has three times been short-listed in the Wells Festival Poetry Competition, and he won the Wyvern Prize in 2013.

Fathers Lost and Found, a collaboration by Graeme Ryan and Ama Bolton.

GRAEME RYAN was for thirty years Head of Drama at Heathfield School ,Taunton 1998 – 2017. He has authored eight full-length plays for young adults, including Heartland, Brave New World and The Name of the Beast, which were performed at The Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre Taunton. Graeme also directed and performed in productions of Sue Boyle’s Report from the Judenplatz  (2016) and The Letters From Mexico (2017).  He was winner of Teignmouth Open Poetry Competition 2018 and third-placed in Torbay Open Poetry Competition 2017. He performed at Teignmouth Poetry Festival 2017 and 2018 and is a  member of and frequent performer with Fire River Poets, Taunton.

AMA BOLTON, a former member of the Liverpool School of Language Music Dream and Pun, is the Poetry Society Stanza Rep for Wells. She has performed at Bath Fringe, Bristol, Wells, Swindon, Winchester and Aldeburgh festival events and at Keats House and The Poetry Café in London. Her poems have appeared in various magazines and on-line and in anthologies including Bridport Prize 2008, when she won 3rd prize: in other years she has been on the Bridport short-list four times. She appears irregularly on Glastonbury FM. In her chequered career she has been a singer/bass player with a bluegrass band, computer programmer, caterer, textile artist, teacher, homeopath’s assistant, artist’s model and gardener. She edits and publishes her own and other people’s poetry in small handmade editions.

Both are contributing members of Bath Writers and Artists.

The Glastonbury Pamphlet Crew: local poets with recent publications, including JINNY FISHER, MICHELLE DIAZ, JO WATERWORTH and RACHAEL CLYNE.

Plus a lively open-mic session.

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Tuesday 3rd November 2020, upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY. A long-awaited visit from Sue Boyle, poet, novelist, workshop-leader and founder of Bath Poetry Cafe and of Bath Writers and Artists. Her Smith/Doorstop pamphlet Too Late for the Love Hotel was published  in 2010. Subsequent publications include Report from the Judenplatz, The Letters from Mexico and Ark Music, and a full collection Safe Passage (Oversteps) came out in 2015. She has just completed her first novel, The Venice Book.

sue-from-matt-two-2

Photo by Matt Prosser

Sue Boyle’s rich and musical poetry sparkles with wit and wisdom. Her poem A Leisure Centre is also a Temple of Learning was chosen for the Forward Prize Anthology 2009, and by Cerys Matthews for last year’s National Poetry day anthology.

 

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Tuesday 1st December 2020, upstairs at The Globe Inn, 18-20 Priest Row, Wells BA5 2PY. Dawn Gorman and Rosie Jackson present their jointly-written pamphlet from Hedgehog Press.

For past meetings, please see the archive.

 

7 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

    Reply
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