Tag Archives: Annette Ford

The sea will always win

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Eleven poets met at The Venue on April 4th, with Ama in the chair, the optional theme being “Sea”. Visual aids were brought – a ship in a bottle, two tiny model boats, a Babushka doll.

By an extraordinary coincidence, two poems in the first half were inspired by ships that were sunk in 1945: David C’s with strongly effective use of repetition  (story here) and Ama’s with a personal perspective (story here). David’s second poem was set on the Cornish coast and Ama’s second on a Maltese beach. This post’s title is taken from Paul R’s poem of dos and don’ts. His second dealt with the profound physiological connection we humans have with the sea. As Annette remarked, we do learn a lot here!

Both of Mark’s poems were located on the Kentish coast, and both of Morag’s were concerned with Scottish islands. Terry read an untitled sea-poem and “Esperance”, set in a town on Western Australia’s southern coast. Ewa took her inspiration from the Somerset coast with two short poems, one witty, one poignant, read in English and in Polish. Annette’s poem “A Pearl” certainly had marine connections …
Caroline was one of several poets not well enough to attend, but she sent a lovely ekphrastic sea-poem which Ama read on her behalf.

Poems on other subjects included a beautifully-constructed poem by Karin in the form of a series of questions to a Babushka doll. Karin also read a devotional poem. Annette’s “To Be” was a delicious flight of imagination, and ‘other’ Paul read two imaginative poems. Andrew read “Dorset Sand” from his 2000 collection “The Canvas Stretcher” and a poem about Sven Berlin.

I have booked the same room at The Venue for next month. We’ll be meeting on Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May. Chris will be in the chair and his topic is “Travelling home”.

Fountain stars

Warm congratulations to Jinny, who has won second prize in The Interpreter’s House competition with her poem Transition. The judge, Jonathan Edwards, wrote “For much of the judging process this was in first place, and dividing it from the eventual winner was a difficult task indeed. This is a clever, subtle and moving poem which says much more than its fourteen lines. The experience of reading is initially suspense, as one wonders what the list of items in the octave add up to; the revelation in the ending sends us straight back to the start, those same items now invested with an enormous emotional impact. As with the first prize winner, I’m interested in the use of ideas in this poem, the way that the tone of the opening two lines of the sestet are so different to the list of objects in the rest of the poem, adding great weight and significance. This is accessible writing which packs a great punch, engaging the brain, and then the heart.”

Rachael’s Art of Fading will be in Tears in the Fence in Autumn. She also had two poems accepted for Prole, and Power Cut has been accepted by Under the Radar.

Jinny and Rachael were invited to discuss their poetry and read in Hilda’s Lounge, a new blog she’s running in a kistch 70’s setting. See it here.

Jo has another couple of online publications to celebrate: on 9th March in I Am Not a Silent Poet link here ; and  in the Poetry Space Spring showcase find it here – one of her lighter poems.

Wendy, as one of a U3A writing group, entered some poems in the Bath Literary Festival recently, the Mid-Somerset senior section, and won a cup.

Ama, Sara, Morag and Jinny were among the guest poets at a splendid evening in East Coker recently. Many thanks to David C for inviting us. We performed a first draft of our new themed sequence, “Second Skin”, which includes/will include work by Rachael and Jo.

Relaunch at East Coker

Photo by Margaret Hamilton

T S Eliot memorial

T.S. Eliot memorial in East Coker parish church.

Other news

The Wells Festival of Literature writing competitions are now open.
This year there are three prizes for the winners, £500, £200, £100, in all three categories plus the Hilly Cansdale local poetry prize of £100 and the Wyvern local short story prize, also £100.  Entries are open to anyone throughout the world.

For the SHORT STORY COMPETITION, entries may be on any subject and should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. ALISON MOORE will judge the 2016 short story competition and present the prizes.

Entries in the POETRY COMPETITION may be on any subject but may not exceed 40 lines in length. GRETA STODDART will judge the 2016 Poetry Competition and present the prizes

For the STORY FOR CHILDREN COMPETITION they may be on any subject but be suitable for the age range 10-16   We require the first three chapters or 30 pages (whichever is the shortest) plus a synopsis of no more than two sides. JEREMY DE QUIDT will judge this competition and also present the prizes.

DEADLINE FOR ALL ENTRIES IS  30th JUNE 2016

For further details and entry rules http://www.wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk

 

I’m a bad first-drafter. I don’t know quite what the percentage would be, but … two-thirds of my first drafts have almost nothing to do with the final drafts. 
– C.K.Williams, interviewed in Poetry Review winter 2015.

 

 
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New clothes for a strange climate

Amaryllis

My Amaryllis has changed colour after 20 years. I’m told this is caused by warmer winters.

Seventeen poets met last Monday, chaired by Ewa. The topic was “Spring is coming”. Wendy responded with a springtime sonnet and a lovely poem in praise of birdsong. Paul wrote about the awakening of trees after winter and David C about Liverpool emerging from the smog – with lambs and apple-blossom! Mark celebrated the arrival of swallows, and both Rachael and Ama wrote about the arrival of March. Ama’s second poem was inspired by 29th February, Leap Day. Mark read his meditative poem “Good Friday”.

Chris, who has been pruning apple trees, read two new poems “This too will pass”, inspired by the mediaeval Persian legend, and another all about apples. Annette read an allegorical work linking motorcycle maintenance to the maintaining of a relationship. Her second poem, for Mother’s Day, was heart-felt and full of compassion. Ewa’s brave and beautiful poems too came straight from the heart.

My title is taken from Caroline’s moving poem about widowhood. Her second poem was inspired by the five Chinese elements.

Jo read two pieces that have recently been published on-line in Hedgerow – find them in issues 66 and 67.

Jinny read a vivid prose-poem about her grandmother, and a short and darkly mysterious domestic drama set in a wardrobe.

David G read a poem featuring the birds, animals and plants of an Oxford water-meadow, and Mo read one about an absence of gulls. From Terry we heard two nature-poems. David C’s second poem was an amusing villanelle – “Sauce Villanaise”.

Ewan read a very recent poem, “Sacrament”, and “Silent Feet” written out of sympathy with the refugees.

Tina from Wookey Hole came to tell us about a prose writing group that meets in The Fountain Inn on the first Tuesday of every month at 7pm.

The evening was affected by noise from the bar, and so next month we shall be trying a new venue, The Venue in South Street, which promises a quiet room! There is a bar and a fish-and-chip and pizza menu, and free parking very nearby in Bell’s Close car park. Monday 4th April at 7.45 for 8pm. Ama will chair the meeting and the optional topic will be “Sea”. Do come!

When the energy stops, stop. – Kathleen Jamie

Often the poems that end best are the ones that don’t. – Judy Kendall

 

 

 

 

Balancing heavy objects with light thoughts

Photo by David Robinson

Photo by David Robinson

In common with National Poetry Day (yesterday, 8th October), we took “Light” as our theme for the meeting on Monday evening. This post’s title is taken from Andy’s “Increasingly enlightened”, which succeeded in keeping several layers of meaning illuminated for the duration of a quite complex piece of writing. Andy’s second poem was an impromptu haiku in response to one by Joan. Or was Joan’s a halliku? The jury is still out. Anyway, it was good to hear her reading her own work!

Jo read two small but perfectly-formed poems on the topic of light. The use of rhyme and repeated lines made them seem to fold in on themselves in a satisfying origami-like way. Rosalie’s poem, ostensibly about packing to go hoime at the end of a holiday, began with a striking line and kept up the quality throughout. Sara read a small but powerful poem full of implied danger. The lasting image of the light in a rural phone-box at night could be straight from a black-and-white film.

Wendy’s two poems dealt in her usual deft and seemingly effortless style with aspects of light. Mark gave us “The Brecon Beacons had switched off their Light” and an affectionate poem about a lasting marriage. Ewa’s “Beauty in Decay” was full of light and shadow, and Morag read “Chiaroscuro” from the most recent Fountain anthology. Annette read two of her “Louis” poems, playfully and lovingly exploring the darker and lighter sdes of parenting. Ama read “Winter Boat” (starlight and pyrelight) and “Candlemas“. She also read, in Chris’s absence, his profound and perceptive poem “Sunlight Time”.

Paul read two entertaining poems in his unique style – one about planning, but not actually writing, poetry, and one about the memorable quality of a truly awful performance. The first line had us all laughing, and we had to control our guffaws in order to hear the rest. Karin, who is currently “between poems” read “O the Places you’ll go” by the late great Doctor Seuss. Well worth revisiting – I’ll be looking for it in the library. Ewan read two poems of holiday memories, one recent and one from childhood. A poem can be the best kind of souvenir, and it never needs to be dusted!

It was great to have our founder, Jane Williams, with us. Jane read, from her first collection, “Harvesting Potatoes”, a memory of work and sexual awakening during WW2, and “Clouded Yellow”, a tale of a troubled child with a disturbing attitude to wildlife. We hope you’ll come more often, Jane.

The next meeting will be on Monday 2nd November; it will be chaired by Jo and the topic will be clocks. We hope to continue meeting at the Sherston Inn. Archie, the new manager, made us welcome.

Fountain stars: Rosie Jackson was joint first in the Bath Poetry Cafe competition. Rosie and Ama were placed 2nd and 3rd in the Battered Moons competition, and Ama won first prize in the Poetry Space competition. Rosie also had three poems short-listed for the Buzzwords competition, and Jinny was short-listed in the Bridport Prize. Rachael has a poem is the 52 Anthology (Nine Arches Press) and Jo has poems forthcoming in “Gnarled Oak“. Sara, Zanna, Rachael and Ama were all in the short-list for the Bath Cafe Competition.

We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.
~Shakti Gawain.

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 http://fireriverpoets.org.uk/?page_id=693. The judge  was  Lawrence Sail, who also hopes to attend. Jean Atkin, 1st prize winner will be there. Here she is:http://www.overstepsbooks.com/poets/jean-atkin/

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

“I am below the lemon”

Seventeen of us met at the Rose and Crown on Monday to share poems on and off the topic of “Cocktails”. The pub has a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere and the cocktail-bar is nice enough though rather small. An eighteenth person would have had to stand in the doorway!

Cocktail-related poems included Jinny’s six-liner “Raspberry Gin”, Rachael’s “Working for Tips”, Annette’s “Special Brew Couple”, Chris’s “Body Politic”, from which this post’s title is quoted, Ama’s “Cocktails”, Caroline’s “”The Naming of Cocktails”, a couple of Haiku from Richard, and Rosalie’s “Pousse Rapiere”, read in her absence by Ama.

Other poems included two longer pieces from Karin, a prose-poem from Jo, a Molotov-cocktail of wartime reminiscences from Pamela,  “Glimpses of Bosom on Bathwick Hill” from Mark and two poems about poets from Ewan. Chris read one of his poems from the beautifully produced artist’s book “Flat Holm”, a collaboration with printmaker Otto Dettmer.

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Altogether, thanks to all of you, my fellow-poets, it was an evening of rewarding listening to well-crafted work.

Next month we shall be meeting in the same place (come early to ensure a seat!) on Monday 4th May – May-day Bank Holiday. Ewa will be in the chair and her topic is “All about Eyes”.

We welcomed visitors Simon and Jenny from the Wells Festival of Literature, who came along to let us know about this year’s Festival Competitions. The judge will be Peter Oswald, husband of the more famous Alice, and he will read all the entries. The flyer is below. Full details on the website.

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I have Claire Coleman to thank for this month’s quotation:

Art is the bridge with the realm of the spirit – the necromancy of humanity.
from a novel by Mavis Cheek called Aunt Margaret’s Lover.

Mind that road!

It was a quiet night at The Sherston Inn last Monday. We were therefore invited to hold our meeting in the dining room instead of out in the skittle alley.

We welcomed a newcomer to the group, Karin Baynes, and look forward to hearing some of her work in future.

Paul was in the chair and had chosen “Speed” as a theme. This post’s title is taken from Sara’s first poem. Other poems on the topic came from Paul, Andy, Mark and (memorably) Neil with “Edwin Morgan at Brand’s Hatch”. Neil’s second poem, “The Art of Marking”  (with more than a nod to Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art“) was a beautifully-constructed and very funny villanelle.

Off-topic, we had poems about mothers from Ewa and Ewan, a couple of tender funny and insightful poems from Annette, a wry look at overheard mobile-phone conversations from Pamela, closely-observed birds from Morag and Pamela, and a memory of a landscape-changing event from Paul, “When the Pipeline came”.

Rachael was in lyrical mood with “The Veil” and “Paradise Recalled”, David G’s poems included “Contemplating the Tower-clock”, and  Ama wrote about time and distance, which she hoped would somehow produce speed! Jinny’s short poems have a knack of taking us by the hand, leading us into another place and then leaving us with a line that reverberates like a struck bell.

Wendy’s “Dinnahefta” was a very entertaining poem in her native Geordie dialect in the style of Longfellow’s “Hiawatha”. I think there may be requests for a repeat performance! Wendy has produced another book! It’s just as delightful as her previous works.

Wendy001

On Thursday Rachael’s “Redpoll” appeared on the Stanza blog’s Poetry Map of Scotland.

Next month (March 9th) the theme will be “Water” and Sara will be in charge. By then the six Fountain poets who are also Bath Cafe poets will have performed their sound-collage “Waterwoven” at the Bath Litfest on March 7th.

We are here to cultivate the marvellous, to woo the new from ourselves, to commune with otherness. – Dean Young

The writing is on the wall, and it smells

photo from poweromics.blogspot.co.u

photo from poweromics.blogspot.co.uk

Twenty-three of us met on June 2nd with Paul as chairman to share some poems of protest, in honour of the late Pete Seeger. It proved an opportunity to let our hair down …

Gill got us off to a fine start by singing her Layabout Song, written 35 years ago at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. The link above takes you to a Guardian article in which a version of it is printed as “Down at Greenham”. The oldest poem must have been Ama’s “Talking LBJ Blues”, written way back in 1966!

Poems dealing with current causes for concern were Mark’s “How dare he?”, Rachael’s “Farage Rant”, Wendy’s “Peace for Homs”, Caroline’s “Irish Anger”, Morag’s “Free Woman Dub”, Rosalie’s “Burning Questions” and Paul’s “The Festival Without”, from which this post’s title is taken. Ewan’s “Are we at War?” addressed mankind’s attitude to animals, Diana’s untitled poem referred to the recent badger-cull and Rachael’s “Labels” drew attention to the cruelty of name-calling.

On a more personal level, Annette shared her profoundly moving poem “That Day”, Sara read “Protest”, a lovely sparse poem, and Richard read “When I feel Anger”; honesty was in the air. We were getting stuff off our chests. And it felt good.

We welcomed Andrew, an occasional visitor from Spain, who read a couple of fine poems including “The Cabiri”, a favourite of mine. Another welcome visitor was Stacey, who read her short poem “Sit Little Dog”.

David C’s “Not in my back uncontrolled sky” and Pamela’s “Australia” were, as Paul remarked, two of the most original poems we’ve heard anywhere. Altogether it was a memorable evening. Thank you, Paul.

We shall be taking a two-month break, but will be back on September 8th at a new venue, the King’s Head in Wells High Street. I (Ama) will be the chairperson, and the optional topic will be “Friends and other strangers”.

One day work is hard, and another day it is easy; but if I had waited for inspiration I am afraid I should have done nothing. The miner does not sit at the top of the shaft waiting for the coal to come bubbling up to the surface. One must go deep down, and work out every vein carefully. – Arthur Sullivan