Monthly Archives: March 2016

An Evening of Poetry and Neuroscience at the UCL Feb. 22nd 2016

Two of our members were involved in this event , Sezgin Kemal as an organiser and Anne Stewart as one of three invited poets. The other two were Joelle Taylor, professional spoken word artist, published poet and playwright and Alan Brownjohn, at one time poetry editor of The New Statesman and Chair of the Poetry Society. The evening was jointly hosted by the UCL Institute of Education, Radical Neuroscience Research at UCL, St. Olave’s Grammar School and The Royal Society of Arts.

To a full audience containing many young people Anne Stewart, Joelle Taylor, and Alan Brownjohn read a selection of their poems and Hamish Stewart said something about Radical Neuroscience at UCL explaining that by 2050 their research into Alzheimers will benefit a million people a year in the UK. The UCL is second only to Harvard in this area and Professor John Hardy won the Breakthrough Prize for his work.

It was a fascinating mix and left one wondering which areas of the brain are lit up by the writing and performance of poetry. The poets were invited to take part in a discussion at the end of the evening and talked about their experience of the poetic process.

Shortlands Poetry Circle – Member Profile, Anne Stewart,

February 2016

I didn’t come across poetry much until 1992 when Anne Stewartmy attention was drawn to Wendy Cope’s ‘Serious Concerns’ (Faber & Faber). It was the first time I’d seen a poem that made me want to read another one.

Fast forward just a few years, and you’ll find me thoroughly hooked on modern poetry, but knowing virtually nothing ‘of old’. When I came across the Shortlands Poetry Circle (via the Poetry Library), which turned out to be local to me, I decided to take time off work so that I could attend a meeting.

The topic was ‘Fire and Water’ and I really enjoyed searching for poems to read, finally settling on Betjeman’s ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (Captain Webb) and Ted Hughes’s ‘Rain Charm for the Duchy’ (just the first part, up until he gets expansive with the rivers!)

I was very impressed with the Circle Members – imagine! A whole organisation with the sole aim of enjoying poetry? This was a different world to the one I lived in. They made me very welcome. Their knowledge was (is!) extensive and they were (are…) very good readers. It was another ten years before I had regular afternoons free and could join as a Member. I love it and I’m still coming across poets I haven’t heard of and poems I haven’t come across by poets whose work I know.

Meeting on 23rd. Feb. Theme -Hospitals and Maladies

We feared the worst and got the best. It was far from being all doom and gloom for there was just the right leavening of humour at our human frailties from Ogden Nash and Hilaire Belloc. Hospital experiences were well represented with such poems as ‘Diagnosis’ by Elizabeth Jennings, ‘Outpatient Appointment’ by Beverley Ferguson, ‘Lost In The Hospital’ by Rafael Campo, ‘In Hospital’ by Boris Pasternak to mention a few. Shakespeare and Keats both had a showing with Shakespeare’s Sonnet No 147 and an excerpt from Keats’ ‘Ode To Melancholy’, and there were two poems from Christopher Reid’s book ‘The Scattering.’ There was a birth too with Mel Pryor’s poem, ‘Spring Birth.’ All in all a truly representative group of poems on a theme visited and re-visited by poets down the ages.

Hilaire Belloc

March 2016 Events

March 5th.
Earth And Air: Three romantic Poets

This workshop with Dr Hugh Epstein will explore poems by Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats. We will examine how landscape and weather give rise to these poets’ meditations on the relationship between humankind, nature and society, and how each poet creates a poetic world strongly attached to the earth and its atmospheres. City Lit course HLT135.

£38, to book contact or 020 7492 2600

TIME (Saturday) 11:00 am – 4:00 pm LOCATION Keats House 10 Keats Grove NW3 2RR


March 5th.
Ekphrasis: Alice At The British Library

Two poetry readings, from some of the 32 poets whose work is included in the anthology, held in the main foyer of the British Library on the 4th and 5th of March. The anthology is included in the ticket price.

Readers : Hollie McNish, Luke Wright, Ian Duhig, Helen Mort, Clare Pollard, Amali Rodrigo, Sasha Dugdale, Mona Arshi, Robert Seatter, Chris McCabe, Emer Gillespie, Abegail Morley and Catherine Smith.

Actor Natasha Little will also read selected passages from the Alice texts.

32 of our most exciting contemporary poets – including Penelope Shuttle, Ian Duhig, Medbh McGuckian, Grace Nicholls and Andrew McMillan – have written new poems in response to Lewis Carroll’s Alice texts. These poems will be published in a forthcoming anthology, Alice: Ekphrasis at the British Library, Joy Lane Publishing, rrp £9.99

TIME (Saturday) 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm LOCATION The British Library 96 Euston Road, London


March 12th.
Afternoon Poems: Birdsong

Spring is on its way. Soar with the birds and hear their songs in an afternoon of poetry about our feathered friends, including nightingales, skylarks, sparrows and swans. A reading by the Keats House Poetry