Jennie Milnes at the Writers’ Group reading her poem ‘Distillation.’
“A Perfect Day’ An Anthology of Poems by The Dorchester Poets.
This small anthology of poems was sent to us by Maggie Hoyle who has remained a member of the SPC although she now lives in Dorset. In Dorset Maggie and her husband belong to the Thomas Hardy Poetry Group which meets at Hardy’s former home in Dorchester to read his poetry and learn more about him. As several members wrote poems of their own they sometimes took the opportunity to read these, though the main focus was always on poems by Hardy and related writers and themes.
This group continues but another group was formed called the Dorchester Poets where poems could be shared and discussed at greater length at The Old Tea House in Dorchester. The anthology contains several of the group’s poems but came about as a celebration of the life of Keir Francis, one of its founder members and a great guide and inspiration to others. Sadly, Keir died of cancer and the group wished to honour him by publishing some of his poems together with those by his friends and fellow poets in a spirit of remembrance.
Keir was obviously multi-talented and Julian Nangle’s elegy hails him as ‘poet, sculptor, teacher, artist, photographer. friend/ creative polymath right to the end’ Keir is remembered directly
in a poem by Geraldine Farrow called ‘Keir At Max Gate.’ in which Keir reads a poem he has written called ‘The Empty Chair’ which turns out to be pertinent both to Hardy and himself.
It is interesting to get the flavour of the poems and the experiences behind them , the hopefulness and observation of Susan Walpole’s ‘ A Good Day is Coming to Pass’, the emotion of Faysal
Mikdadi’s poem ‘Aleppo.’ Every poet has something to offer and Keir must have known many of their poems well.
Keir’s own poems are a pleasure to read, ‘tight’ and well- wrought. They convey the essence of the man, being in turns humorous, celebratory and poignant, especially his poem ‘Stages Of Separation.’ The editors have chosen well and it is a fit memorial.
Mavis Robinson has extended an invitation for as many as she can accommodate to visit her on the afternoon of Tues. Aug.7th for an afternoon of ‘free choice’ poetry.
The writers among us also have the opportunity to attend a one -day workshop on Aug. 14th.run by our very own Anne Stewart. This is to be held at The Daylight Inn Petts Wood, the same venue as a previous greatly enjoyed day of writing.
This was our last meeting of the term and the theme was “ Home Sweet Home’ and ‘’Heirlooms.’
Anne Stooke managed to come up with two poems that mentioned ‘house’ in the title: ‘The House’ by Robert Minhinnick and ‘My House’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. There were two poems entitled Heirloom(s), one by Kathleen Raine and the other by Amy Grant. and it was manifest how much feeling and personal history can be expressed through an object, in for instance, ‘The Table’ by Maurice Riordan and ‘Grandfather’s Watch’ by UA Fanthorpe.
There were no duplications although one member feared that there would be when she read ‘I remember, I remember’ by Thomas Hood. It was a theme that seemed to resonate with members who between them read an interesting collection of poem