I didn’t come across poetry much until 1992 when my 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.