Our featured poet at the February meeting was Rachael Clyne, who started writing poetry in London in the 1980s with a community-based performance group called Angels of Fire, founded by Jay Ramsay. Though she published her first collection, She who Walks with Stones and Sings, in 2005 (“too soon”), she says that it was not until 2012, when she took an on-line course with Roselle Angwin, that she began to take her poetry seriously. Her second book of poems. Singing at the Bone Tree, won the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize in 2013 and is published by Indigo Dreams.
Rachael’s set began with six poems from her first collection, followed by six from her pamphlet (including Conserving, from which my title is taken), followed by six from a work-in-progress. A strong autobiographical thread connects these latest poems, which are noticeably leaner and more confident, and trust the reader to take the necessary leaps of understanding.
Rachael set the optional theme of “the non-human world”, for contributions in the second half, and this was interpreted very widely, from marmalade to mycelium, from a cat’s ghost to computer-code, from sea-birds to bags for life. Other poems took us to Singapore and Rotterdam, Kurdish folk-tale and genetic forecasting. It was a rewarding evening and we were glad to welcome newcomers, Diana and Izzy.
Unfortunately we have had to cancel the March 5th meeting due to bad weather. Conor Whelan has been booked for May instead. In April we shall be meeting again at Jinny’s house in Glastonbury on April 8th, when the guest poet will be Deborah Harvey from Bristol. No theme this time for the second half.
And on March 8th some of us will be reading at this event in Glastonbury:
Some books seem like the key to the unfamiliar rooms in ones own castle.