This is a sonnet sequence by a very fine poet. It will be performed in full as a half-hour play.
This is a sonnet sequence by a very fine poet. It will be performed in full as a half-hour play.
“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.
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
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.
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/
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.
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
Andrew Henon, poet, painter, film-maker and tower of strength, recorded our collaborative performance in Bath last Saturday. Here it is.
“Waterwoven” is a sound-collage for six voices and rain-stick. Forty-two poems by six poets were cut up and rearranged to form a sequence for performance, beginning with the first drops of rain and ending with the vastness of the Atlantic. Blocks of blank verse were whittled down to slender elliptical stanzas. Sonnets and villanelles were ruthlessly dismembered. Often, opening lines or first stanzas were discarded. Choruses emerged. We had the first draft of a script. Through four weeks of rehearsal it was refined bit by bit by all of us. Another week of rehearsal might have yielded further changes. It is a work in progress.
The performance was followed by a half-hour discussion/Q&A session between compère Nikki Kenna, poet John Richardson (Jay Arr), the Bluegate Poets from Swindon, us Fountain Poets from Wells, and several members of the audience. Many of us said what a pleasure it had been to collaborate, and that we had learnt much. Hearing ones own lines spoken by another can be a useful experience. Andy’s filming of two rehearsals was enormously
embarrassing helpful in pointing out our strengths and weaknesses. Rachael Clyne’s years of experience as an actor made her an excellent coach, and it was she who wielded the rain-stick.
Later in the day Rachael read a selection of poems from her latest collection “Singing at the Bone Tree”. Here is the link to the footage of her reading.
Big thanks to Sue Boyle for making it happen, to Nikki and John for their reassuring competence and close attention as compères, to the whole team of technicians, welcomers, bookstall-minders and caterers, and to our friends and family who came to listen. As Walt Whitman said, “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.”
During the week beginning Monday 10th June Bath Cafe Poets will be hosting and taking part in a series of workshops, discussions and readings in Bath Central Library.
This exciting programme of events has been organised by Sue Boyle, a passionate promoter and enabler on the Bath poetry scene.
In addition to Sue and other well-known names (Patricia Oxley, R.V.Bailey, Alwyn Marriage, Wendy French, Anthony Fairweather, William Oxley) many of the Fountain poets will be taking part in these events. There will of course be readings from the new anthology The Listening Walk, which is now available from Amazon.co.uk and worldwide from Amazon.com.
And finally, don’t forget that the Fountain Poets will next be meeting on the evening of June 3rd, at the Fountain Inn, 7.45 for 8pm. We hope to see you there!