Category Archives: writing workshops

A Skiff of Gilded Darkness

What an excellent evening of poetry we had on 1st August! It was lovely to welcome back Jo Waterworth and David Ketelby and to meet Rina May and hear her well observed and crafted short poems. My title is borrowed from Martin Porter’s mysterious poem ‘Pacifica Queen Mab’. The photo is from Shetland, about as far from the Pacific as you can go, but it spoke to me of gilded darkness.

Some dates for your diaries:

Fountain Poets’ next meeting will be on Monday 5th September at 7pm upstairs at the King’s Head in Wells High Street, with the lovely Annie Fisher of Fire River Poets as Guest Poet. Her latest pamphlet is ‘The Deal’ (Happenstance 2020) – “poems of outlandish comedy undercut by profound seriousness.” – Matthew Paul. There will also be open-mic opportunities as usual.

We shall be having two meetings in October. David Niven will chair an open-mic meeting on 3rd October, and on 17th October (after the Wells Litfest Poetry Competition prizegiving and readings 2-5pm in Cedars Hall) we’ll have a Festival Fringe Binge, with two guest readers, Fountain poet Michelle Diaz, the Chaired Bard of Glastonbury, and Fire River Poet Graeme Ryan, whose stunning collection ‘Valley of the Kings’ was published earlier this year by Coverstory Books. Both meetings are at the King’s Head at 7pm. There will be open-mic reading opportunities.

Rosie Jackson has sent news of her forthcoming events at Dillington House:
6 October one-day course on poetry writing. ‘How to Write Poems that Matter’.
27 October lunchtime talk/slide show/poetry reading from her Stanley Spencer book. ’Two Girls and a Beehive’ .
4-6 November residential memoir writing course.
All details are on the Dillington House website.

This year’s Tears in the Fence Festival runs from 2nd – 4th September at the Stourpaine Village Hall. The Festival theme is ‘Bewilderment / Be-wildered / Be wild’. There will be readings, talks, discussion, book signings, music, refreshments, and a Festival bookstall. From our group, Mo, Andy and I will be among many others taking part. Details on the festival website.  

Fountain poet Beth Webb will be storytelling in the Bishop’s Palace, Wells on 18th September. Details should soon be on the Palace website.

Before all these events, I (Ama Bolton) shall be one of the readers at Contextual 10 from Coverstory Books on Wednesday 31st August on Zoom. Details here
and on Thursday 1st September at the next Fire River Poets Zoom meeting, when Graeme Ryan (see above) will be the featured poet. See details here.

Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. – Audre Lord.


September news!

This coming Monday:

PZH poster

Reminder: The Stanza Poetry Competition is open to Poetry Society members (if you’re not a member you can join here) who are also members of a Poetry Society Stanza. The highly topical theme for the 2019 competition is LIES – however you wish to interpret it. Send up to two poems, either online, or by email, or by post, max 40 lines per poem. Free entry. Closing date is Monday 9 September 2019 and the winners will be announced on National Poetry Day, Thursday 3 October 2019.

Talking of which, on National Poetry Day (Oct 3rd), several of us Fountain Poets will be taking part in an afternoon reading in an extraordinary environment, Shepton Mallet (former) Prison, and in the morning Rosie will be leading a free poetry workshop:
B wing

Thanks for reading!


Creative Writing Course in Glastonbury


Creative Writing Group

Blow away those winter blues & stimulate creative cells.

Explore and develop your writing skills, in a small, supportive group. Beginners & more experienced writers welcome. Course includes both prose and poetry.

Starts Tuesday Jan 10th 7-9pm. Six initial weekly sessions £60/70

Central Glastonbury Venue

Tutor: Rachael Clyne is an experienced writer, regular columnist in the Oracle, published author and poet.

 FFI:  Tel: 01458 899277

Tears in the Fence weekend

Tears in the Fence magazine held a very enjoyable mini-festival in the lovely new village hall in Stourpaine last weekend. Saturday’s events started with a rather challenging workshop on hybrid forms of poetry, facilitated by David Caddy. Some remarkable pieces of work emerged during the short time available. I’d be surprised if we don’t see some of them in print.

Poets reading in the afternoon included seven from the Fountain group.

The event was a fund-raiser for next year’s full-scale festival.


Here some of the Fountain poets perform their collaboration “Second Skin”. From the left, they are Morag Kiziewicz, Sara Butler, Ama Bolton, Rachael Clyne, Jinny Fisher and Jo Waterworth. Photo courtesy of Andrew Henon, who skillfully combined filming the event with reading his own work.

See also Mo’s report here.

The power of words


3D Electric power lines over sunrise

3D Electric power lines over sunrise Photo via

We had a good turn-out last night – twenty four of us round the table at The Sherston Inn. Jinny was in the chair and her topic was Power. Jinny herself read “King-sling baby” and “Forms of Travel” – on reflection I think both touched on the power of gravity. Responses to the topic varied from the power of water (Clare’s “Hydrology”) through the power of visual art (Claire’s “Portrait of an Angel”, Rosalie’s “Pencil Power” and “The Black Poppies”) power within the family (Joan’s “Power”, read in her absence by Morag, Pamela’s “Parent Power”, Ewa’s “Three scenes from a Marriage” – which appears in the Fountain Poets’ most recent anthology – and Sara’s “Winks”), the power of love in its manifold forms (Caroline’s “Power”, Sara’s “Scent”, Karin’s spine-tingling “Doppelganger” and “Red Fox”, Ewa’s “And when you kiss me”), to political power (Andy’s “Polemic Power”, Mark’s “Arbeit macht frei”, Caroline’s “Irish Anger” and Ama’s “Post-election Blues”, which earned an immediate heckle.) Mark’s other poem “When real power enthrals” dealt with power in the workplace – specifically a cough-mixture factory.

Rachael contributed a witty listing of the Twelve Steps of recovery for poets, read in her absence by Ama.

Jo read a family-album of a poem, “Waterworths”, and a compact untitled interweaving of past and present that has been accepted for on-line publication – see note below.

Annette’s two short pithy poems were written for last month’s topic – All About Eyes.

We welcomed a new member, Henrietta Lang, who read two engaging poems, “A Special Day Out” and “Dinner-party Man”. I look forward to hearing more of her work.

Some of us had been to a workshop with Roselle Angwin last week, and it was good to hear Claire’s, Andy’s and Morag’s poems which started there and had been thoroughly worked-on in the last few days! Morag’s poem “Three out of four IVF treatments fail” deserves a special mention for its understated but powerful treatment of three or four topics closely interwoven in a short piece of writing.  Morag’s second poem “July in the Waste Land” began life in response to a suggestion at a workshop with Sue Boyle in Bath last month. Again, it dealt deftly with serious subject matter.

Ewan’s first poem, “Let the Bells Ring” was a memorial to raped and murdered First Nation Canadian women. His second, “I go before you” was a biblical exegesis in verse. Many of us learnt things we didn’t know before!

Both of Paul’s poems were set in the Midlands: “Eternity in Sutton Coldfield” and “The First Caravan of the Season”.

Two elegiac pieces were Clare’s “Afterwards” and Ama’s “Gift”. Neil read his own chilling poem “Quietness” and a sinister mother-in-law poem from “A Crown of Sonnets” by Matthew Curry. Chris’s “Old Mother” was an allegorical incantation crying out to be set to music. Any composers out there? Chris has already collaborated with a printmaker and I suggest this could be his next project.

This month’s Fountain stars:

Richard Field, for the fourth year running, has been elected Fool of Glastonbury.

Jo Waterworth has a new poem in the on-line magazine Hedgerow.

Ama Bolton has two poems in the current issue of Obsessed with Pipework … and more in the pipeline!

Rachael Clyne and Jinny Fisher have poems in The Interpreter’s House. They will be reading  at the launch event at the Albion Bookshop in Oxford, on July 16th.
Poets might want to note that the submission window for Issue 60 is… June!

Jinny will be reading at the Fire River Poets Evening for their Poetry Competition Winners: this will be on Thursday June 4th at the United Reformed Church Hall in Paul Street, Taunton, 8-10pm. Refreshments will be available. Tickets are £5 at the door.

The prize-winning and commended poems (including Jinny’s) can be seen here The judge  was  Lawrence Sail, who also hopes to attend. Jean Atkin, 1st prize winner will be there. Here she is:

Other news:
Jo will be reading at an afternoon with Poetry Space next Saturday, June 6th, in Bristol.
The line-up also includes Myra Schneider and other well-known writers: details here.

Some of the Fountain Poets will be reading at a free day of poetry put on by Tears in the Fence at the  White Horse, Stourpaine, on Saturday July 4th. The Bluegate Poets from Swindon will also be there.

Six Fountain poets will be performing “Waterwoven”, our collage for six voices and rain-stick, at Priddy Folk Fesival on the evening of Friday 10th July.

Next meeting:

Monday July 6th at The Sherston Inn (dining room), starting promptly at 8pm. Andy will be in the chair, and has chosen the topic Belligerent. See you then!

When you write poetry you can’t help but tell the truth.

– Elizabeth Bishop