On Nov. 24th. at Holy Trinity Church in Penge, Christine Pope and Jane Sharp entertained their gathered audience with an afternoon of poetry.
There was some crafty rhyming and much laughter as Jane appeared in furs, a purple tutu, a tiara and sparkly boots to hold forth on ‘Posh Pinge’ in an accent which was far cry from her normal Yorkshire.
Christine, at one point, roamed the stage in flippers being a bog-snorkeler, the subject of one of the poems. There were poems about Decluttering, a typical Mega Bus journey from Sheffield to London, the listening skills of hairdressers, Chinese Whispers and the task of manoeuvring a bookcase up a twisting staircase.
There was one, from Jane, quite impassioned, about poetry itself. Their efforts were rewarded by gales of laughter at times and having tried it out on an appreciative audience Jane and Christine intend to take the show to other venues.
On November 14th. members of the SPC attended a poetry reading which was one of a series presented by Jill Abrams. The series is known as ‘Stablemates.’ and each event features conversation and poetry with three poets from one publisher. On this occasion the event was held at Waterstones, Gower Street, and the poets were Mark Doty, Andrew McMillan and Fiona Benson of Jonathon Cape. Coincidentally the Poetry Editor of Cape, poet Robin Robertson, was up for the Goldsmith’s Prize of £10.000 for his verse novel ‘The Long Take.’ During the second part of the evening it was announced that he had won the prize.
Jill Abram had taken the opportunity to book the American poet Mark Doty for this event as he was passing through London at this time. Described by poet Ruth Padel as ‘a poet of glow’ Mark lived up to his reputation as he read some new poems straight from his laptop. He was the first American to win to win the TS Eliot prize and his latest collection with Cape is ‘Deep Lane’
Andrew McMillan made a stunning debut with his collection ‘Physical’ which won the Guardian first book award beside other honours. Writing in Guardian Review, McMillan explained that all he ever hoped for his poetry was that it should ‘live sincerely in the world and take everything that happened, turn it, distil it, and give it back to the reader – in the hopes it might move them, or be ‘useful’. His second collection ‘Playtime’ was published in August.
Fiona Benson read from her upcoming collection ‘Vertigo and Ghost’. Her previous work has been shortlisted for both TS Eliot and Forward prizes. She read some powerful poems from her Zeus sequence about Zeus as a serial rapist, for whom woman are prey and sex is weaponised.
A copy of the letter sent out by Wendy Williams after a visit by three of us to the Poetry Reading Group at Dulwich Library.
Re: Poetry Reading Group at Dulwich Library
We had a great time at the poetry group a few weeks ago. Our subject was calamities, and they came in all shapes and sizes, from wars to lost glasses. Some of them were very sad and serious, and others amusing, so we had a well-rounded selection. Three ladies from the Shortlands Poetry group joined us, and they contributed some excellent material, too.
These are the poems we heard at our last meeting:- From the line (Kerr); The Mistake (Fenton); On the loss of The Royal George (Cowper); Alarm at first entering the Yangtze gorges (Anon); A Panic attack (Stevens); The Sounds crowds make (Moore); Casey at the bat (Taylor); Aviators (Armitage); The Vegetable garden and the runaway horse (Ayres); Catastrophe (Zaman); The Water roars and keeps on roaring (Kemenes); Remember me? (Mather); Does it matter? (Sassoon); The Wreck of the Deutschland [part] (Hopkins); The Gasman cometh (Flanders and Swann); In my own hands (Marks); Stacey (Luke); Abandoned (Sweeney); Reading scheme (Cope); Disconnection and reconnection (Johnson); Ayers Rock (Ayres); Very old man (Henry); Cain (Kemenes); Just like a man (Anon); Fallen (Corbin); The Last poem (Desnos); Boy with orange (Kramer); Calamity (Gibi); Organised am I (Fox); The Shirt (Moore); The Reluctant bride (Turner); Love song for a man with 100 pairs of glasses (Seborn); Please will you take your children home before I do them in (Ayres); Warning (Joseph).
Our meetings are held on the first Friday of each month – the next one will be on 5th October, from 2 until 3.30pm. Our subject will be Elizabethan poets. Please also bring ideas for our new list of subjects, which I will be compiling shortly.
I hope to see you many of you next week.
Love and Best Wishes
Come and join Christine and Jane for a fun afternoon of Poetry and Prosecco.
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 :-