Although our last meeting of the Summer was on July 10th. our activities did not cease there. Mavis Robinson hosted a very enjoyable afternoon of Free Choice poetry on August 7th. at her flat, attended by as many as Mavis could fit in. On a hot day, the ice cream was very welcome!
Anne Stewart ran an all day event for writers of poetry at The Daylight Inn, Petts Wood. This proved to be popular. We were looking particularly at Structure in poetry and during the day managed to write limericks, haiku, concrete poems, poems in which we assumed an identity and a longer poem on an object which our neighbour had provided. Thanks to Anne’s skill and enthusiasm we all came away exhilarated.
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.
The first meeting of the new term was attended by 17 people. It began with a talk by Mavis Robinson on how, on behalf of the SPC, she reads to a partially-sighted group in Bromley. One thing has led to another and she now also reads to a lunchtime gathering at St. Marks Church together with Christine Pope. Members of both groups have expressed their wish for the readings to become a regular event.
There was no specified theme for this meeting so members read poems of their own choosing, some of them influenced by recent happenings. As a pamphlet by Isabel Bermudez is shortly coming out, Anne Stewart read Isabel’s poem ‘Racer.’ PJ Kavanagh’s death has been recently announced so Diane Chorley chose to read his poem, The Temperance Billiard Room.’ Patsy Paine read ‘Manly Ferry’ by Clive James from his collection ‘Sentenced To Life’
The range of poems read was, as usual, wide with Milton, Blake, Wordsworth and Hardy well represented but also Kate Foley, Esther Morgan and a local poet who had a connection to Ripley, Ted Walter.
This event was organized by Harris Academy Beckenham who wanted to encourage participation from the community. As the whole event was to be a celebration of the written and spoken word we were contacted and agreed to fill two half hour slots with readings of a miscellany of poems ancient and modern, comic and serious.
For the first slot we decided on a theme of Words, and for the second we read poems that were connected in some way with Action. Maggie Hoyle was applied to for ideas and members of the team made a contribution. So, folders in hand, we entered the Creative Canopy and read, mainly to friends and relatives it must be said, competing at one stage with a singer and band in full spate just a tent wall away.
The interval between readings was spent tranquilly in Sheila and Brian Corrins’ garden but there was time to see a few of the many events that were going on and admire the quotation quilt, the Poe Tree and the Edible Book competition with its inventive entries. Fun, even though the logistics were not always in our favour and thanks to everyone for two great readings. Two members of the audience requested copies of UA Fanthorpe’s ‘Dear Mr Lee’ so seeds were sown.
The readers were Sheila Corrin, jane Knight, Keith Massey, Mavis Robinson, Ruth Smith and Anne Stewart.
On Wednesday March 11th. Christine Pope and Mavis Robinson read poems to an appreciative audience from the Kent Association For the Blind, which includes partially-sighted people. This was so successful that Mavis and Christine have been asked to read again at one of the Wednesday lunches at St. Mark’s Church, Westmoreland Road, Bromley.