“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.