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.
Meeting of 7th. May − Paradox
Prior to the meeting this appeared to be a daunting task but the twelve members who attended were equal to it. A poem by Veronica Tamending was actually called ‘The Paradox.’ There were two poems by John Donne, one of which was also called ‘The Paradox’ and the comment was made that sonnets, by their nature, end or sometimes even begin with paradox.
During the course of the afternoon, W. B. Yeats rubbed shoulders with Grace Nichols and Raymond Carver with Wilfred Owen. Alexander Pope came into his own, as did TS Eliot.
Meeting of 24th. May – Commonwealth Poets from UK and Abroad
For this meeting we were joined by Wendy Williams and another member of the Dulwich Library Poetry Group with whom we exchange visits. There was of course quite a spread of offerings with Australia being represented by Les Murray and Clive James, Canada by Margaret Atwood and New Zealand by Katherine Mansfield together with poems by Vikram Seth, Fred D’Aguir, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Roger Robinson and Jean Binta Breeze among others from different parts of the Commonwealth.
We started the Summer Term on April 23rd. with an Open Choice Session. It had not escaped members that this was St. George’s Day and was also the supposed birthday of William Shakespeare. In several cases a member’s choice of poem reflected this.
But first a fascinating account from Anne Stewart of the Hindu Epic Mahabharata and its modern retelling by Carole Satyamurti who adapted iambic pentameter to re-narrate this remarkable poem in all its complexity, displaying a real feeling for it.
Diary dates for the Autumn Term 2019
10th. & 24th. Sept.
8th. & 22nd. Oct.
12th. & 26th. Nov.