Tag Archives: Tears in the Fence

A Skiff of Gilded Darkness

What an excellent evening of poetry we had on 1st August! It was lovely to welcome back Jo Waterworth and David Ketelby and to meet Rina May and hear her well observed and crafted short poems. My title is borrowed from Martin Porter’s mysterious poem ‘Pacifica Queen Mab’. The photo is from Shetland, about as far from the Pacific as you can go, but it spoke to me of gilded darkness.

Some dates for your diaries:

Fountain Poets’ next meeting will be on Monday 5th September at 7pm upstairs at the King’s Head in Wells High Street, with the lovely Annie Fisher of Fire River Poets as Guest Poet. Her latest pamphlet is ‘The Deal’ (Happenstance 2020) – “poems of outlandish comedy undercut by profound seriousness.” – Matthew Paul. There will also be open-mic opportunities as usual.

We shall be having two meetings in October. David Niven will chair an open-mic meeting on 3rd October, and on 17th October (after the Wells Litfest Poetry Competition prizegiving and readings 2-5pm in Cedars Hall) we’ll have a Festival Fringe Binge, with two guest readers, Fountain poet Michelle Diaz, the Chaired Bard of Glastonbury, and Fire River Poet Graeme Ryan, whose stunning collection ‘Valley of the Kings’ was published earlier this year by Coverstory Books. Both meetings are at the King’s Head at 7pm. There will be open-mic reading opportunities.

Rosie Jackson has sent news of her forthcoming events at Dillington House:
6 October one-day course on poetry writing. ‘How to Write Poems that Matter’.
27 October lunchtime talk/slide show/poetry reading from her Stanley Spencer book. ’Two Girls and a Beehive’ .
4-6 November residential memoir writing course.
All details are on the Dillington House website.

This year’s Tears in the Fence Festival runs from 2nd – 4th September at the Stourpaine Village Hall. The Festival theme is ‘Bewilderment / Be-wildered / Be wild’. There will be readings, talks, discussion, book signings, music, refreshments, and a Festival bookstall. From our group, Mo, Andy and I will be among many others taking part. Details on the festival website.  

Fountain poet Beth Webb will be storytelling in the Bishop’s Palace, Wells on 18th September. Details should soon be on the Palace website.

Before all these events, I (Ama Bolton) shall be one of the readers at Contextual 10 from Coverstory Books on Wednesday 31st August on Zoom. Details here
and on Thursday 1st September at the next Fire River Poets Zoom meeting, when Graeme Ryan (see above) will be the featured poet. See details here.

Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. – Audre Lord.

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Interned

We met once again at The Venue in Wells to hear Sharon Larkin from Cheltenham. In the first half she read from her pamphlet (above), which confronts a difficult subject – eating disorders – with courage, earthy humour and a clear, uncompromising gaze. In her second half she read a wide variety of work, some published and some in-progress. It is always rather a treat to be given a preview of not-yet-published poetry!

In the open-mic slots we heard from Diana, Steve, Andrew (including a poem forthcoming in Tears in the Fence), Morag, Mervyn, Jinny and Ama, ending with a “bonus track” from Sharon.

We shall be taking a break in August. Back on Monday September 2nd with guest poet Pam Zinneman-Hope.

Meanwhile:

Creeping Toad is inviting amphibian-themed poems, stories and anecdotes.

Ama will be one of the readers in an all-day presentation of observational (morning) and environmental (afternoon) writing from Bath Writers and Artists on Saturday 20th July, 10-12.30 and 2-4.30 at BRLSI, Queen Square. Free entrance includes tea and cakes!

Ama’s sequence of poems “A Conference of Trees” will be performed by fourteen readers, with improvised music, at the opening of an exhibition of artists’ books at AceArts in Somerton on Friday 30th August. For an invitation, contact amabolton(at)hotmail(dot)com. This will be an abridged version. The full version will be performed outdoors during Somerset Art Weeks at Dove Studios on the evening of Saturday 28th September. Again, contact Ama for an invitation.

Thurs 3rd October 2-4 pm: Rachael, Morag, Michelle and Ama will be among those taking part in a reading of prison-themed poems organised by Rosie Jackson for National Poetry Day, Voices Inside B-Wing, Shepton Mallet Prison, BA4 5LU.

Each writer invents a world, and if they’re good, the reader can walk around on solid floorboards and not fall through. – Alisa Golden

The Art of Memory

No one is such an encyclopaedia of all things poetic, past present and future, as David Caddy!

So here we are

“It’s impossible to be an authentic writer without being a serious reader”
Bothayana al-Essa

David Caddy’s writing is clearly underpinned by some serious reading and high-level scholarship. His performance last Monday, mainly of not-yet-published poems, was spellbinding. Some of us may not have understood every word, but every poem came across powerfully and dramatically. There were moments of helpless laughter. There were moments of awe. There was awe mixed with laughter. It was a memorable evening.

During the open-mic we visited Scotland and entered a blue world with Morag, recalled a remarkable aunt in one of Andrew’s earliest poems and heard also his most recent poem, remembered Armistice Day and celebrated a charming eight-year-old with Mark, entered into memories with Rachael, heard a sonnet and a poem full of pregnant gaps from Jinny, experienced night terrors with Steve and a poignant moment of human contact with Michelle, enjoyed two of Rosie’s characteristically insightful poems, looked closely at a milk-jug and some trees with Ama, and finally heard David Caddy’s hair-raising latest poem, a true story from his local pub in Dorset.

Our next meeting will be at The Venue on Monday 1st July and the guest reader will be Sharon Larkin, from Cheltenham.

Rachael’s poem “Remembered” appeared in the Sunday Tribune, Michelle’s poem “The Validity of Existence” is published today on Algebra of Owls, and Mark has five poems in this elegant anthology:

Lansdown Poets

Finally, I have been asked to mention this year’s Oxford Brookes Poetry Competition and the Tears in the Fence Festival. Details below.

Oxford_Brookes_2019TitF 2019

Nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time — and whenever we do it, we’re not poets.
— e.e.cummings

This year’s TITF festival coming soon!

TITF poster

TEARS IN THE FENCE FESTIVAL WEEKEND

This year’s Festival weekend will be from Friday, 15th September 2017 to Sunday, 17th September at The White Horse and Village Hall, Stourpaine. We are looking forward to another invigorating, intimate and inspiring weekend. The Festival’s theme is the politics of engagement. We shall be recalling and discussing the impact of Barry MacSweeney and Irina Ratushinskaya, both of whom read twice at our Festivals in the 1990s. At this time of extreme global political upheaval, our Festival aims to explore the lived experience of repression, austerity measures, migration, censorship and radical poetry.

Amongst the confirmed participants, so far, are Melisande Fitzsimons, Clive Gresswell, Sophie Herxheimer, Ric Hool, Norman Jope, Zibahoo Karbassi, Camilla Nelson, Kate Noakes, Luke Roberts, Steve Spence, Maria Stadnicka.

Open Readings featuring Valerie Bridge, Lesley Burt, Stephen Daniels, Richard Foreman, Gerald Killingworth, Peter King, Aidan Semmens, Charles Wilkinson

Friday 15 September
Poetry Supper Evening at the White Horse restaurant, Stourpaine
http://www.whitehorse-stourpaine.co.uk
Please let David know if you wish to have supper so that places can be booked in advance.
Supper from 6.00 pm
Readings from 7.30 pm MC: Morag Kiziewicz
with Mandy Pannett, Sophie Herxheimer
Open Readings featuring ….

Saturday 16 September
Stourpaine Village Hall
http://stourpaine.info/villagehall

Arrive and welcome 9.00 am
9.30 – 11.00 MC: Andrew Henon
Opening address by David Caddy on the ‘politics of engagement’.
Irina Ratushinskaya presentation featuring Valerie Bridge reading in Russian, Morag Kiziewicz reading in English. Discussion on the poetry of political testimony.
11.00 – 11.15 break
11.15 – 12.30 Steve Spence, Melisande Fitzsimons, and open readings

12.30 – 2pm Lunch White Horse or by Village Hall
2.00 – 3.15 MC: Valerie Bridge
Clive Gresswell, discussion, Zibahoo Karbassi in Persian and English
3.15 – 3.30 break
3.30 – 5.30 Maria Stadnicka, Kate Noakes, Luke Roberts, Norman Jope on the Politics of Plymouth Poetry, and open readings

6.00 – 7.20 Supper at White Horse

7.30 – 8.50 MC: David Caddy
Ric Hool, Camilla Nelson and Luke Roberts on Seditious Things. Discussion on the poetry and legacy of Barry MacSweeney.

Sunday 17 September

9.00 am welcome
9.30 – 11.00 Discussion with Maria Stadnicka, Luke Roberts, Zibahoo Karbassi
11.00 – 11.15 break
11.15 – 12 noon Tears in the Fence Workshop Group Bird and Migration Poems

More details to follow.

OPEN READINGS
We welcome everyone who wishes to read at the Festival. Please let us know if you with to book a slot.

BOOKSTALL
There will be a Festival bookstall. Please bring your books, pamphlets and magazines. Lists of Bookstall items should be emailed in advance to Richard Foreman at richeff1@talktalk.net

ACCOMMODATION
There are a considerable number of guest houses and B&Bs in and around Stourpaine and Blandford Forum. We recommend using Airbnb and the search engines available at booking.com, laterooms.com and trivago.co.uk. Our nearest local hotels are the Crown Hotel, Blandford Forum, Royal Chase Hotel, Shaftesbury and King’s Head Hotel, Wimborne Minster. Please book early as accommodation is being rapidly booked in this area of outstanding natural beauty.

BOOKINGS
Weekend Tickets are £25
Saturday Tickets are £15
Sunday Tickets are £10

Please book through the magazine’s website. Go to the Subscribe / Donate page from the menu and pay through the Donate button.

Alternatively, send a cheque, made out to Tears in the Fence, to David Caddy Portman Lodge, Durweston, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 0QA.

Tears in the Fence weekend

Tears in the Fence magazine held a very enjoyable mini-festival in the lovely new village hall in Stourpaine last weekend. Saturday’s events started with a rather challenging workshop on hybrid forms of poetry, facilitated by David Caddy. Some remarkable pieces of work emerged during the short time available. I’d be surprised if we don’t see some of them in print.

Poets reading in the afternoon included seven from the Fountain group.

The event was a fund-raiser for next year’s full-scale festival.

second-skin-2

Here some of the Fountain poets perform their collaboration “Second Skin”. From the left, they are Morag Kiziewicz, Sara Butler, Ama Bolton, Rachael Clyne, Jinny Fisher and Jo Waterworth. Photo courtesy of Andrew Henon, who skillfully combined filming the event with reading his own work.

See also Mo’s report here.

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.

thinking-of-you

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 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

The ten-thousand-mile stare

eyes

Eighteen poets and two listeners crammed themselves into the small cocktail bar at the Rose and Crown on Monday night to share poems on and off Ewa’s chosen theme “All About Eyes”. Ewa started us off with a poem about being stared at by her mother’s cat. Rachael’s “Still seen” also featured a cat closely observing a human, while Mark’s “If you stare right back” dealt with the experience of being stared at by a child on a bus, and the likely perils of staring back. Wendy read “Night vision” and “Can it be paranoia?”, a poem about being watched.

My title is taken from Andy’s “Reflected back”. Chris’s “Eyes are a gift” and “Eyes of Islington” had some strikingly memorable lines too. Karin’s fragments of memoir “Eyes wide shut” and “Shore-lands” were quietly beautiful pieces of writing.

Poems dealing with blindness, both literal and metaphorical, included Ama’s “The legend of St Odelia”and “Two eyes”, Mark’s “Love is blind”, Richard’s “Flirting with blindness” and Andy’s “Blind to the suffering”. Mo’s poems were “Open eye” and the powerful “Gaza sonata”.

Caroline and Jo contributed haiku. One of Jo’s has just been published in the on-line journal Hedgerow. We heard some erasure poems from Neil and Jinny. Jinny’s other poem “The art of staying dry” suited the weather, and Neil, a master of the sting in the tail, surprised us in the last line of his poem “Better”. Paul read two topical poems, “Redress, or Death by pole-axe” concerning Richard III and “Beltane in Victoria Park”. Ewan read “A kind of peace” and “The stage”.

It was good to welcome Claire Coleman back. She read “Extracting sunbeams” and an untitled poem full of colour and light. Rachael brought an effective surreal prose-poem “Evolution is hard”.

Mo let us know about an offshoot of the Tears in the Fence Festival – a free day of poetry at the White Horse in Stourpaine on Saturday 4th July. Some of our Fountain Poets will be reading on that day.

The six of us who performed at the Bath Litfest will be presenting a second performance of “Waterwoven” at Priddy Folk Festival on the evening of Friday 10th July.

We do like the cocktail bar, but it is clearly too small for our group. The Sherston Inn has re-opened, so we’ll be meeting there (not in the skittle alley but in the dining room) next month, on Monday 1st June, when Jinny will be in the chair and the topic will be “Power”.

Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.
-Ludwig Wittgenstein