Fierce, tender, heart-breaking, healing poems: not to be missed.
Fierce, tender, heart-breaking, healing poems: not to be missed.
I thought it was an inspiring and moving night altogether and your guest poet Beth was wonderful. Such talent so young; where will she end up?
Pretty close to the top, is my guess! Beth Calverley performed most of her poems from memory and performed them well, with candour and warmth. She radiated hope: no small feat in these dark times. It was a remarkable evening in many ways, with an outstanding guest and some deeply-felt contributions in the second half, including one from Beth’s mum, Sally. Some poems made us laugh, some made us sigh or even cry, one was sung with a chorus we could sing along with and one featured a shockingly close encounter with sudden death. What more could you ask from a small-town (ok, small city) poetry reading?
Next meeting: Monday December 3rd at Loaf, 38 Market Street, Wells BA5 2DS: very close to the bus station and car park. Featured poet Rachael Clyne will read from her new collection Girl Golem. And of course there will be the usual open-mic. And Danny’s remarkable cakes.
Congratulations to Rosie Jackson, who won three prizes in the Wells Poetry Competition: First Prize, Hilly Cansdale Prize and the People’s Vote! Rosie also won second prize in the Torbay Festival competition, and was highly commended in the Winchester Festival competition. And to Linda Saunders, who won Third prize at Wells, and Deborah Harvey, who was short-listed.
Michelle Diaz shared a reading at the Poetry cafe in London with Jane Lovell, Alison Brackenbury and Graham Clifford on October 19th.
Morag Kiziewicz has been long-listed for The Bridport Prize, and Ama Bolton was joint winner of the 2018 East Coker Poetry Competition. She has a poem in the current issue of Magma and will be reading at the London launch later this month. A found poem is on-line at Unlost.
Claire Coleman had a poem published in each of South 57 and South 58 this year, and read at the launch in Bournemouth of South 58. She also had a poem (“Erasing the Future”, one of the strongest offerings in last night’s open-mic) commended in this year’s Poetry Space competition, and has been facilitating poetry sessions for Literature Works/ Alzheimer’s Society Memory Cafes; the most recent was on National Poetry Day for Literature Works and Gloucester Library’s Share a Poem group.
Finally, I’m delighted to hear that Tom Sastry, who has read to us twice in recent years, has a collection coming out next year from Nine Arches Press.
Whatever you accomplish, make it look as if it happened on its own.
– Dave Bonta
photo: Ama Bolton
On Monday in the delightful LOAF Bakehouse we had the great pleasure of hearing David Punter read some of his work. My title is taken from his lovely poem A Dream of Ships.
We welcomed newcomer Mervyn and a group from the Wells Writers. There were some excellent poems during the open-mic parts of the evening, from Mark, Diana, Mervyn, David K, Lydia, Paul W, Rachael, Jinny, Michelle, Andrew and Morag and two tiny snippets from me (Ama). Paul’s hilarious tribute to the menu at LOAF, powerful work from Rachael, Jinny, Michelle and Morag, Wendy’s tandem poem, David’s Mark-downs and Andrew’s heart-wrenching Care Plan deserve special mention, but really it was an evening of good work all round. Afterwards I received several appreciative e-mails:
“a brief note to say how much I enjoyed the meeting together of so many talented and diverse poets. It was a magical evening and how friendly and welcoming you all are.”
” … exudes wisdom steeped in depth of knowledge, compassion and sensitivity to all around him, that makes his poetry reading utterly compelling – mesmeric in fact! – Yes I did like David!”
“a very pleasant evening”
“I liked the format”
Special thanks to the regulars (you know who you are) who arrived early to arrange the furniture and were so supportive on a day when my stitches were particularly painful. They are out now!
The next meeting will be on Monday 5th November, upstairs at Venue, 42 South Street, Wells BA5 1SL, at the usual time of 7.45 for 8pm. Or come early for a pizza or fish and chips. We do not yet have a firm booking for a guest poet. Watch this space. In honour of National Poetry Day (just a month late) the optional theme, for anyone in need of a prompt, is “Change”. No apologies are needed for poems on other topics unless they contain inappropriate use of shard or heft. Now there’s a challenge!
What is the most important thing? First: writing the best poems you can, the poems that (as Larkin said) only you can write. Second: finding a few good readers for them.
– Helena Nelson
Our guest on Monday 1st October will be David Punter, professor of Poetry at the University of Bristol, and co-director of the Bristol Poetry Institute. Venue: LOAF, Market Street, Wells BA5 2DS, 7.45 for 8pm. It’s very close to the bus station and car park.
David’s publications include China and Glass (Bran’s Head Press, 1985); Lost in the Supermarket (Open Heart, Hong Kong, 1987); Asleep at the Wheel (Amani, 1996); Selected Short Stories (Hub Editions, 1999); Foreign Ministry (Hub Editions, 2011); and Bristol: 21 Poems (Amazon, 2017). In 2014 he brought out an audio-CD of his work, Flashes in the Dark.
His poetry and short stories have been published in a huge variety of magazines in the UK and North America. His poetry has won prizes in the Liverpool International Poetry Festival, the Yeovil Literary Festival, and the Mere Literary Festival. His work touches on celebration and loss, delight and grief. Some of it is based in dream; other poems are rigorously formal. His most recent work, like ‘The Ballad of Refuge’, which was featured on the National Poetry Society website, has turned to political themes, especially those concerning the current disasters of global economics; at the same time, he keeps a firm poetic foothold in his current home city of Bristol and its environs.
I have just updated this page with the latest news from the East Coker Poetry Group. It includes information about this year’s competition, especially designed to inspire new poetry. Do have a go!
Another way of spending all that spare time you probably don’t have is this poetry experiment.
Gogoame (午後雨), afternoon rain – in Japanese –, is a text rain. This web art experiment, developed by Pedro Veneroso in October 2016, implements a physics engine (that simulates gravity acceleration, wind, among other factors) to create a rain of characters in which words and phrases are formed while characters are falling. By clicking in a button (the letter “A” on the left side of the interface) and providing a text, the visitor can make any text he wants rain. Or the visitor can choose to contemplate the fall of random words that keep being formed in the rain.
It’s beautiful. And quite possibly habit-forming. I dare you not to have a look! Click on the “A” to write and share your own poetry. Enter your text, click on “share” and then on the link ikon, then copy the address that appears. Thanks to Judy Kleinberg at The Poetry Department for letting her followers know about this.
This is mine http://gogoame.sumbioun.com/?ame=5b7d39087d275, the first three lines of a poem inspired by this extraordinary short film by Julie Gauthier – certainly my most frequently-watched Vimeo in this year of drought.
Fountain Poets, send me your gogoame links in the comments section below so we can all savour them.
Next meeting: Oct 1. Guest poet David Punter Professor of Poetry, University of Bristol, and co-director of the Bristol Poetry Institute. Time: 7.45 for 8pm, finishing about 9.45. Venue: LOAF, Market Street, Wells BA5 2DS. Close to the bus station and car park.
This post’s title is taken from Deborah’s first poem, ‘Old Moulder’s Almanac’, which she described as “a mad astrological calendar”. She ended her first set with a breathtaking and very moving wreath of sonnets written since the recent death of her father.
Her wide-ranging second set took us from Bristol, the Quantocks, Chew Valley Lake and Dartmoor to Leningrad and Chernobyl by way of High Wycombe.