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.
The 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.’
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.