As on some other years, we booked a stall for what used to be called the Ripley Garden Party. Fortunately we were in the shade of trees as it was a hot day. On these and many other occasions we owe a lot to Anne Stewart for her careful and meticulous planning and the production of materials. Other members of the circle did a magnificent job welcoming people to the stall and helping children write or add to poems.
There was a Lucky Dip where guests could draw a piece of paper with the title of a poem and the book where it could be found. ‘Can I read you a poem?’ was a familiar invitation.
There were activities for both children and adults – adding lines to one already provided or rising to the challenge of writing a haiku or a cento (with rules and examples given of course)
There was a poetry quiz with a winning entry from Chris and Sarah Brown who we are still trying to track down to inform them of their success as they were not present for the announcement at 4.30pm. The prize is waiting!
With some willing volunteers, the afternoon was extremely successful and enabled friendly contact with both adults and children who often returned for more chat and poetry.
Jenny Milnes, who has now moved, used to host a meeting at her home during August so we could get together and read poetry of our own choice.
This tradition has been continued by Mavis Robinson who entertained us royally and introduced us to the poetry of song.
It was a relaxed and pleasant time, reading poetry from the comfort of armchairs and a good opportunity to join with each other in this shared pleasure.
Meeting of July 9th.
This was the last meeting at Ripley Arts Centre before the Summer break and the chosen poets were Maggie Butt, Wendy Cope and UA Fanthorpe, the last two being special favourites and often read. Members of the circle were less familiar with the work of Maggie Butt and were glad to be introduced to a very interesting poet.
July 28th. at The Torriano Meeting House, Kentish Town
We were honoured to be able to do a repeat performance of ‘From Bromley to Bombay’ at this small but very well-known poetry venue in North London. This involved four local writers and members of the SPC who have had recent publication of their work. Jean Ellis unfortunately could not be with us owing to illness but excerpts from ‘Goodbye Burma’ were read by Isabel Bermudez and Ruth Smith.
Saturday 22nd. June at Pett’s Wood Methodist Church.
This was an event where four members of Shortlands Poetry Circle who had recently published books gave readings . They were accompanied by three guest poets from the Circle — Christine Pope, Janet Ryan, and Nola Turner. There was an open mic opportunity as well.
Isabel Bermudez read from her latest poetry collection Sanctuary (Rockhampton Press).
Jean Ellis read from her book Goodbye Burma’– a fictionalized account of a family’s flight from Burma during World War II.
Ruth Smith, who was unfortunately ill, had poems read by Anne Stewart from her chapbook, The Art of Unpicking published by Lapwing Press.
Anne Stewart read from her fourth collection The Last Parent published by Second Light which includes a long sequence bearing the same title.
This was our most important meeting of the year with two invited guests whose readings were followed by buffet tea. Our readers this year were Mimi Khalvati and Myra Schneider who know each other well and. have often read together. We were fortunate to have our invitation accepted by such well-known and popular poets.
Hearing Mimi and Myra’s poetry gave much pleasure and both expressed their thanks saying how much they had enjoyed the hospitality and the attentiveness of their audience. Mimi wrote afterwards that we were ‘blessed’ to have such a committed poetry group.
Thanks to Nola Turner who was in charge of refreshments and to all who made their contribution to the event, especially Anne Stewart who introduced the poets and was responsible for the publicity.
It was not surprising that members came up with a great variety of poems as the subject gave such a wide remit. Keats, Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Wordsworth, Sheena Pugh, Maggie Butt, UA Fanthorpe, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Jennings, all had something to contribute.