Tag Archives: Isabel White

Three Wise Dimensions

We had a most enjoyable meeting on 5th December, with supper beforehand for those who came early.
Our guest was Isabel White, a remarkably good performer whose meticulous and playful use of words is illustrated in this post’s title, taken from her poem Making sense of Miss Babs (Barbara Hepworth). Her readings covered a wide spectrum of styles and subjects. How many of us knew that Robert Burns had intended to emigrate to Jamaica? Isabel made this the subject of a poem in a mixture of Scots and Jamaican patois. Dazzling!

Isabel is the latest subject of the Bard Window podcast. You can also read some of her poems there. Do have a look at this excellent resource for poets. Membership is free.

Contributions in the two open mic sessions were well-wrought, thought-provoking and in some cases rather dark – I’m thinking of Beth’s Confession, Fiona’s My Deathday, David G’s Mortal Memories and Pamela’s Separation, which I read in memory of her – see below. David N and I read ekphrastic poems written during a recent Poetry and Art workshop in Wells Library. Steve picked up the word-play theme with Jack (part 1), prompted by a jackfruit curry. I’m looking forward to Part 2!

I am sad to report that Pamela Coate, who used to come regularly to our meetings and entertain and enlighten us with her light-hearted/serious poems, died at the end of November. She would have been 91 on Christmas Eve. She was creative in so many ways, a poet, painter, ceramic artist, musician and prolific knitter of unique and colourful garments and animals. She was also a very dear friend who will be badly missed.

Our next meeting will be on Monday January 2nd at 7pm, upstairs in The King’s Head in Wells High Street, conveniently close to the Union Street car park. There will be no guest poet, so come prepared to read a couple of poems, your own or anyone else’s, seasonal or otherwise.

Separation        by Pamela Coate

He said it was here in the woods
that he let the squirrels out
didn’t she recall how
they used to raid the swallows’ nests
became real pests

She sat there in the car
remembering those times
saddened at the thought
of all the lost squirrels
searching for their families

And what must it be like
for people to be separated
after sixty years together
taken into different homes
confused and alone

Now she hears from her friends
it is illegal to transport
squirrels to new habitats
better to shoot them
no law against it

Writing is a never-ending apprenticeship … it’s an addiction – Ian Gouge 


Something Fishy

We enjoyed plenty of variety in an evening of open-mic poetry upstairs at the King’s Head in Wells High Street on November 7th. From laugh-out-loud to wipe-away-a-tear! Both Andrew and Beth read rather fishy poems …
And it was good to welcome back David Cloke from East Coker Poetry. Their next meeting will be on Tuesday November 29th, with Annie Fisher and Anthony Watts, both of them excellent performers from Fire River Poets.

Our next meeting will be on Monday December 5th in the same venue. We’ll start at 7pm, but do come early if you’d like to join us for supper at 6.30. The menu is here.
Our featured poet in December will be Isabel White, director of Alarms and Excursions. Isabel founded Alarms & Excursions in 2009, and has been director of the company ever since, involved with every project of the Collective, which is her real passion. Isabel is a prize winning, published poet, and leads on the artistic agenda of the company, spearheading the majority of projects. Performing across the UK, in Paris and Rotterdam, Isabel has worked with a host of performance poets, actors and musicians, including John Hegley, Michael Horowitz, Elvis McGonagall, Daljit Nagra, Benjamin Till… She hosted Wash House Poets in the City of London, and curated the poetry for the hugely successful Up The Line remembrance events between 2009 and 2013. Isabel was a finalist in the 2013 and 2017 BBC Radio 3 Proms competitions, Adlestrop and Guernsey International Competitions, Pendle War Poem competition (3rd place), was twice commended for the Elmbridge Literary Prize, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2016) and Vernal Equinox (2018) Competition. She has served six years on the Governing Council of the Poetry Society and founded and ran its Chichester Stanza for 3 years. Her work is much anthologised and she has three full collections and a pamphlet published to date. Her next collection is due about now.

Other news: Literally Shepton is a celebration of words on 18-19 November. There’s a Found Poetry workshop on the 19th. All events are free but do need to be booked. Check out the website here. And Mark reminded us that there is a poetry meeting in Glastonbury every Monday morning at 10.45 in St John’s Church.

Poetry is a sort of homecoming – Paul Celan.