Tag Archives: Wells Festival of Literature

Worm made flesh

Deborah Harvey gave us a magnificent reading at our last meeting, in Jinny’s lovely salon in Glastonbury.  Her work expresses the humour and pathos of life, and shows an observant eye for nature and landscape and a keen sense of history. In addition, she has great technical skill.

This post’s title is taken from Deborah’s first poem, ‘Old Moulder’s Almanac’, which she described as “a mad astrological calendar”. She ended her first set with a breathtaking and very moving wreath of sonnets written since the recent death of her father.

Her wide-ranging second set took us from Bristol, the Quantocks, Chew Valley Lake and Dartmoor to Leningrad and Chernobyl by way of High Wycombe. 

Poems from the floor included three from the new issue of Tears in the Fence, from Andrew, Rosie and Morag. Other readers were Rachael, Ama, Izzy, Ewa, Michelle, Wendy (a Creative Writing prizewinner in the recent Mid-Somerset Festival) and Sara.
Our next meeting will be on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May, 7.45 to 9.45 pm at Loaf Bakehouse, 38 Market Street Wells BA5 2DS. Please arrive in time to order your drinks before we start at 8pm. The guest will be the young poet, playwright and actor Conor Whelan from Bath.
Other Poetry News
Friday 13 July at 11pm (past my bed-time!) at The Globe in Priest Row: The first ever Wells Theatre Festival Poetry Slam, being run by the Hip Yak Poetry Shack. A quick-fire knock-out incredibly cuddly poetry competition, featuring up to 8 slammers. Prepare for fun, friendly and exhilarating poetry for both audience and poets, hosted by national spoken word stars Jonny Fluffypunk, Chris Hammond and Liv Torc. Poets will be competing for a feature slot at Sunday’s Hip Yak Poetry Session plus the admiration of their friends.  Everyone welcome, new and old. The judges will also be performing feature slots before and after the slam.
Wells Litfest: time to think about your competition entry! The deadline for all four competitions is 30June, and the festival itself takes place in October.
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Poetry at Wells Litfest

In addition to the wonderful Lemn Sissay on 18 October (£10), there’s an afternoon poetry reading and competition prizegiving event with Greta Stoddart in the Bishop’s Palace on  16 October (free admission). Later on the same day there’s a participatory event (£5) fronted by performance poet Liv Torc. Our own Ewan Macpherson – brave man! -will be taking part.

For details and booking, see the programme.

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

“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.

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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.