Tag Archives: Joan Buffard

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.

Advertisement

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

Quicksilver rain, slow sheep

Sherston

We had a really enjoyable informal session at the Sherston Inn’s skittle alley on Monday night. A few of us met beforehand for supper, which was good, freshly-cooked and good value.

Rachael’s scheme for arranging the seating did make the space feel more comfortable.

Chris Scully was back from a summer spent on Flat Holm Island, bearing a copy of a limited-edition book of the poems he wrote during his stay, bound and illustrated with dramatic screen-prints by Otto Dettmer. There is a link on Chris’s page.

The January meeting is traditionally the one when we are encouraged to read published poems by other people. Sara read, very beautifully, three by Raymond Carver: A Haircut, Grief and Late Fragment. Chris read Pam Ayres’ The Dolly on the Dustcart. Jinny performed two of Pascale Petit’s searing poems from “The Zoo Father”: The Ant Glove and My Father’s Books, as well as the exuberantly cynical Spare us by Dennis O’driscoll.

Wendy contributed two poems by A.E.Housman, Oh, When I was in Love with you and When I was One-and-twenty. In the second half, she treated us to Jabberwocky and Wynken, Blynken and Nod – familiar to all, but when did we last read them? Joan read George Herbert’s Love bade me Welcome, and her 12-year-old grand-daughter Beth’s colourful poem Dawn. Beth will go far, I think! Richard gave us three 8th-century poems; an anonymous Anglo-Saxon meditation on the ruins of Bath, a very moving short Chinese poem in Arthur Waley’s translation, Watching the Reapers by Po Chu-i, and Riddle 30 from The Exeter Book.

Pamela performed, in the authentic dialect, two of Charles Benham’s Essex Ballads: Miss Julia the Parson’s Daughter and These New Fangled Ways, the second of which can be heard here in a recording the author made in 1895. Caroline had us chuckling with appreciation of Billy Collins’s Forgetfulness, read here by the author. Later she read Handbag by Ruth Fainlight and Apologia by Connie Bensley. Neil, a welcome newcomer to our group, read two of his own poems: Burning the Onions (with a lovely sting in the tail) and Ghosts. We look forward to hearing more of his work.

Ewan read two new poems: Paris, a reflection on recent events, and Mary’s Poem, from which I have taken this post’s title. Mark shared Kipling’s Alnaschar and the Oxen and Masefield’s London Town. Ama read, from the Fountain Poets’ 2013 anthology, Rayburn by Irene Benson, who died in September last year and is sadly missed. After the interval Ama read two poems that have appeared recently on The Stare’s Nest, Laura Kaminski’s tender meditation Babysitting the Next Dalai Lama and Marc Woodward’s savagely funny An Unexpected Change.

When I checked my e-mails later that evening I found a Bridport Prize newsletter and learnt that “our” Jinny Fisher was on the short-list! Congratulations, Jinny!

Next month we shall be meeting in the skittle alley on Monday 9 February. Paul will be in the chair and his choice of subject (for those who may find one useful) is “Speed”. Thereafter we shall meet on the second Monday of each month until the summer break after the June meeting.

 Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
-Anton Chekhov

All the windows in my head are open

Twenty Fountain Poets met last Monday to share recent (and not-so-recent) work, with an optional theme of “Computers and the Internet”. This proved to be a catalyst for some exciting experimental work. Mo and Joan performed a circular dialogue “My e-mail’s not working” on the model of “There’s a hole in my bucket”. David Cloke enlisted the help of Google Translate to create barely-recognisable versions of well-known poems via Polish and Japanese and back to English. Mo used early voice-recognition software to record her poem “Language”, which suffered surprising changes, some absurd and some strangely poetic. The title of this post is taken from her second poem, “PC”. Annette gave us “Soul-mates or Hell-mates”, her take on internet-dating. Rachael’s “PC” described a power-struggle between machine and user. Mark’s poems gave us entertaining glimpses into computer-literacy classes at a local library. Rosalie’s first poem “MRI Music” dealt movingly with the experience of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and her second poem was a chilling cautionary tale of a virus that arrived in an innocent-looking e-mail. The opening stanza of Andy’s first poem was written entirely in binary code …

Mentions of cherry blossom were not unexpected – it is April after all – but more surprising subjects were slugs, turtles, head-lice and a giant squid!

We welcomed two newcomers, David and Kate, and hope to see them again.

We congratulated Paul, who has had a story short-listed for the Jeremy Mogford Prize, and Ewan, whose poem “In Love with God” has been set to music by George Odam, formerly professor of Music at Bath Spa University.The first performance was in Denmark, and the second was in Wells Cathedral last Saturday.

Our next meeting will not be on the first Monday, but on 19th May. Wendy Nicholson will take the chair and the theme she has given us is “A Sense of Place”. The meeting after that will be only two weeks later, on June 2nd. Paul will be in the chair and he has asked us to write protest poems  in the tradition of the late, great, Pete Seeger. There seems to be much to protest about even in our small corner of the world – fracking, Hinkley C, building on green fields, the proposed relocation of “our” bishop. I’m sure you can think of plenty more!

It’s always because we love that we are rebellious; it takes a great deal of love to give a damn one way or another what happens from now on: I still do.
Kenneth Patchen