Monthly Archives: July 2016

The South Downs Poetry Festival

The South Downs Poetry Festival has been set up by a group of poetry enthusiasts to celebrate, develop and promote poetry across the area covered by the South Downs National Park.

Full details of all the program and poets taking part can be found here:>

Here is a summary of the key dates for July 2016:

* Saturday 16 – Poetry Day in Lewes.

* Sunday 17 – Performance Poetry Bash in Midhurst.

* Tuesday 19 – Poetry Day in Petersfield. The Poetry Bike Tour leaves Eastbourne with events in Afriston and Firle.

* Wednesday 20 – Bike tour in Lewes, Ditching and Steyning. Events in Ditchling and Steyning.

* Thursday 21 – Bike tour hits Petworth, Midhurst and South Harting. Event at the Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton.

* Friday 22 – 24 Poetry events of all kinds in and around Petersfield in Hampshire. Andrew McMillan reads in Steep Village Hall (Friday evening); Penelope Shutttle and Jonathan Edwards join him as we take over the Festival Hall for the day (Saturday) and on Sunday there is a chance to look back at the contribution made by Downland connected poems during the Great War.

Summer Celebration June 21st 2016

As always, the highlight of our year when members and guests come to listen to two invited poets reading from their work, followed by a buffet tea and the opportunity to socialise.

2016-06-21 14.36.14The readings are held in the Music Room at Ripley Arts Centre usually with an audience of about forty and this year was no different. Our chosen poets were Christine Webb and Peter Phillips.

Christine’s two collections are ‘After Babel’ and “ Catching Your Breath,’ both published by Cinnamon Press. In answers to a Poets’ Survey in connection with last year’s Aldeburgh Festival Christine wrote. Once a poem is out in the world, there’s no predicting how it will be received and understood. Especially if it lives for a long time, its meaning is going to shift (whatever we mean by ‘meaning’!)

On this occasion her poems were very well received, chosen as they were from an eclectic range – astute, compassionate, humorous and poignant. One member who had forgotten the title of the book she ordered said, ‘It’s the one with the poem about placentas!’ Christine’s poems have been described as combining ‘intelligence, deep feeling and formal grace – the world is richer for them.’

2016-06-21 14.53.07

Peter Phillips has several collections to his name and has been praised for his accessible and beautifully crafted poetry. Recently he has been writing a sequence of poems centred on flowers for a new collection. His last before that is “Oscar and I, Confessions Of A Minor Poet’ which chronicles the life of George Meadows, a full-time poet, in a series of scenes and dialogues which tell all. Peter read us a range of poems and both amused and moved us in turn.

Peter’s work has been very favourably reviewed in many quarters and we saw many facets of his craft in a very good reading which did full justice to his wit and humanity.

Both poets have communicated their pleasure at reading for us and praised what they felt was an attentive and receptive audience.

Meeting on June 7th 2016

At this meeting we read poems by Henry Vaughan and George Herbert with an introduction by Diane Chorley who invited a general sharing of knowledge by members. This proved to be productive as everyone, it seemed, had ‘done their homework’ and added pieces to the general picture.

It was an afternoon of mainly ‘sacred poems’ – very moving at times. Although Vaughan was greatly influenced by George Herbert’s work the difference between the two was detectable. Herbert is simpler and more lyrical, Vaughan strikes the high notes in some of his startling images though his poetry is more dense and copious. As the better-known poet, George Herbert was particularly well- represented, though we listened to twelve poems by Henry Vaughan.

George Herbert

Some local events in July 2016

Tuesday 5th July
Beyond Words

Jeremy Langrish, Lindy Armah, Andrew Jackson & Jennifer Wong

Plus open mic

The Gipsy Hill Tavern, 79 Gipsy Hill, SE19 1QY
Doors open 7.15 for 7.30 start. Entry £4 / £3concs.


Tuesday 5th July
‘Greenwich Poetry Makers’

Readings by local poets from recently published books or pamphlets.
Mick Delap, Malene Engelund, Fiona Moore, Jocelyn Page, Sarah Westcott and others.

Time: 7 for 7.30pm. Price: £5 (£3 concessions) including refreshment.

Advance booking online at

Venue: Made in Greenwich Gallery, 324 Creek Road, Greenwich, SE10 9SW
Supported by PnSEL (Poetry Network South East London).


Sunday 17th July
Torriano Meeting House

Kate Foley & Angela Kirby

Readers from the floor welcome
Venue: 99 Torriano Ave., Kentish Town, NW5 2RX

7.30 pm £5 (£4 according to pocket)


Sunday 17th July,
Shakespeare in London guided walk

Actor Lance Pierson celebrates the Bard’s 400th anniversary with a guided tour of the London he knew. See the original site of the Globe Theatre, the Blackfriars Theatre, two houses where he lived and the very spot where Othello, King Lear and Macbeth were written. At each stop Lance will further transport you with extracts of Shakespeare’s words.

Walk starts at London Bridge Station. Tooley Street Exit.

2.30pm Tickets £10 (concessions £8). Buy on the day. 020 7731 6544.


Tuesday 19th July
Ruth O’Callaghan presents Agenda Poets

Patricia McCarthy, Timothy Ades, Rebecca Goss, Jill Munro & Wendy Holborow

Poets from the floor very welcome.
Please leave the poem you read to be considered for the next anthology.

LUMEN 88 Tavistock Place W.C.1
doors open 6.30 £5/£4

Saturday July 30th, 2016
Gale Burns (UK and Canada) presents


Mohan Rana (India), Judy Brown (UK)
and Ana Sefer (Serbia), Jo Longley (USA), Saradha Soobrayen and more.

The Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9BX
7.30 – 9.30 pm Entry £6/4 Refreshments from bar