Category Archives: poetry competition

Some competition deadlines coming up!

Three notifications have come in recently.

Stephen Boyce writes: We’re delighted that TS Eliot Prize winner, Sarah Howe, is this year’s guest judge for the Winchester Poetry Prize and will read all entries. Once again there will be a prize-giving reading – at a special poetry day on Saturday 14 October – and winning and commended poems will be published in a collectable volume. Closing Date 31 July. Full details here.

Jackie Clementines writes: Somerfest (Taunton) and LiveArts are collaborating this year: the Somerset Slam will be live on the music stage in Goodland’s Gardens in Taunton as a programmed part of Somerfest starting at 11am on 17th June 2017. We are looking for poets to take part in this event and crown Somerset’s first Slam Champion. You do not need to be from Somerset to compete…. but we did not want to just bus in a group of well-established slammers from London and put on a ‘show-slam.’ We want every voice in Somerset to be encouraged to come forth! If you’re interested in booking a 3-minute slot, contact Jackie at jackieclementines@gmail.com https://somerfest.net/

Hilda Sheehan writes: There’s still time to send your poems to Battered Moons Poetry Competition before it closes on June 30th. Malika Booker is the guest judge and, along with Cristina Newton, she’ll be reading all the poems. You can send your poems by post or on-line. To find out more or send on-line visit Battered Moons.

The croggle of a froggle

Once again, big thanks to Just Ales for making us so welcome. Several copies of our collaborative birthday poem were on display!
Rosie Jackson was unfortunately not well yesterday, so we held our April meeting without a guest poet but with many splendid poems from our resident poets.
The evening began with Ama’s  “Legend”, a poem for six voices that was published in Obsessed with Pipework last year. Sara followed with two short poems about poultry from a sequence drawing on her former life as a smallholder in Norfolk. Next up was Wendy, who read a deliciously inventive piece about frogs, from which I have taken the title of this post. Mark read a poignant memory of comfortless schooldays and Morag shared close observations of a snake. Caroline’s first poem was an elegy for a friend, and Ewa’s began “Poetry can happen to you unexpectedly”, with an extempore translation into Polish. Ewan read a memory of childhood blackberrying and a topical war-poem. Paul’s first poem was both a true story and a topical political comment. Michelle read a heart-stopping poem about her father. Jo and Rachael read punchy new work – both of them are writing a poem a day this month for NaPoWriMo 2017. There are some excellent prompts and tips on Jo Bell’s blog.
During the interval, Jenny Smith from Wells Litfest told us about the Wells Poetry Competition which this year is to be judged by Gillian Clarke, former National Poet of Wales. Some of us bought Wendy’s charming Easter cards, painted and printed by her in support of wildlife charities. Beer, cider, tea and hot chocolate were served …
All of us read again in the second half, the most remarkable items being Rachael’s “Diana” about her sister, Pamela’s “Hooray for Henry” read in her absence by Ama, and Wendy’s rap “Tetrahydrocannabinol” a tour de force in what is for her a new genre.
We will have a presence at the Wells Festival of Food on Sunday October 8th. If there are enough suitable submissions this will include a new Fountain Poets Anthology (our third) which will concentrate on food-related topics. There will also be a poetry treasure-trail. Foody poems, ideas and offers of help on the day are very welcome!
Next month’s meeting will be at Just Ales on Monday 1st May, when the guest poet will be Claire Coleman, Ewa will be the chairperson and at Paul’s suggestion the optional topic will be Beltane, which happens also to be the theme of the next-but-one Cinnamon Press mini-competition, deadline 15 May.
I will end by sharing a quotation sent in recently by Pamela.

Poetry is speech made incandescent – Clive James

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The Persisters is a newly established network of feminist poets and artists. We are intersectional and inclusive. We are concerned about the turning tide in the rights of women and all minorities.

We are harnessing collective skills as poets, artists and wordsmiths to create community and combat the erosion of hard-won freedoms fought for and earned over many decades.

We want to celebrate, enjoy and secure those gains, and to support the struggle to extend those rights to all women. We believe in art as dialogue, celebration and resistance. We also believe in getting together for a party.

Join us for an afternoon of feminist poetry, discussion and belly-dancing from some of the West Country’s finest poets and performers, including Annie Freud and Rachael Boast. Entry is a recommended donation of £5, proceeds going to Refugee Women of Bristol (http://www.refugeewomenofbristol.org.uk/).
Sunday 9th April, 3-6pm at Roll for the Soul, 2 Quay St BS1 2JL
List of readers.

Zillah Bowes
Chaucer Cameron
Rachael Clyne
Pey Pey Oh
Jinny Fisher
Dawn Gorman
Hazel Hammond
Deborah Harvey
Rosie Jackson
Morag Kiziewicz
Rowena Knight
Katie Noonan
Ellie O’Connell
Helen Sheppard
Sue Sims
Shirley Wright

Everything has its secret grammar

Eight of us met at Just Ales on 2nd January, when we very much enjoyed our once-yearly sharing  of other people’s poems. Where possible I’ve provided links to the poems. They are well worth reading again.

Gillian read from Alden Nowlan‘s Selected Poems: (“…explicitly honest, direct, and insightful poetry. One of Canada’s most influential poets, he left a rich legacy of poetry that is accessible yet profound, and that speaks to people’s lives with wry observation and keen insight.”) The poems Gill chose to read were Warren Pryor, The Execution and Hens. This last is a short and punchy poem and I can’t find it on-line but I do recommend buying or borrowing the book.

Jo read Alice Oswald‘s Aside and two poems from the collection Dream Work by Mary Oliver, Orion and The Swimmer. A longer version of The Swimmer can be seen here , with beautiful images and music.

Rachael read Pauline’s Knickers, a poem by Jane Burn, of The Fat Damsel. She also read The Last Words of my English Grandmother by William Carlos Williams, The Office by Tom Sastry (who will be our guest poet on 6th March) and, at my request, her own poem Miriam. This post’s title is a line from The Office.

Claire, also at my request, read her poems Extracting Sunbeams and Translations, from the current issue of Sarasvati.

Mark read The Seven Dreams of a Suburban Dreamer by David Sollars, To Alice on her 18th Birthday by Richard Devereux, and Do You Remember by Sheila Egar. Unfortunately I have not been able to find these poets or their work.

Caroline read an extract from T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets, This Lunar Beauty by W.H.Auden, and Ogden Nash’s The Octopus.

Jinny read Before the Match and The Dancers on Graves, both by Geraldine Clarkson, and Daniel Sluman’s The Terrible, from the book of the same name. This poet will be reading at Words and Ears in Bradford-on-Avon next month, on the 23rd of February.

I (Ama) read Matt Haw’s A Vision for the Topographical Future of East Anglia, David Harsent’s Icefield, The Germ by Ogden Nash and my own poem After the Comet which has just been awarded a minor prize in the Cafe Writers’ competition. The results are on the Cafe Writers website.

Next month our guest poet will be Linda Saunders from Bath.
February 6th at Just Ales, 7.45 for 8pm.
I hope Andy will still be serving his excellent mulled Wilkins Cider!

“In the act of writing the poem, I am obedient, and submissive. Insofar as one can, I put aside ego and vanity, and even intention. I listen. What I hear is almost a voice, almost a language. It is a second ocean, rising, singing into one’s ear, or deep inside the ears, whispering in the recesses where one is less oneself than a part of some single indivisible community. Blake spoke of taking dictation. I am no Blake, yet I know the nature of what he meant. Every poet knows it. One learns the craft, and then casts off. One hopes for gifts. One hopes for direction. It is both physical, and spooky. It is intimate, and inapprehensible. Perhaps it is for this reason that the act of first-writing, for me, involves nothing more complicated than paper and pencil. The abilities of a typewriter or computer would not help in this act of slow and deep listening.”
– Mary Oliver

Fountain stars!

Congratulations to Fountain poets Claire Coleman and Jinny Fisher. Claire has six poems in Sarasvati #42, published by Indigo Dreams, and Jinny has two prose-poems in The Poetry Shed.

Ewan MacPherson and Jane Williams performed at the spoken word event “Write out, Speak out” during Wells Litfest. Jane’s verbal fireworks proved to be the evening’s stand-out performance.

Zanna Beswick and Ama Bolton were at the Torbay Poetry Festival yesterday, reading their  Commended and Highly Commended poems at the Torbay Poetry competition prizegiving event.

Next meeting in Wells: Monday 7th November. Guest poet will be the wonderful David Cloke from East Coker. Will he read his unforgettable Morse Code poem? I do hope so!

News from East Coker

David Cloke, co-ordinator of the East Coker Poetry Group, writes:

Our meetings are held at the Helyar Arms, East Coker and normally start at 7.30pm on the last Tuesday of the month.

Sometimes we have to change a date or time of a meeting and our website will display any changes and the latest details.

Tues 27th Sept Kate Scott

Kate Scott is a scriptwriter, playwright and award-winning children’s author. She is also a published poet regularly heard on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Poetry Please’. Kate’s stage plays have been performed in the Salisbury Fringe Festival and at the Salisbury Playhouse Studio. Kate will be reading some of her work and also discussing poetic inspiration and finding your poetic voice

Tues 25th Oct Competition Evening

Come and read your entry – We hope to read all the entries

Everyone eats food. But can you write a recipe in poetic form? Following a vote at our May meeting, this is the challenge for our 2016 competition – A Recipe in Poetic Form

The recipe can be for any sort of food – a soup, a main course, a pudding, a cake, etc. The choice is yours – but there must be enough information in the poem so that in theory the recipe could actually be made. Entries by email if possible to :-info@eastcokerpoetry.org.uk to reach me by the 1st October

We are also now accepting (for a second prize) poems based on the title but not actually an eatable recipe……….

Tues 29th Nov Annie Fisher

Annie Fisher won our 2012 poetry competition with three excellent poems on the theme of ‘Postcards’. She has gone on writing poetry and has new put together a collection that is being published in November. We are delighted to welcome her back to East Coker for a reading of her work

____________________________________________________

For more information about the East Coker Poetry Group, contact

David Cloke, Group Co-ordinator, 01935 862623

email info@eastcokerpoetry.org.uk website www.eastcokerpoetry.org.uk

Always in need of a conflict

Fifteen of us met on Monday evening to share poems on and off the topic of “Belligerence”.

Andy, chairman for the evening, read Fragment #9 of his evolving magnum opus “Power Politics”. Mark dealt obliquely with war and its aftermath. David Green’s poignant first poem recalled two interwoven acts of belligerence, and his second investigated possibilities arising from “… the aggravating folk next door …” Jo wrote of belligerence, chillingly, from the point of view of the one on the receiving end. Sara’s two poems looked , one touchingly and one zanily,  at the belligerent possibilities of cooking and eating. That’s quite enough adverbs for now – ed.

Rachael read one poem meditating on the contents of a wardrobe after a death, and another observing belligerent bird behaviour. There were more birds – puffins this time – from Ewan, and Morag read a passionate comment on what’s happening to the bees.

I have taken this post’s title from one of Pamela’s poems “The Way it is”. Her other was a hypnotic chant, “All Eyes”.

We have come to expect rich, raw, fine-tuned autobiographical fragments from Karin. Her poems  had us listening spellbound. Wendy’s poems, too, are always firmly rooted in the real world and always beautifully written.

Jinny’s poems tend to sound straightforward but often have a sting in the tail. Her poem about decorating the Christmas tree was a good example. Her second poem was an erasure-poem from a scientific paper written by her son. Alchemy!

Ama read a quasi-sonnet about an unwritten ballad, and “Biographie” an erasure-poem that can be read here.

The Wells Litfest competition was mentioned after the meeting. The deadline for entries is the end of this month. We decided that we would each enter at least one poem or story. Read about it here.

The six poets of “Waterwoven” will be performing this collaborative sound-collage at Priddy Folk Festival’s Word Tent tomorrow evening (Friday 11th July) at 8pm, and at the Bristol Poetry Festival in late September – date tbc.

Next month we’ll be taking a break, but we hope to be back in the Sherston Inn on 7th September, when Karin invites readings on the topic “Fifty”, and on 5th October when Ama will chair a session on “Light”, the topic for National Poetry Day Thursday 8th October.

Fountain Stars

Rachael and Jinny have poems in the current issue of The Interpreter’s House and Rachael is in Reach Poetry UK. Rachael’s poem in the webzine Three Drops from a Cauldron has been nominated for Best of the Net. Ama’s “Post-election Blues” was posted on The Stare’s Nest on Sunday. David has sent his two poems about the Queen to Buckingham Palace, and has received a thank-you letter!

“Accuracy, Spontaneity, Mystery.” These are the three qualities Elizabeth Bishop admired in the poetry she liked best, according to her essay, “Writing poetry is an unnatural act…” (702) from the collection Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose and Letters