Monthly Archives: February 2015

Well Done Keith!

We are delighted to announce that Keith Massey, who joined us recently, has won an award in the Four Counties Poetry Competition which this year was open to poets connected to Greater London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex. He will be going to the awards ceremony in Brighton on Feb. 25th. as the competition was initiated by the Rottingdean Writers’ Group. The judge was John McCullough, academic and prize-winning author of ‘The Frost Fairs’ published by Salt .

Here’s Keith’s winning poem :


How deftly the armadillo’s
tectonic plates rehearse the slide
of land and archipelagos
over a deliquescent globe.

See the perforations of its
intricate river systems,
etched crystalline
along the wings of dragonflies.

Note how the pitted, blistered crabs
display their craters;
small planets orbiting
between tide and light.

See the field of atlas Friesans
each carrying its unique maps;
unexplored, bulging continents,
floating in creamy seas.

We can survey the earth
with satellite astonishment;
but not our secret sudden legends,
the cherished cloud that’s dragonish.

Keith Massey

27th January Meeting: Four Dymock Poets

While places such as Broadway, Charlton Farm, Kirkudbright and Ditchling might ring a bell as artists’ colonies at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, Dymock, as a centre for a small group of poets is less well known. To this village near Ledbury in Worcestershire came Lascelles Abercrombie in 1911. He quickly persuaded friends to join him and so The Dymock Group was formed. It consisted of Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Robert Frost (plus his friend and occasional visitor Edward Thomas), and Wilfred William Gibson. They rented cottages in close proximity to each other where they thrived on discussion and the exchange of ideas until the proclamation of WW1 tore them apart.

Of the four poets we chose to look at Gibson proved to be the most popular with a wide range of poems covering many topics including a white whippet and a dancing seal as well as his famous ice cart. We heard two favourites by Drinkwater –“ Moonlit Apples” and “The Snail” – while his “Politics” and “The Common Lot” spoke of his wider interests. “These we have Loved” by Brooke touched the heart as ever, but sadly Abercrombie, though popular in his day, proved less attractive to our ears. It was interesting to ponder on what gives poets and poetry staying power.

Christine and Jane (Sharp) announced their forthcoming performance of their own poems written on theme of love: 7th February, Beckenham Methodist Church, 7.30p.m.

Member Profile Nola Turner

Nola TurnerI think my love of poetry might spring from the freedom I had as a child to explore the landscape of my home in north-west Durham, up on the border with Northumberland; that, and a love of the human voice.

I enjoy listening to Circle members as they read their selections. Every meeting is full of unexpected gems read in a range of accents and tones.

My time as a lecturer at University of London Goldsmiths led me into the world of art and artists, so visual imagery in poetry is important to me, as are the ways in which artists and poets compress ideas and convey emotions.

I came across a notice for SPC by chance in a local newspaper a few months after I had retired in 1997. At my first meeting I was impressed by the high quality of the poems presented by members. The Circle is truly that: an inclusive place where all can feel at home. We have some very good published poets within the group who exert a healthy influence and are a huge source of knowledge, but equally the contribution of everyone is valued. Belonging to the Circle has encouraged me to meet poets further afield, especially through the Poet in the City organisation. I have begun to write poetry of late, though I find the hard slog of redrafting after an initial surge of inspiration difficult.

Without the impetus of following the SPC programme I doubt if I would have discovered the amazing work of Andrew Marvell (and the complex person he was too), plus the staggering range of contemporary poets. Currently Michael Donaghy and Esther Morgan are two of my favourites along with Anne Stevenson and Seamus Heaney. With R S Thomas and Edward Thomas I am free to roam moors, woods and fields once more.

Events Coming Up In February 2015

LONDON SE16: Lorraine Mariner

Date: Thursday 5 February, 2015
Time: 6pm-7pm
Price: FREE – no booking required
Venue address:
Canada Water Library, 21 Surrey Quays Road, SE16 7AR

LONDON NW1: Camden Poetry Series
Date: Friday 6 February, 2015
Time: 6:30 AM
Price: £5/£4
Venue address:
Buck St, Camden Town, London NW1 8NJ
Publicity material for this event says:

Ruth O’Callaghan presents Sound Crew: Judy Brown, Josh Ekroy, Jillian Fern, Val Fry, Abdul Jamal and Phil Ruthen.

Poets from the floor very welcome and please leave a poem to be considered for inclusion in the anthology.

LONDON: An International Poetry Event

Friday 6 February, 7.15pm – Friends Room, Hellenic Centre

An International Poetry Event combining work from British author and poet Alan Brownjohn and Greek-Cypriot poet George Tardios.

Alan Brownjohn is an established British poet and novelist and has worked extensively in Romania with the British Council. George Tardios has just completed his collection, Buttoned-up Shapes on characters from his mother’s village in Morphou, Cyprus.

Free entry but please confirm attendance on 020 7563 9835 or at Organised by the Hellenic Centre.

LONDON WC1: Disinformation Launch

Date: Friday 6 February, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Price: Free
Venue address:
LRB Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL
Publicity material for this event says:

Frances Leviston will be launching her second collection of poems, Disinformation, with a reading and drinks reception at the LRB Bookshop 7-9pm on Friday 6th February 2015. All welcome. Tickets are free but must be booked through the website:

Her first collection, Public Dream (2007) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Jerwood-Aldeburgh Prize.


LONDON SE22: Four Next Generation Poets

Date: Tuesday 10 February, 2015
Time: 7:30 PM
Price: The event is free but booking is essential. Book your tickets by emailing:

Venue address:
Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane, Dulwich SE22 8NB
Publicity material for this event says:

An evening of poetry with Jane Yeh, Rebecca Goss, Tara Bergin and Kei Miller.

Mondays 8-10 pm, £7 at THE TROUBADOUR

163-167 old Brompton Road, London SW5
Mon 9 Feb: Blake Morrison, Theo Dorgan, Mona Arshi, Marios Takoushis & Stuart Silver in what we should have said, an entertaining, enlightening, innovative & unpredictable spoken-word shindig plus before the break… a selection of Troubadour International Poetry Prize Winners

Mon 23 Feb: an evening with John Montague: rare chance to hear major Irish poet John Montague reading & in-interview, with songs from world runners, Josie Frater & Steve Taylor

Next Meeting. February 10th 2015

The theme of the meeting is ‘All In A Day’s Work’. Each participant will read one long (but not too long) poem and one short poem that is in some way related to the subject. For this meeting it has been requested that, if possible, members bring a print-out or handwritten copy of the longer poem they intend to read in the first half of the meeting.

Visitors are very welcome.