Tag Archives: Wells Fountain Poets

The sea will always win


Eleven poets met at The Venue on April 4th, with Ama in the chair, the optional theme being “Sea”. Visual aids were brought – a ship in a bottle, two tiny model boats, a Babushka doll.

By an extraordinary coincidence, two poems in the first half were inspired by ships that were sunk in 1945: David C’s with strongly effective use of repetition  (story here) and Ama’s with a personal perspective (story here). David’s second poem was set on the Cornish coast and Ama’s second on a Maltese beach. This post’s title is taken from Paul R’s poem of dos and don’ts. His second dealt with the profound physiological connection we humans have with the sea. As Annette remarked, we do learn a lot here!

Both of Mark’s poems were located on the Kentish coast, and both of Morag’s were concerned with Scottish islands. Terry read an untitled sea-poem and “Esperance”, set in a town on Western Australia’s southern coast. Ewa took her inspiration from the Somerset coast with two short poems, one witty, one poignant, read in English and in Polish. Annette’s poem “A Pearl” certainly had marine connections …
Caroline was one of several poets not well enough to attend, but she sent a lovely ekphrastic sea-poem which Ama read on her behalf.

Poems on other subjects included a beautifully-constructed poem by Karin in the form of a series of questions to a Babushka doll. Karin also read a devotional poem. Annette’s “To Be” was a delicious flight of imagination, and ‘other’ Paul read two imaginative poems. Andrew read “Dorset Sand” from his 2000 collection “The Canvas Stretcher” and a poem about Sven Berlin.

I have booked the same room at The Venue for next month. We’ll be meeting on Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May. Chris will be in the chair and his topic is “Travelling home”.

Fountain stars

Warm congratulations to Jinny, who has won second prize in The Interpreter’s House competition with her poem Transition. The judge, Jonathan Edwards, wrote “For much of the judging process this was in first place, and dividing it from the eventual winner was a difficult task indeed. This is a clever, subtle and moving poem which says much more than its fourteen lines. The experience of reading is initially suspense, as one wonders what the list of items in the octave add up to; the revelation in the ending sends us straight back to the start, those same items now invested with an enormous emotional impact. As with the first prize winner, I’m interested in the use of ideas in this poem, the way that the tone of the opening two lines of the sestet are so different to the list of objects in the rest of the poem, adding great weight and significance. This is accessible writing which packs a great punch, engaging the brain, and then the heart.”

Rachael’s Art of Fading will be in Tears in the Fence in Autumn. She also had two poems accepted for Prole, and Power Cut has been accepted by Under the Radar.

Jinny and Rachael were invited to discuss their poetry and read in Hilda’s Lounge, a new blog she’s running in a kistch 70’s setting. See it here.

Jo has another couple of online publications to celebrate: on 9th March in I Am Not a Silent Poet link here ; and  in the Poetry Space Spring showcase find it here – one of her lighter poems.

Wendy, as one of a U3A writing group, entered some poems in the Bath Literary Festival recently, the Mid-Somerset senior section, and won a cup.

Ama, Sara, Morag and Jinny were among the guest poets at a splendid evening in East Coker recently. Many thanks to David C for inviting us. We performed a first draft of our new themed sequence, “Second Skin”, which includes/will include work by Rachael and Jo.

Relaunch at East Coker

Photo by Margaret Hamilton

T S Eliot memorial

T.S. Eliot memorial in East Coker parish church.

Other news

The Wells Festival of Literature writing competitions are now open.
This year there are three prizes for the winners, £500, £200, £100, in all three categories plus the Hilly Cansdale local poetry prize of £100 and the Wyvern local short story prize, also £100.  Entries are open to anyone throughout the world.

For the SHORT STORY COMPETITION, entries may be on any subject and should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. ALISON MOORE will judge the 2016 short story competition and present the prizes.

Entries in the POETRY COMPETITION may be on any subject but may not exceed 40 lines in length. GRETA STODDART will judge the 2016 Poetry Competition and present the prizes

For the STORY FOR CHILDREN COMPETITION they may be on any subject but be suitable for the age range 10-16   We require the first three chapters or 30 pages (whichever is the shortest) plus a synopsis of no more than two sides. JEREMY DE QUIDT will judge this competition and also present the prizes.


For further details and entry rules http://www.wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk


I’m a bad first-drafter. I don’t know quite what the percentage would be, but … two-thirds of my first drafts have almost nothing to do with the final drafts. 
– C.K.Williams, interviewed in Poetry Review winter 2015.




A quick reminder – this month we shall be meeting on Monday, October 13th, in The White Hart, Sadler Street. The room is on the ground floor at the back, and will be in use by another group until 7.30. Rachael will be in the chair and the (optional) topic will be “Nearly”.

We have received the following details of Stand-up Poetry’s first event at Burdall’s Yard – they were formerly based at BRLSI.

Bath Spa University’s Poetry Centre showcases the art of reading and performing poetry. We welcome the best contemporary poets from the UK in shows that explore their full range of works, we also encourage extensive Q&A sessions after each reading.

Our events are hosted in the intimate and characterful surroundings of Burdall’s Yard, with a fully-licensed bar separate from the performance space where you can relax and mingle with other poetry fans prior to and after the events.

On October 30th we welcome Michael Symmons Roberts to open our 2014-15 programme. His poetry has won the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award, and been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Michael has been prolific in musical collaborations – producing book and lyrics for choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and several operas. His work has been showcased extensively on radio, and he has also produced two novels.

30th October 2014, 7.45pm doors open for 8pm start. Event finishes 9.30pm – bar remains open after until 10.30pm.

£3 general admission, all welcome. *Events are free entry to Bath Spa University students and staff*

Burdall’s Yard, Anglo Terrace, Bath, BA1 5NH

email – standuppoetry@live.co.uk

website – https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/poetrycentre/ or www.bathspalive.co.uk

twitter – @poetryseries

New season in a new venue

Wells Fountain Poets will be meeting next on Monday September 8th in the first-floor meeting room at the King’s Head in Wells High Street (BA5 2SG) 7.45pm for 8.00. The nearest car-park is the one off Union Street, accessed from Chamberlain Street. Walk into Union Street and turn right, then left into the High Street. The King’s Head will be the second building on your left.

For those who find a theme helpful, the theme will be “Friends and other Strangers”. Entrance about £1.50, depending on numbers.

I think the creative process flows like a river, and my job is to jump in and become part of the flow. Not to struggle to keep my head above water, but to submit to the current and be in the process, pay attention but be detached enough to hear when the painting says, “enough.” I think writers, musicians, golfers, chess players, salmon fishers, race car drivers and more find a similar groove when they do what they do well. Be attentive and adjust constantly but don’t grasp too tightly. Stay in the flow. – Tara Bryan

Valentine’s Day and the perils of being a poet

Richard’s light-hearted “Valentine tributes” to some of the Fountain poets can be seen on his page – see “Poets’ Pages”, above,

Poetry is funny stuff. It can be clever and amusing, it can (some say) save your life, or it can get you into deep trouble. It is salutary to remember that in some countries being a poet can be a dangerous vocation. “Poetry – a more serious crime than murder” was posted a couple of days ago by Arab-lit blogger mlynxqualey.

Autumn Meetings

We had a total of twenty-one readers and three just-listeners at our September meeting, so the new season has got off to a good start. The Fountain has been beautifully refurbished by Craig and Tessa, the new owners, who are generously making no charge for the use of the function room.

One highlight was a poem for two voices, performed unrehearsed but flawlessly. A couple of prose-poems and a tanka in two languages gave us a taste of something new. Three poets read found poems/erasure poems excavated from the same passage of prose, an essay by John Berger on the painter Vija Celmins. Two poems considered Diogenes: one from his point of view and one from his wife’s! Two poets were new to the group: welcome to the Fountain, Collette and Margaret.

We will be meeting next on Monday October 14th, when Rachael will be in the Chair.
Jo will chair the  meeting on Monday 4th November, and the  meeting on Monday 2nd December will be chaired by Morag. Dates for next year will be posted as soon as they have been confirmed.

The 2013 Anthology is now at the proof-reading stage. Watch this space!

This post was written by Ama.

September meeting

Our first meeting of the new season will be on Monday September 9th, upstairs at The Fountain Inn at the bottom of St Thomas Street in Wells. The postcode is BA5 2UU. There is a car-park on the other side of the road. Please arrive before 8pm so that we can start on time! Visitors are always welcome, whether they come to read their own poems or just to listen. Good poetry needs good audiences!

The Fountain is under new ownership and we shall be meeting in the back room from now on.

I have received details of the Fire River Poets’ Open Competition, closing date 8 November. I have posted the rules and entry form as a separate page: feel free to copy and print it.

Latest news: two Fountain poets, Rachael Clyne and Ama Bolton, will have work included in the forthcoming Poetry Space anthology “Nothing Recognisable as Human”. Martyn Crucefix says of one of Rachael’s poems “I enjoyed the bold metaphorical range and compass of ‘Toadsong’ “. The full text of his report can be read here.

cover for anthology 2013

This post was written by Ama.

Summer 2013

First of all, huge thanks to all who contributed to the collaborative poem for Jane’s farewell as convener, and to all who read. It was a good crowd and a memorable evening.

There will be no meeting in July or August, and beginning in September we shall be meeting on the second Monday of each month to avoid bank holidays and the clash with Wells Film Club.

I wish you all a good summer, come rain or shine, and hope to see you at The Fountain on Monday 9th September. On that occasion I shall be the convener.

I’ll post a reminder nearer the time.


A Week of Good Poetry in Bath

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.

Full details of the whole week’s events can be seen here on the wonderful Poetry Space website, which is well worth looking at.

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.

Blue book cover

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!

Introducing The Wells Fountain Poets

Jane Williams, who has chaired our sessions for ten years, will be retiring from this position in June. Jane’s attitude of unconditional positive regard has ensured that our meetings have been conducted in a spirit of trust, open-ness and respect. “When you listen to a poem, you are accessing part of someone’s soul,” Jane said at our January 2013 meeting. Over the  years I have watched hesitant poets unfurl and blossom in this benign atmosphere. Whatever form our meetings take after the summer break, I hope we shall never lose the very special spirit that has grown up among us. Believe me, not all poetry groups are like this!

We usually meet on the first Monday of each month. The first Monday in April will be Easter Monday and we agreed not to hold a meeting that day, as so many people are likely to be away or busy.

Our next meeting will therefore be on Monday 6 May (which will also be a Bank Holiday!), upstairs at The Fountain Inn at the bottom of St Thomas Street in Wells, BA5 2UU, 7.45pm for an 8pm start, and finishing by 10pm. Read your own work or just come and listen. The meeting after that will be on 3rd June, after which there will be a two-month summer break.

For those who like to have a theme, how about “Mayday”? Those who don’t, please ignore this suggestion.

Entrance £3. Parking in car park opposite.

This post was written by Ama Bolton who, with Jane, was a co-founder of the Wells Fountain Poets.