Category Archives: Member Profiles

Bell House Dulwich March 3rd 2020

Bell House Dulwich March 3rd.

Bell House Dulwich

An evening of Poetry and Music

This event was attended by several of our members and proved to be very enjoyable. Music was provided by the excellent band who set poems to music and have worked with both Roger McGough and Carol Ann Duffy.

There were readings from four excellent poets which included our own Anne Stewart reading from her most recent collection ‘The Last Parent.’ The other three poets were:

Chris Beckett. Lynne Hjelmaard and Jane Kirwan who we have invited to read at our Summer Celebration.

Six poets also read from the floor including Gillie Robic who is well known to some of us.

Meeting Of September 10th 2019



Ann Barlow           A Dream                                            Bandi (anonymous)
Common Grounds                             Kathleen Gallagher

Diane Chorley     A Song of Wandering Aengus          W.B. Yeats
Friends                                                 Elizabeth Jennings

Jean Ellis               The Horses                                          Edwin Muir
September Evening                              John Burnside

Monica King       The Stethoscope                                  Dannie Abse
These are the Hands                          Michael Rosen

Jan Ottley           Gardener                                                Robert Graves
The Lonely Letters                                W.H. Auden

Christine Pope  Consumer Complaint                        C. Marjorie Smith
The Royal Opera House                      Michael Shan

Mavis Robinson    Corinna’s Going A-Maying            Robert Herrick
Caged Birds                                     India Russell

Loraine Saacks     From ‘ September 1st. 1939’           W. H. Auden
Advice For Winston                         Tom Merrill

Ruth Smith             Thank You for Waiting                  Simon Armitage
The Steps                                           Liz Berry

Anne Stewart          The Memory Hall                           Meryn Williams
After Sonnet 64 Shakespeare       Jean Watkins

Anne Stooke            A Hillpost in India J.                        Milton Hayes
Eternity                                            William Blake

Nola Turner             Forefathers                                 Edmund Blunden
King Lear Act 4 Sc. 6                  W. Shakespeare

Foster Murphy       Rain                                               Edward Thomas
A Marriage                                    R S Thomas

Michael Bobb         Christabel                                      Samuel Coleridge
The Bards                                      Walter de la Mare

Christina              On a cellar, apples and poets           Anna Friley
My Ear Atends To You                     Maria Tsvetaeva

Members News and Events March 2019


One member attended an event organised by The Poetry society at King’s Place, near King’s Cross, This was to celebrate 40 years of the National Poetry Competition with readings from poets who had either won the competition or been successful. Ten poets gave readings, not just of the poem that had earned their success, but also a specially commissioned poem each. These poems had to incorporate two words – one which had commonly appeared in National Poetry Competition entries, the other a more unusual word from those same poems. There was a free anthology given out containing the ten commissioned poems.

The poets were:-
Liz Berry, Mary Jean Chan, Ian Duhig, Fran Lock, Sinėad Morrissey, Mark Pajak, Caleb Parkin , Stephen Saxton and Jo Shapcott.

Members’ News

While members are thoroughly enjoying Anne Stewart’s latest book ‘.The Last Parent,’ Anne has also had one of her poems featured as ‘Poem Of The Month’ by Enfield Poets. This appears on a poster with graphics by designer Jools Barret The poem is called ‘Across The Aisle’ and the poster is displayed in the window of The Dugdale Centre, Enfield.

















Isabel Turvey (aka Bermudez) is to have two pamphlets published this year, one by the journal ‘Coast to Coast to Coast.


The winners of the second Coast to Coast to Coast mini-portfolio competition for individual-poet journals were Isabel Bermudez and Lydia Harris. Their journals will be created and published in Summer 2019.

Isabel Bermudez worked in Colombia in television, specialising in documentary, as a Producer/Director and Camerawoman (1998–2001). In Sri Lanka, she worked in educational television and as a Special Correspondent for the Island Newspaper. (1993–1995).

Her poems are widely published. She was shortlisted six times for the Bridport Prize and was most recently commended in the 2018 Winchester Poetry Prize. Her collections are Extranjeros, (Flarestack Poets 2015), Small Disturbances (Rockingham Press, 2016) and Sanctuary (Rockingham Press, 2018). She lives in Orpington, Kent.

Meeting of 27th. November The poetry of Michael Longley, Sean O’Brien and Robin Robertson

Ann Barlow supplied information about the first two poets with Ruth Smith following on with an account of Robin Robertson’s poetry. Several members were unable to make it for this meeting but nine poems by Michael Longley were read, seven by Sean O’Brien and four by Robin Robertson.

We found that the smaller numbers allowed time for discussion and one of Michael Longley’s poems, chosen by Patsy Paine, was read twice for further enjoyment.

Meeting of April 24th 2018

It seemed a long time since we last met and the topic, as always at the beginning of a term, was ‘Open Choice’ When it came round to Christine Pope she told us a bit more about her and Mavis’s visit to the Poetry Library for an evening on the Dymock poets, some of whose grandchildren were present on the day.

Here is the list of poems read:-


Ann Barlow The Quiet Ones Wyn Parkinson
In the Museum of Antiquated Offices: Exhibit C, Fax Machine Emma Simon
Janet Chapman Home Thoughts from Abroad Robert Browning
Printing Jenny Matthew Mitchell
Diane Chorley What do women want? Kim Addonizio
Light Month Victoria Redel
Sheila Corrin  A Date with Spring John Agard
Shall I compare thee …………? William Shakespeare
Jean Ellis  Translations Adrienne Rich
From ‘Quarto’ Adrienne Rich
Monica King This is going to hurt just a little bit Ogden Nash
The Photograph Lorna Dexter
Liz Maliphant High Wood Ewart Alan Macintosh
Song for a beautiful girl Adrian Henri
Kathleen Mustoe Counting Fleur Adcock
Under the Lawn Fleur Adcock
Adele Radelat The power of the Dog Rudyard Kipling
Going too far Wendy Cope
Mavis Robinson The Salutation Thomas Traherne
One does get old at last Ruth Pitter
Loraine Saacks  My Future Robert William Service
A Parent’s prayer David Axton
Nola Turner On Meryl Pugh
Beck Simon Armitage
Ruth Smith Poundland Simon Armitage
For Edward Thomas Sasha Dugdale
Anne Stooke Apple Blossom Louis McNeice
The Legs Robert Graves
Patsy Paine Sentenced to Life Clive James
Azma Unpacks her Pretty clothes Clive James
Christine Pope  Adelstrop Edward Thomas
Adelstrop 1987 Alan Brownjohn
Creative Writing Gervase Finn

After the meeting, many us us stayed as Ann Barlow and Monica King reported their findings from the Suggestions Book and invited comments. In the light of the discussion that followed, some choices were made which will be presented to the Committee at their May meeting. From this the programme for next year will be constructed.


Meeting of January 23rd 2018

A slightly thinner crowd than usual, more due to illness than to any disinterest in the poetry of Byron and Shelley.

We were grateful to Ann Barlow for her summary of both poets’ lives and work, then the reading began. More than one person read excerpts from Byron’s ‘Don Juan’ and we paid tribute to Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Ode To A Skylark.’ In all, eleven of Shelley’s poems were read and thirteen of Byron’s. It was good to be reacquainted with these two poets and to hear their stories.

Ruth Smith Member Profile

I was introduced to poetry during my early schooldays by a ferocious teacher who read William Blake’s ‘The Tiger’ with such power and conviction that I was utterly overwhelmed. Then came ballads, the poetry of Walter de la Mare and ‘A Child’s Garland Of Verses’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.

After this early flush of enthusiasm, poetry became something you had to learn by heart for homework but I loved reading Shakespeare and Wordsworth when I was older.

Many years later, when I retired from my job as an English teacher, I tried to write poetry, tutored by Matthew Sweeney and Maurice Riordan who put up with all my blunders and excesses. There was always a such a gulf between the poem I wanted to write and the one I produced. Things gradually improved, but what a long time it took!

I must have joined the SPC shortly after the Centenary Celebrations and enjoyed ferreting out poems to bring to the meetings and found myself in good company. I never imagined then that I would one day take on the Presidency having always considered myself something of a ‘backroom girl.’

I continue to write – rather slowly – and to read poetry aloud and it is the pleasure of my life.


Meeting of 28th. Nov. Topic – The Visual Arts

If there was a problem with this it was being ‘spoilt for choice.’ All the better, so far as the meeting was concerned, because people avoided the obvious and this made for a very interesting and varied bill of fare. Not all of the poems of course were about paintings or sculptures There were at least two about photography and two poems by our own Isabel Bermudez (aka Turvey) were read, reproduced on a calendar illustrated by her artist husband.

Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Standing Female Nude

Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Standing Female Nude

One member teamed Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Standing Female Nude’ with ‘The Women of Rubens’ by Wislawa Szymborska. Another member reminded us that R. S. Thomas, who is normally associated with religious poetry, had written a poem about Cezanne’s painting of card players. There was a poem about dancing by none other than Ninette de Valois and one of the starting poems was ‘Bohemia’ by Dorothy Parker who cocked a snook at all things artistic.

These were poems we were all eager to share. Art books were brought and displayed and it was a case of seventeen different minds being brought to bear on how poets have responded to the visual arts