Tag Archives: Pamela Coate

The croggle of a froggle

Once again, big thanks to Just Ales for making us so welcome. Several copies of our collaborative birthday poem were on display!
Rosie Jackson was unfortunately not well yesterday, so we held our April meeting without a guest poet but with many splendid poems from our resident poets.
The evening began with Ama’s  “Legend”, a poem for six voices that was published in Obsessed with Pipework last year. Sara followed with two short poems about poultry from a sequence drawing on her former life as a smallholder in Norfolk. Next up was Wendy, who read a deliciously inventive piece about frogs, from which I have taken the title of this post. Mark read a poignant memory of comfortless schooldays and Morag shared close observations of a snake. Caroline’s first poem was an elegy for a friend, and Ewa’s began “Poetry can happen to you unexpectedly”, with an extempore translation into Polish. Ewan read a memory of childhood blackberrying and a topical war-poem. Paul’s first poem was both a true story and a topical political comment. Michelle read a heart-stopping poem about her father. Jo and Rachael read punchy new work – both of them are writing a poem a day this month for NaPoWriMo 2017. There are some excellent prompts and tips on Jo Bell’s blog.
During the interval, Jenny Smith from Wells Litfest told us about the Wells Poetry Competition which this year is to be judged by Gillian Clarke, former National Poet of Wales. Some of us bought Wendy’s charming Easter cards, painted and printed by her in support of wildlife charities. Beer, cider, tea and hot chocolate were served …
All of us read again in the second half, the most remarkable items being Rachael’s “Diana” about her sister, Pamela’s “Hooray for Henry” read in her absence by Ama, and Wendy’s rap “Tetrahydrocannabinol” a tour de force in what is for her a new genre.
We will have a presence at the Wells Festival of Food on Sunday October 8th. If there are enough suitable submissions this will include a new Fountain Poets Anthology (our third) which will concentrate on food-related topics. There will also be a poetry treasure-trail. Foody poems, ideas and offers of help on the day are very welcome!
Next month’s meeting will be at Just Ales on Monday 1st May, when the guest poet will be Claire Coleman, Ewa will be the chairperson and at Paul’s suggestion the optional topic will be Beltane, which happens also to be the theme of the next-but-one Cinnamon Press mini-competition, deadline 15 May.
I will end by sharing a quotation sent in recently by Pamela.

Poetry is speech made incandescent – Clive James

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The Persisters is a newly established network of feminist poets and artists. We are intersectional and inclusive. We are concerned about the turning tide in the rights of women and all minorities.

We are harnessing collective skills as poets, artists and wordsmiths to create community and combat the erosion of hard-won freedoms fought for and earned over many decades.

We want to celebrate, enjoy and secure those gains, and to support the struggle to extend those rights to all women. We believe in art as dialogue, celebration and resistance. We also believe in getting together for a party.

Join us for an afternoon of feminist poetry, discussion and belly-dancing from some of the West Country’s finest poets and performers, including Annie Freud and Rachael Boast. Entry is a recommended donation of £5, proceeds going to Refugee Women of Bristol (http://www.refugeewomenofbristol.org.uk/).
Sunday 9th April, 3-6pm at Roll for the Soul, 2 Quay St BS1 2JL
List of readers.

Zillah Bowes
Chaucer Cameron
Rachael Clyne
Pey Pey Oh
Jinny Fisher
Dawn Gorman
Hazel Hammond
Deborah Harvey
Rosie Jackson
Morag Kiziewicz
Rowena Knight
Katie Noonan
Ellie O’Connell
Helen Sheppard
Sue Sims
Shirley Wright

The clock is ticking

Fog and illness made for a smaller-than-usual group of poets last evening at the Sherston Inn, with Jo in the chair, sharing poems on and off the theme of “Clocks”. Nevertheless we welcomed two new listeners who we hope will come again. There were some memorable contributions. Neil was inspired by a cold to write two clever pastiches – (“O nose thou art thick …”), Ewan left his comfort-zone and explored the wilder shores of haiku, Jo read two wonderfully witty poems on the clock topic, Mark performed a villanelle from which this post’s title is taken, and a topical poem about the extra hour in bed. Clare too contributed a short and sweet poem on the changing of the clocks, read in her absence by Ama.

Paul never knowingly writes on-topic; from him we had one poem in praise of his poetic collaborator (a muse that mews) and one about the Severn Bridge, both in his distinctive style. We have learned to expect to be disturbed by Jinny’s work. She did not disappoint. Wendy read two poignant and well-crafted poems – one of them a prize-winning sonnet – on the theme of time. Pamela delighted us with a handful of tiny poems. From Richard we had two fine sonnets, from Rachael a pair of short, skilfully-written poems, and from Ama “Time Travel”, her Bridport 3rd-prize-winning poem from 2008, and a very recent pastoral invitation to abandon the use of clocks.

Our next meeting will be on Monday December 7th, when Ewa will be in the chair. The theme she has chosen is “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness” – a proverb that can also be taken literally during the short winter days.

Other news:
Congratulations to Rosie Jackson, who won the Hilly Cansdale prize in the Wells competition.
There is a new poetry open-mic venue in Glastonbury, “Tea and Chi” in Benedict Street at 7pm on the last Thursday of the month.
On November 10th in Bath there will be a free slide-show-illustrated sequence of readings from poems written in 1915 – details below.

Flyer Nov 10

“Upheaval is the new zeitgeist”

“Fifty” was the theme when the Fountain Poets met at the Sherston Inn last Monday with Karin in the chair. Some chose to write about the 1950s – Richard’s memories of growing up in Oxfordshire, Jinny’s scenes from a 50s childhood, Mark’s fond reminiscences of Marilyn Monroe’s 50s films. Ewan wrote about rowing as a schoolboy on the River Severn. Morag read “2015-fifty”. Karin’s poems are densely-packed with layers of meaning and metaphor – quite a challenge to take in at a single hearing! We look forward to seeing them in print. The two she read touched on the experience of turning fifty recently. From Wendy we heard a delicious story-poem about the love of a 50-year-old Romeo and his Juliet.  Ama’s poem was a response to seeing St Kilda from a distance of fifity miles.

The refugee crisis prompted other poems, including Rachael’s “Silent faces keep appearing“, Ewan’s “Places Isaac and Rebecca Knew”, Morag’s “Mull” and Ama’s “The Risk-takers“.

Jo’s poem “Machine to destroy Landays” (forthcoming in Obsessed with Pipework) refers to a subversive form of Afghan folk-poetry practiced mainly by women. To learn more, see this fascinating and heartbreaking essay by Eliza Griswold. Jo’s second poem was a product of her practice of writing a weekly poem with words taken from the current issue of “New Scientist”.

Wendy’s second poem was “I like to walk the Monarch Way”. Wendy will be reading at “Twenty Poets Perform” in the cafe area of Bristol Central Library on the afternoon of Saturday 26th September, an annual (free) event ably organised by Mark as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival.

From Caroline we had memories of a holiday in Cornwall, and a short sharp reaction to muzak. From Pamela, the heartfelt “After they’ve gone”, and by way of contrast, a wry birthday-card rhyme.

Jinny is to be congratulated on having not one but two poems in this year’s Bridport Prize short-list. Her poem in the second half, inspired by a very strange news-item, caused a sharp intake of breath, followed by applause. It was an evening of rich fare.

Another event on the afternoon of 26th September will be the prizegiving and reading of the short-list of the Bath Poetry Cafe Competition. Fountain poets present will be Ama, Rachael, Sara and Zanna. For more information go to Sue Boyle’s blog.

On Tuesday 29th September, Wells Fountain Poets’ collaborative project Waterwoven will be performed in public for the third time, with Andy reading the part previously read by Ewan. This will also be at Bristol Central Library. Rachael Clyne will also have a solo set at this event, which starts at 7.30pm. The Bristol Poetry Festival runs from 21st Sept to 8th Oct.

Swindon Poetry Festival runs from October 1st to 5th. On the evening of 3rd October Ama will be reading her poem “Winter Boat” at the Battered Moons Competition prizegiving and pamphlet-launch. Sharing a platform with Pascale Petit  Cristina Newton and Rosie Jackson! What a privilege! There are some fabulous events on at the festival – have a look at the programme.

On Sunday 11th October at 3.30 in the Bishop’s Palace (a free event) the winner of the Wells Festival of Literature Poetry Competition will be announced, with a reading of the short-listed poems. For the full programme see the Festival website. The short-list can be seen here.

I’d like to welcome and thank all the followers of this blog, many of whom I’ve not yet met, and especially David of Write Out Loud, whom three of us from Wells had the pleasure of meeting at David Caddy‘s excellent workshop in Dorset on Saturday.

Finally … our next meeting will be on Monday 5th October at the Sherston Inn starting promptly at 8pm. Ama will be in the chair and the topic (optional!) will be “Light”, the theme of National Poetry Day which celebrates its 21st birthday on October 8th.

My title this month is taken from something Rachael said on Monday … I made a note of it but I don’t remember now if it was part of a poem.

Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place. -William Strunk and E.B. White, authors of The Elements of Style

Always in need of a conflict

Fifteen of us met on Monday evening to share poems on and off the topic of “Belligerence”.

Andy, chairman for the evening, read Fragment #9 of his evolving magnum opus “Power Politics”. Mark dealt obliquely with war and its aftermath. David Green’s poignant first poem recalled two interwoven acts of belligerence, and his second investigated possibilities arising from “… the aggravating folk next door …” Jo wrote of belligerence, chillingly, from the point of view of the one on the receiving end. Sara’s two poems looked , one touchingly and one zanily,  at the belligerent possibilities of cooking and eating. That’s quite enough adverbs for now – ed.

Rachael read one poem meditating on the contents of a wardrobe after a death, and another observing belligerent bird behaviour. There were more birds – puffins this time – from Ewan, and Morag read a passionate comment on what’s happening to the bees.

I have taken this post’s title from one of Pamela’s poems “The Way it is”. Her other was a hypnotic chant, “All Eyes”.

We have come to expect rich, raw, fine-tuned autobiographical fragments from Karin. Her poems  had us listening spellbound. Wendy’s poems, too, are always firmly rooted in the real world and always beautifully written.

Jinny’s poems tend to sound straightforward but often have a sting in the tail. Her poem about decorating the Christmas tree was a good example. Her second poem was an erasure-poem from a scientific paper written by her son. Alchemy!

Ama read a quasi-sonnet about an unwritten ballad, and “Biographie” an erasure-poem that can be read here.

The Wells Litfest competition was mentioned after the meeting. The deadline for entries is the end of this month. We decided that we would each enter at least one poem or story. Read about it here.

The six poets of “Waterwoven” will be performing this collaborative sound-collage at Priddy Folk Festival’s Word Tent tomorrow evening (Friday 11th July) at 8pm, and at the Bristol Poetry Festival in late September – date tbc.

Next month we’ll be taking a break, but we hope to be back in the Sherston Inn on 7th September, when Karin invites readings on the topic “Fifty”, and on 5th October when Ama will chair a session on “Light”, the topic for National Poetry Day Thursday 8th October.

Fountain Stars

Rachael and Jinny have poems in the current issue of The Interpreter’s House and Rachael is in Reach Poetry UK. Rachael’s poem in the webzine Three Drops from a Cauldron has been nominated for Best of the Net. Ama’s “Post-election Blues” was posted on The Stare’s Nest on Sunday. David has sent his two poems about the Queen to Buckingham Palace, and has received a thank-you letter!

“Accuracy, Spontaneity, Mystery.” These are the three qualities Elizabeth Bishop admired in the poetry she liked best, according to her essay, “Writing poetry is an unnatural act…” (702) from the collection Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose and Letters

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.

Flat Holm018

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.

comp017

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