Tag Archives: Poetry in Wells

Long time no sea

After a summer break we met again on 5 September at the Sherston Inn. We began with a reading by Clare Diprose from her pamphlet “Thinking of You”. It was lovely to hear the poems together and to get a sense of this Bridport Prize runner-up’s style – assured, economical, observant, with an instinct for the right word and a way of catching you off-guard with a haunting phrase.


We heard poems from Ewa, Ewan, Wendy, Jo, Caroline, Morag, Rachael, Jinny, David and Ama. Paul sent in a poem which was read by Ama. This post’s title is taken from Ewa’s poem about a visit to Burnham-on-Sea.

Rachael’s “Tradition” has been published in the latest issue of The Rialto, and she has been short-listed in this year’s Poetry Space competition.

Ama has a poem “Hartlake” in the new issue of Obsessed with Pipework.

Morag has a poem forthcoming in Tears in the Fence.

Jo will be reading at Tea and Chi in Glastonbury on 23 September.

Wendy will be one of the poets at Twenty Poets Perform in Bristol Central Library on 1 October as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival 2016. This is a really enjoyable event for all concerned, and entrance is free. Full festival details should be on the Poetry Can website pretty soon.

Finally, Rachael, Sara, Morag, Jinny, Jo and Ama will be giving a third performance of this year’s collaboration Second Skin at the Tears in the Fence festival fundraiser weekend at Stourpaine in Dorset this coming Saturday, 17th September –  details here. Andrew will also be reading at this event.

Latest news, hot off the press: Jo, Jinny and Rachael have all had poems accepted for the Broadsheet, which publishes once a year for SW poets. The launch is part of Exeter Poetry Festival in October.

The next meeting will be on Monday 3 October in Just Ales Micropub in Market Street (behind the bus station), 7.45 for 8pm. Real ale and local cider on tap, as well as coffee! There will be a Featured Poet and a charge of £2 which will be saved up until we have enough to pay a Guest Poet.

Other news: Poetry readings at Wells Litfest include Lemn Sisssay on 18 October. If you don’t know about him, do listen to his Desert Island Discs on the radio 4 i-player. He’s phenomenal! See the website for details.

Toppings bookshop in Bath have a programme of readings, including Carrie Etter and Claire Crowther on 1 October, Katherine Towers on 3 October, Rosie Jackson on 7 November, Alice Oswald in the nearby St Swithin’s Church on 15 November and Ruth Sharman on 16 November.

Yeovil Litfest 20-23 October.

It isn’t necessary to know where a poem is going in order to begin to write.  Writing can let you find out what you think.
– Roy Marshall

If you know exactly what you are going to say about a subject before you begin your poem, it is probably better to say that thing in prose.
– Sue Boyle


The writing is on the wall, and it smells

photo from poweromics.blogspot.co.u

photo from poweromics.blogspot.co.uk

Twenty-three of us met on June 2nd with Paul as chairman to share some poems of protest, in honour of the late Pete Seeger. It proved an opportunity to let our hair down …

Gill got us off to a fine start by singing her Layabout Song, written 35 years ago at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. The link above takes you to a Guardian article in which a version of it is printed as “Down at Greenham”. The oldest poem must have been Ama’s “Talking LBJ Blues”, written way back in 1966!

Poems dealing with current causes for concern were Mark’s “How dare he?”, Rachael’s “Farage Rant”, Wendy’s “Peace for Homs”, Caroline’s “Irish Anger”, Morag’s “Free Woman Dub”, Rosalie’s “Burning Questions” and Paul’s “The Festival Without”, from which this post’s title is taken. Ewan’s “Are we at War?” addressed mankind’s attitude to animals, Diana’s untitled poem referred to the recent badger-cull and Rachael’s “Labels” drew attention to the cruelty of name-calling.

On a more personal level, Annette shared her profoundly moving poem “That Day”, Sara read “Protest”, a lovely sparse poem, and Richard read “When I feel Anger”; honesty was in the air. We were getting stuff off our chests. And it felt good.

We welcomed Andrew, an occasional visitor from Spain, who read a couple of fine poems including “The Cabiri”, a favourite of mine. Another welcome visitor was Stacey, who read her short poem “Sit Little Dog”.

David C’s “Not in my back uncontrolled sky” and Pamela’s “Australia” were, as Paul remarked, two of the most original poems we’ve heard anywhere. Altogether it was a memorable evening. Thank you, Paul.

We shall be taking a two-month break, but will be back on September 8th at a new venue, the King’s Head in Wells High Street. I (Ama) will be the chairperson, and the optional topic will be “Friends and other strangers”.

One day work is hard, and another day it is easy; but if I had waited for inspiration I am afraid I should have done nothing. The miner does not sit at the top of the shaft waiting for the coal to come bubbling up to the surface. One must go deep down, and work out every vein carefully. – Arthur Sullivan

What’s Cooking?

Twenty-five of us met at The Fountain on Monday, some regulars coming from as far afield as Bristol, Bath, Frome and East Coker – thank you all for being with us and for helping to create the very special group that is The Fountain Poets. The poems are getting better and better! So are the titles; here are a few that caught my attention:
‘How to slim’
‘Things are so different now that I am dead’
‘Recipe for a man’
‘Visiting Rumi’s Mausoleum’
‘Coffea arabica’
‘Passionate Cooking’
‘Louis in the do-do’
‘Rolls Royce in the kitchen’
‘Burnt offerings’
‘Dead fly’

Mark’s ‘Hen party’  had a quite unforeseen sting in the tail, and David C’s ‘Postcards’ chronicled a disastrous holiday, again with a surprise ending which had everyone in stitches. Ewa read her latest work in English and Polish, and Rosalie read a lovely romantic German poem, followed by her own translation of it. We also heard a set of very clever limericks, and poems on local topics, including the recent floods and the eviction of the Bishop of Bath and Wells from his palace.

Congratulations are due to Fountain poets Rosalie Challis and Claire Coleman, both of whom have poems in the forthcoming anthology “Love and Loss” edited by Rosie Bailey and June Hall, to Rachael Clyne whose poem “Sixties Dreaming” features in the Poetry Space Spring Showcase, and to Ama Bolton, who won a small prize for a Special Mention in the Magma Editors’ prize.

The next meeting will be on Monday 7th April, with Norman in the chair. His chosen theme, for those who like to have one,  is “Computers and the Internet”.

This blog has a readership far wider than the group who meet regularly at the Fountain. We’d like them to know that they would receive a very warm welcome among us if they should ever come to this part of the world.

And finally … there’s a famous story about somebody coming up to Robert Creeley, the poet, after a reading and saying, “You know that last poem that you read – was that a real poem or did you just make it up?”

Dates for 2014

Our next meeting will be on Monday 2nd December. Some copies of the anthology Poems from the Fountain 2013 are still available and I will bring them to the meeting. There will also be a few copies for sale on the weekend of 7-8 December, 10am – 5pm, at The Dove Studios in Butleigh, alongside etchings by Bron Bradshaw and the Dove Etchers, pots by Mike Dodd, woven textiles by Sandie Roche, drawings by Tony Martin, and hand-made books by members of  the artists’ book group ABCD.

We shall be meeting on the following Mondays in 2014 at 7.45 for 8pm.
6   January       chaired by Sara Butler
3   February     chaired by Ewa Marcinkowska
3   March         chaired by Clare Diprose
7   April            chaired by Norman Hodgton
19 May             chaired by Wendy Nicholson
2   June            chaired by Paul Rogers

There will be a two-month break in the summer, before we resume in September.

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads. – Marianne Moore

September meeting

Our first meeting of the new season will be on Monday September 9th, upstairs at The Fountain Inn at the bottom of St Thomas Street in Wells. The postcode is BA5 2UU. There is a car-park on the other side of the road. Please arrive before 8pm so that we can start on time! Visitors are always welcome, whether they come to read their own poems or just to listen. Good poetry needs good audiences!

The Fountain is under new ownership and we shall be meeting in the back room from now on.

I have received details of the Fire River Poets’ Open Competition, closing date 8 November. I have posted the rules and entry form as a separate page: feel free to copy and print it.

Latest news: two Fountain poets, Rachael Clyne and Ama Bolton, will have work included in the forthcoming Poetry Space anthology “Nothing Recognisable as Human”. Martyn Crucefix says of one of Rachael’s poems “I enjoyed the bold metaphorical range and compass of ‘Toadsong’ “. The full text of his report can be read here.

cover for anthology 2013

This post was written by Ama.

May and June meetings 2013

May’s meeting was enlivened by a rare and welcome appearance from Charles  Johnson, who generously brought a couple of large boxes of poetry anthologies, collections and writing guides, lugged them up the steep stairs and invited the company to take home any that took their fancy. I suggested that a “bring and take” bookstall should become a feature of our meetings. I should like a chance to read some of the books that were adopted by other people! It would be nice, too, to relieve the congestion on my own bookshelves.

Charles is the editor of Obsessed with Pipework and invites submissions to this adventurous publication. Have a look at the magazine on the Poetry Library’s archive. Have a look at Charles’s page under “The Poets’ Pages” (just above the cherry-plum blossom on this page). And do send me something with which to start a page for you.

Although some of the familiar faces were missing, it was a pleasure to welcome four newcomers to the Fountain group: Claire, Chris, Izzy and Carolyn. For a bank holiday, an attendance of 23 was very good. Poems ranged from brief and witty to long and Chaucerian and from topical to historical, and included one poem for two voices and two or three so moving that they ended in a brief, stunned silence.

Our next meeting will be on 3rd June, same time, same place. All welcome, whether readers or listeners. The theme, for those who like to have one, will be the writing process … to mark Jane’s last appearance as chairperson and guiding spirit, encouraging muse and all-round Good Egg.

In future, volunteer members will occupy the Chair for one month at a time – thanks to Rachael and Jo for offering to do this. It will be the chairperson’s privilege to suggest a theme for his or her month, or to set no theme.

Latest news. Charles Johnson writes: I just heard from my friend Meredith (one half of the editorial team at Flarestack Poets, the successor ‘firm’ to my old Flarestack Publishing’s pamphlet programme) that they are trying this year for the first time a submission “window”, from now until the end of June, for pamphlet collection manuscripts. I wondered if this might be of interest to some of the Fountain group. Details can be found at http://www.flarestackpoets.co.uk/page22.htm.

See also the Faber New Poets Scheme here.

This post was written by Ama.

Introducing The Wells Fountain Poets

Jane Williams, who has chaired our sessions for ten years, will be retiring from this position in June. Jane’s attitude of unconditional positive regard has ensured that our meetings have been conducted in a spirit of trust, open-ness and respect. “When you listen to a poem, you are accessing part of someone’s soul,” Jane said at our January 2013 meeting. Over the  years I have watched hesitant poets unfurl and blossom in this benign atmosphere. Whatever form our meetings take after the summer break, I hope we shall never lose the very special spirit that has grown up among us. Believe me, not all poetry groups are like this!

We usually meet on the first Monday of each month. The first Monday in April will be Easter Monday and we agreed not to hold a meeting that day, as so many people are likely to be away or busy.

Our next meeting will therefore be on Monday 6 May (which will also be a Bank Holiday!), upstairs at The Fountain Inn at the bottom of St Thomas Street in Wells, BA5 2UU, 7.45pm for an 8pm start, and finishing by 10pm. Read your own work or just come and listen. The meeting after that will be on 3rd June, after which there will be a two-month summer break.

For those who like to have a theme, how about “Mayday”? Those who don’t, please ignore this suggestion.

Entrance £3. Parking in car park opposite.

This post was written by Ama Bolton who, with Jane, was a co-founder of the Wells Fountain Poets.