Tag Archives: Poetry Space

Light a candle: celebrate standing in the dark

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Twelve poets met at the Sherston on December 7th to share recent work on and off the topic of lighting candles rather than cursing the dark. There were poems from David and Ama about floating candles in paper boats, and a candle poem from Chris. We heard dark poems from Chris, Andy  and Sara. Sara has the distinction of having been commended this year in the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize, which was won in 2013 by Rachael. This post’s title is from Rachael’s “Solstice”, due to be published in the January issue of Raceme, a new literary magazine for Bristol and the South-west. Mark read two of his characteristic observations on human nature and from Richard we heard two sonnets inspired by precious stones.

Jo read “From Life” which is published in the Poetry Space Winter Showcase. Ewan read “Desert Wisdom” and a poem on the anniversary of his mother’s death. Ama’s second poem was a celebration of being in the dark. Ama had eleven poems in the last issue of Obsessed with Pipework and one in the December Mslexia. Some of Chris’s poetry has been carved as part of the Shapwich Heath Sculpture Trail.

Karin read two interestingly different versions of a new poem. Paul, a welcome newcomer to the group, contributed two poems.

Next month we’ll be meeting in the same place on January 4th with Rachael in the chair. By tradition we read any other poet’s published work at the January meeting. Rachael has suggested that this time we consider which eight poems we’d take with us to the BBC’s desert island – read two of them and list the other six. This will be quite a challenge, and should make for interesting listening.

Best wishes to all for a happy Christmas/Solstice/Saturnalia and an inspiring New Year.

Poetry is a sort of homecoming. – Paul Celan

 

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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

… fade to monochrome

Latest news: two Fountain poets, Rachael Clyne and Claire Coleman, have poems in the Poetry Space Summer Showcase. Well done, both!

Editor Susan Jane Sims writes:

Dear Doe by Rachael Clyne I love for its beautiful natural imagery. Inside her bedroom, the poet looks out on a deer mothering her fawn and finds a connection, both enjoying the calm of the evening as the sun goes down.

I have featured two poems from Claire Coleman. One that explores the heartbreak of a parent going into a nursing home (Packing for the Nursing Home) and the other that tackles the aftermath of the parent’s death (Saturday’s Clearance). At the heart of each are the subject’s belongings and the deep reverence the poet has for these things and for their owner. The second poem highlights the stark differences in how two siblings handle a death.

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’
‘Road-kill’
‘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?”

February fill-dyke

IMG_8369

In spite of unprecedented rainfall in the last few weeks, twenty-two poets made it to the Fountain last Monday. We heard a flood of weather-related poems – and a shower of Valentines, too! Richard was especially prolific, having written apt and amusing Valentine tributes to many members of the group.

It was good to see Mark again, thanks to the improved bus time-table, and Andrew too, whose migration pattern so seldom enables him to be with us. He read his wonderful poem about Lorca. Anyone who has a copy of our 2008 anthology can find it on page 28. I still have a few copies of the 2013 anthology – clearance sale price £3 – contact me if you’d like one.

Wendy Nicholson (see her page in Poets’ Pages, above) brought along a few copies of her pamphlet Along Woodland Ways, a touching poem about the endangered native Red Squirrel, with Wendy’s own delightful colour illustrations on every page. It is ridiculously good value and will be sold to swell the funds of Northern Red Squirrels.

Wendy's book001

Rachael Clyne read a poem from her forthcoming pamphlet, Singing at the Bone Tree, which will be published in June. Congratulations to Rachael, who was one of two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Competition.

Other members deserving congratulations include Jo Waterworth, who has a poem in the Poetry Space Winter Showcase anthology, Jane Williams who has a poem in the Plough Prize long list, and Clare Diprose and Ama Bolton, who have poems in the Plough Prize short list. Ama had a poem (heard at the Fountain in November) highly commended in the Charles Causley competition, and will be at Keats House in Hampstead on February 25th to receive a runner-up prize in the Magma Editors Prize Competition.

If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.

– Juan Ramon Jimenez, poet, Nobel prizewinner

Through a Child’s Eyes

The latest book from Poetry Space is an anthology of poems from World War Two chosen by Moira Andrew. Fountain poets Sara Butler and Jane Williams are contributors.

Through a Child’s Eyes brings together some of the best known poets          writing today together with  brand new names in the poetry world. It represents a full range of childhood  war time experience: being looked after by strangers in unfamiliar surroundings, arriving here in the UK as a refugee unable to communicate, herded onto cattle trucks, sheltering from the bombs, losing family members, seeing soldiers on the streets, living with daily rationing and living with the trauma of having survived the huge loss of family and friends. It reminds us too, how children are often left to work out what is going on for themselves because the adults don’t tell them anything. Yet these children also had fun. There are playtimes and rivalries, favourite toys and games. Above all this book is about the child’s capacity to get on with the business of being a child despite everything and to survive.

More details here.

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.