Tag Archives: Rosalie Challis

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

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“Clear through to the core”

The venue for our September meeting was The King’s Head. Ama was in the chair and our topic was “Friends and Other Strangers”, which produced a wonderful variety of mostly true stories of people we have known – playground bullies, friends both faithful and treacherous, imaginary friends, colleagues, neighbours and strangers observed. My title is taken from Rosalie Challis’s poem “Role-call” which explored the relationship between a portrait-painter and his model.

Wendy Nicholson, our local Beatrix Potter, has produced a new book. It’s beautifully written and illustrated and absurdly cheap at £2, which goes to  Northern Red Squirrels. It would make a lovely present for a child of any age.

Old Land001

This year’s Bradford-on-Avon Poetry Competition has resulted in a set of ten beer-mats featuring the short-listed short poems on the subject of Light. What a great idea! They can be found in pubs in and around Bradford-on-Avon, and the set can be purchased for £5 from the organiser, Dawn Gorman, dawngorman37(at)virginmedia(dot)com.

Rick's beer-mat001Rick's beer-mat002

There is an evening of poetry, including memories of Laurie Lee, on Saturday September 20th at The Red Brick Building in Glastonbury. For details see the RBB website.

On Wednesday October 1st at 7.30pm in the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute in Queen Square, local poets Rosie Jackson and Jeremy Young will be launching their début pamphlets; do go along and support them if you can!

Our next meeting will be at The White Hart Hotel in Sadler Street on Monday 13th October. The room is on the ground floor at the back. It will be in use by another group until 7.30, so if you arrive early please wait in the bar. For those coming from Glastonbury and Street there is parking nearby in the Market Place. If you’re coming from Bristol/Bath/Frome a more convenient parking place is St Andrew Street, alongside Cathedral Green. Walk through the archway onto Sadler Street and the White Hart is directly opposite.

Rachael will be in the chair and has chosen “Nearly” as an optional theme. Off-topic poems are welcome too, of course.

 “Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

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

All the windows in my head are open

Twenty Fountain Poets met last Monday to share recent (and not-so-recent) work, with an optional theme of “Computers and the Internet”. This proved to be a catalyst for some exciting experimental work. Mo and Joan performed a circular dialogue “My e-mail’s not working” on the model of “There’s a hole in my bucket”. David Cloke enlisted the help of Google Translate to create barely-recognisable versions of well-known poems via Polish and Japanese and back to English. Mo used early voice-recognition software to record her poem “Language”, which suffered surprising changes, some absurd and some strangely poetic. The title of this post is taken from her second poem, “PC”. Annette gave us “Soul-mates or Hell-mates”, her take on internet-dating. Rachael’s “PC” described a power-struggle between machine and user. Mark’s poems gave us entertaining glimpses into computer-literacy classes at a local library. Rosalie’s first poem “MRI Music” dealt movingly with the experience of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and her second poem was a chilling cautionary tale of a virus that arrived in an innocent-looking e-mail. The opening stanza of Andy’s first poem was written entirely in binary code …

Mentions of cherry blossom were not unexpected – it is April after all – but more surprising subjects were slugs, turtles, head-lice and a giant squid!

We welcomed two newcomers, David and Kate, and hope to see them again.

We congratulated Paul, who has had a story short-listed for the Jeremy Mogford Prize, and Ewan, whose poem “In Love with God” has been set to music by George Odam, formerly professor of Music at Bath Spa University.The first performance was in Denmark, and the second was in Wells Cathedral last Saturday.

Our next meeting will not be on the first Monday, but on 19th May. Wendy Nicholson will take the chair and the theme she has given us is “A Sense of Place”. The meeting after that will be only two weeks later, on June 2nd. Paul will be in the chair and he has asked us to write protest poems  in the tradition of the late, great, Pete Seeger. There seems to be much to protest about even in our small corner of the world – fracking, Hinkley C, building on green fields, the proposed relocation of “our” bishop. I’m sure you can think of plenty more!

It’s always because we love that we are rebellious; it takes a great deal of love to give a damn one way or another what happens from now on: I still do.
Kenneth Patchen

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?”