It has already been mentioned that Nola won this year’s Ripley Poetry Prize. Here’s the poem.
Where were you?
It came unbidden into homes worldwide
of anyone who happened to be switched on:
the motorcade as it wound its way
down Elm Street by the Book Depository.
In Jesmond it stopped short, a Friday afternoon
at the deflating end of day when
little air was left in the balloon –
enough to cook some supper, fish to fry,
wine to uncork and then sprawl on a sofa
to watch grainy footage of World War 1.
But long before we got to that there was
a scream, a girl, an Aussie cry –
raw as a dingo caught in an iron trap
icing blood in our veins, riveting feet –
howled without words or tears
the purest wail we’d ever heard
and yes, the President was dead.
We were sorry to lose Muriel as a member but happy that she is moving close to her family who own property in Ireland. Doubtless we will hear about the new life she she is so looking forward to.
Muriel has been indefatigable in her organization of the tea rota and has taken an enthusiastic part in readings at care homes and other venues. Last summer she took some of us round Westminster Cathedral where she acted as a guide.
We shall miss Muriel for her cheerfulness and the active part she played at Committee meetings when she was Treasurer. It was owing to Muriel that we had a Poetry Cup to present to the winner of a poetry competition at St. Olaves School.
On leaving Muriel donated a pale blue glass tankard engraved with the Kentish horse, perhaps to be used as a future prize.
Three meetings have been held since the end of February including our AGM on March 14th. This was particularly well attended and conformed to the usual format of Officers’ reports and the election of a committee. As Diane Chorley had come to the end of her three year term as President, Ruth Smith, the former Vice President, was inaugurated to take over that role. Nola Turner became Vice President in her place. Jane Knight took over from Muriel Letman as Treasurer and Isabel Turvey took over from Mavis Robinson as Secretary. The Membership Secretary, Christine Pope, has kept the office and told us that although we have lost members for various reasons we have acquired new ones and our total membership remains the same. We were very pleased to have a full committee and grateful to those who had already served.
Special thanks and a gift was given to Diane Chorley for all her efforts on our behalf with appreciation given for her gift of instantly connecting with people.
After the meeting, Jim Lord from the Avenues Group addressed the Circle. The Avenues assists people with learning disabilities or who have other complex needs. Two of us had already volunteered to help on a short project and one member also offered her services.
Isabel’s first full collection was well and truly launched at a well-attended event on Sat. Oct. 1st at The Blue Anchor, Hammersmith. Several members of the SPC were there to hear Isabel read in an upstairs room with views of the river.
Isabel’s publisher, David Pearman, said a few words. He reminisced about how he had first met Isabel at an event connected with Agenda poetry Magazine, describing her as ‘an interesting woman.’ Isabel subsequently sent him her manuscript which must have impressed him greatly as he had cut down his activities to publish only the work of poets already well known to him. He praised Isabel’s knack of catching the moment and getting to the kernel of things.
Isabel read just a few poems and even before she read people had her book in their hands. Simon ought to be mentioned for his amusing introduction and general bustling around to help things run smoothly. It was a great event and we are very proud of her. Many members have subsequently bought Isabel’s book with extra copies for friends.
Announcement and Congratulations to Isabel Bermudez
Many congratulations to Isabel Bermudez. After the success of her pamphlet, which went into a second printing, she is now about to have her first collection published by Rockingham Press.
The launch will be in the Autumn. Watch this space.
After the Easter break we were saddened to hear of Roy’s death. He had begun attending our meetings about three years ago and contributed enthusiastically.
Then illness took its toll and he was no longer able to come.
Knowing how much Roy enjoyed poetry his family asked if one of us would be willing to read a poem at his funeral. This invitation was gladly taken up. Nola Turner and Ruth Smith attended Roy’s funeral and Ruth read Christina Rossetti’s poem, ‘Let Me Go.’ Roy’s sister-in-law, Caroline, conveyed the family’s thanks.