Tag Archives: Rosalie Challis

Turn the world upside-down for love

What we do when we read aloud is to give the poem a new life off the page. If we do this well, either alone in a room or for an audience, we can make the poem memorable. Last Monday our guest was Claire Coleman, who is a fine writer and an excellent reader. She treated us to a feast of fourteen highly nourishing poems. Many of them concerned food – growing it, preparing it, and the effects of not having it. “Ellipsis” is a tender, poignant poem of memory-loss that was short-listed for the National Memory Day competition  recently. My title is taken from “Two-person High”, published in the anthology The Listening Walk. I first heard this wonderful love-poem some years ago. Claire brought it to life and and it has stayed with me. Claire finished her set with the uplifting “One Way” from The Book of Love and Loss, which also includes work by some of the biggest names on the contemporary writing scene.

The second half was chaired by Ewa, who told us that May is the most-loved month in Poland. We heard seasonal poems from Mark, Sara, Wendy, Ewa and Ama, and from Ewan a reflection on what poetry is for. Rosalie read a poem addressed to Marcel Proust, Jo read one from her forthcoming pamphlet, and we heard new work from Rachael and Jinny.

Appreciation of spoken poetry does depend on being able to hear it! Just Ales has become a deservedly popular pub, but the noise level is a problem for us. Next month we shall be meeting in the Cocktail Bar at the back of the Rose and Crown, St John Street, Wells (BA5 1SW) on Monday June 5th, 7.45 for 8pm start. The featured poet on this occasion will be Gram Joel Davies.

Gram lives in Somerset and reads with Juncture 25 Poets. His collection  Bolt Down This Earth has recently been published by V. Press  and has already been nominated for the Forward Prize.

There are things your eyes will miss that your ears will not.
– Kate Tempest (on Radio 4 this week), on the importance of reading poetry aloud.

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.

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.

A Day of Good Poetry

… at the Bath Litfest on 7th March.

7 March poster

Six of the Fountain Poets have collaborated in distilling 4629 words of our own poetry down to a half-hour performance script. We shall be spending many hours during the next four weeks rehearsing. True to our name and nature, we will present a flow of words on a watery theme, from the first hint of rain to the vastness of the Atlantic. There will be drought and flood, a birth amid the Glastonbury mud, wild-swimming, danger, a very damp dreamscape, tadpoles, seals, a couple of mermaids and a great many birds.

We’ll take the stage soon after mid-day, and our set will be followed at 12.40 by a short Q&A/discussion with the audience between the Wells and Swindon groups about how they  compiled their sets.

Subversifs from Bath will start the day at 10.30 with their set “Elemental”. Bluegates will follow with “Swindon: the Genius of the Place”. John Richardson will introduce his new pamphlet at 11.40. Another Bath group, Knucklebones, will be on at 2.10 with “Who am I?” This group includes Fountain poet Rosalie Challis. At 2.50 Hannah Teasdale, Jeremy Young and Rosie Jackson will read from their new pamphlets. The Bristol poets will be on at 4.05 with a set entitled “Before”, and at 4.45 there will be a second pamphlet set from Ruth Marden, Rachael Clyne and Sue Boyle. Throughout the day there will be musical contributions from Jon Chambers and Tony Monks. And of course there will be a book-stall!

The evening session will start at 7pm with light refreshments, followed by more music, more poets, including Fountain poet Claire Coleman, and the announcement of the short-list for the Bath Cafe Poetry Competition.

Please come and support us! Bring a packed lunch and stay all day!

The Book of Love and Loss

Love and Loss

This is a book many poets, and indeed most other readers, would appreciate. It is beautifully edited and presented in cloth-bound edition by Dr Rosie Bailey and June Hall, and includes work by nearly two hundred poets, including U.A. Fanthorpe, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and Wendy Cope, and has a foreword by Maureen Lipman. It includes work by Fountain poets Rosalie Challis, Claire Coleman and Rachael Clyne.

The Book of Love and Loss could become a classic resource for anyone seeking comfort through poetry. It covers many aspects of loss: the poignant, the humorous, the practical, spiritual and stark. It is dedicated to the memory of U.A. Fanthorpe and all proceeds go to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

The open waters of time

Eighteen of us were made welcome at The Sherston Inn in Wells when we met last week to share recent poems, some of which were on the theme of remembering. And some were about forgetting.

The first two poems remembered fathers who had served in WW2, and another recalled the evening when the poet’s parents had met. There were childhood memories and memories of things that had happened earlier that same day, poignant memories of a bedside vigil and a clever limerick about the tricks that memory plays. This post’s title is quoted from one of Ewa’s poems.

Sara’s “Southborough” told of a Norfolk tomb with an enigmatic inscription hinting at a very strange story. Jinny, a welcome newcomer, read two very accomplished poems, one of which had the intriguing title “Interrogation of a woman who no longer has a voice”. Paul, who excels at titles, read “Eulogy for an unreadable CD”. A great many birds were mentioned during the evening – kingfishers (twice), starlings (twice), avocets and guillemots.

If there were were a prize for the most unusual poem it would have to go to Keith, who wrote an epitaph – wrote it on a large piece of wood that he had found on his way to the meeting.

Next month we’ll be meeting in the same place on Monday 8th December. Andy will be in the chair, and the optional theme will be “Festive Gatherings”.

 

is poetry not
a sticky sap that oozes up
through cracks in our hulls

whether we will it
or not, sometimes captures
accidentally

a small winged moment
preserves it for eternity
memory, amber
Laura M Kaminski