In this session we were reading from the work of three contemporary female poets –
Helen Dunmore ( another loss to poetry as she died in June 2017) Alice Oswald, who won the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2002 and Pascale Petit who had four of her seven collections shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
I think it’s fair to say this was fairly new territory for many of our members who had to go to some lengths to obtain their poems. It was therefore specially helpful to hear something about them from research done by Ann Barlow. By far the majority of the poems read were by Helen Dunmore who was also a novelist.
Returning to Ripley after the Summer break had the feeling of starting a new school year, for me anyway, but with none of the qualms. We were delighted to return and get on with the business of sharing our love for poetry.
As usual, the first session was Open Choice. It is always interesting to hear what people light on as their choices. Sadly we have lost a very fine poet in Matthew Sweeney who died in August from motor-neurone disease but he lives on through his poetry. Matthew was still writing three days before his death. He was represented in our readings :-
Although our last meeting of the Summer was on July 10th. our activities did not cease there. Mavis Robinson hosted a very enjoyable afternoon of Free Choice poetry on August 7th. at her flat, attended by as many as Mavis could fit in. On a hot day, the ice cream was very welcome!
Anne Stewart ran an all day event for writers of poetry at The Daylight Inn, Petts Wood. This proved to be popular. We were looking particularly at Structure in poetry and during the day managed to write limericks, haiku, concrete poems, poems in which we assumed an identity and a longer poem on an object which our neighbour had provided. Thanks to Anne’s skill and enthusiasm we all came away exhilarated.