Monthly Archives: April 2018

Meeting of 27th. March 2018

We welcomed Paula Piggot who returned to us. Sezgin Kemal was also also able to attend after a spell of teaching. We heard the sad news of Wyn Parkinson’s death. Wyn was a long-term member of both the Reading Circle and the Writers’ Group and will be missed by all who knew her.

Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins and Esther Morgan


Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

Esther Morgan

Esther Morgan

After reading something about the biography and work of these two poets, members read their chosen poems – The Wndhover, Binsley Poplars, Pied Beauty, Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins, among others; Orbit, Avocado, British Winter Time, This Morning by Esther Morgan. It seemed appropriate that the last poem read was Grace by Esther Morgan. All in all, eighteen poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins were read and sixteen by Esther Morgan.


Bromley Arts Council / Health & Safety Risk Assessment, 18th March 2018

Bromley Arts Council / Health & Safety Risk Assessment, 18th March 2018 Shortlands Poetry Circle, AGM, report by Anne Stewart

Last time I read the report (our chosen way to meet
the Council’s Risk Assessment strategy)
there was a challenge laid down: ‘Next time’
someone said, ‘we want it done in poetry!’

Well, poetry’s a tough one for such a serious matter
(seeking, as it is, to help you to avoid
unpleasant injury), but rhyme’s achievable
and easier to do in the time I can afford…

So… Most Risks – Same As Everywhere: you might be
run over in the car park, trip up or down the steps,
there might be cold spells causing snow and ice and hot
and sudden spillages around teapots and cups…

Then there’s Particularly At Ripley: there might be
bustling in the kitchen, excited children in the corridors,
scalding water around the urn and the kitchen taps,
and polished, therefore potentially slippery, floors.

On tea duty, there’s backward walking with the trolley,
so you’ll need your trolley partner on the alert,
and there are those little lifts required from room
to corridor to room, so, please be careful of your back.

The P A System – two mic-stands, light enough to be
knocked down – potential shocks as it pulls out the leads –
and you tumbling after, and that is why the speaking-stand has
an obstacle in front, and a bright red visual alert around its feet.

The Committee are asked not to forget that Ripley
requires us to have the equipment regularly checked
and to have the Portable Appliance Testing* Certificate
renewed, so that it’s never beyond its expiry date.

Then there may be an Emergency requiring Evacuation.
If so, gather on the corner of Sundridge Avenue
– opposite the post box (no roads to cross) – AND
the Declared Count must be taken too …

… because it’s for the head-count, to check
that no one has been left behind in danger…
So pay attention please, with eyes and wits,
and that’ll Keep You Safer At The Centre.

Anne Stewart

March 13th. Annual General Meeting

With eighteen members in attendance the Annual General Meeting was held.

The current President and her Committee will all be staying on and their reports were accepted by members.

An unusual report was given by our Health and Safety Risk Assessment officer in the form of a poem and people say they remember it better that way.

Maybe everything should be in verse! Members read one poem of their own choice when the main business was concluded :-

A Reading by Nola Turner

A Reading by Nola Turner.

On Tues. April 3rd. Nola show-cased a selection of her poems at ‘Beyond Words,’ a well-known South London poetry venue run by Angela Brodie and Caroline Vero.

Beyond Words

At the end of the first half of the evening, following ‘poems from the floor, ‘ Nola came forward to read hers to an appreciative audience.

In the second half of the evening Roger Robinson and Nick Makoha read from their collections.



Discovering People’ Simon Armitage

On Thursday March 22nd. Nola Turner and Ruth Smith attended an event at The Geographical Society, Kensington where Simon Armitage was in conversation with Martine Croxall about his life and work. It is now some time since his first collection ‘Zoom!’ which Simon now describes as his entry point into the world of poetry. Now in his mid-fifties, he has recently published ‘The Unaccompanied,’ his 11th. collection of poetry.

Unfortunately, just as Simon Armitage was getting into his swing, the fire alarm went off and everyone was guided to a spot outside the building. A fire engine quickly arrived and we were very soon back inside but with a reduced audience for the rest of the conversation.

The main conversation was about two books ‘Walking Home’ and ‘Walking Away’ the first being an account of his walk along the Pennine Way. In fact he walked it ‘the wrong way round’ as the idea was to walk home to the village of Marsden where he was born. Simon described it as a test both of his stamina and his poetic reputation as he gave readings every night in pubs, village halls, churches and private houses in return for board and lodging. Money was collected in a sock passed round for that purpose. He described the walking as ‘harder on my smile than on my feet.’

Walking Away Simon Armitage


‘Walking Away’ is another troubadour quest along the South West Coastal path. At his daughter’s suggestion, Simon recorded his thoughts by speaking into his phone. A notebook would have involved too much stopping and starting.

Simon described himself as a ‘kitchen-sink- poet,’ interested in the details of everyday life leading to the universal. He talked a little about his rendering of Gawain and the Green Knight saying, ‘that, in itself, is a great travel poem.’ He said, interestingly, that one good thing about being a poet is that ‘you own the page’ as each poem stands on its own with white space around it

Summer Programme 2018

Here is our Summer Programme for 2018.

Here are the diary dates for our autumn programme.

Diary dates for the Autumn Term 2018

11th Sept., 25th. Sept., 9th. Oct., 30th. Oct., 13th Nov., 27th Nov. , 11th Dec.

If you cannot find a poem for the topic/poet listed, please read another poem, but not one written by you N.B. We each read 1 long poem and 1 short poem (of about sonnet length)