Tag Archives: Nola Turner

A Reading by Nola Turner

A Reading by Nola Turner.

On Tues. April 3rd. Nola show-cased a selection of her poems at ‘Beyond Words,’ a well-known South London poetry venue run by Angela Brodie and Caroline Vero.

Beyond Words

At the end of the first half of the evening, following ‘poems from the floor, ‘ Nola came forward to read hers to an appreciative audience.

In the second half of the evening Roger Robinson and Nick Makoha read from their collections.



Nola Turner’s Prizewinning Poem

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.

Two Successes

We had the news almost simultaneously that two members of our Writing Group had been awarded First Prize in Poetry Competitions they had entered.

Christine Pope won her award in the Penge Poetry Competition but was unable to attend the Prizegiving. Nola Turner won the Ripley Poetry Competition and is to be presented with her award on August 26th. at the Ripley Garden Party.

Nola’s poem will be published here after the prize-giving but Christine’s poem is below, having been read to great acclaim at our meeting on 11th. July

Christine Pope

Christine Pope

The River Darent at Lullingstone by Christine Pope


My sandals, strapped together are safely stored high
on the bank while I sit with my feet in the fast flowing
River Darent, this lovely day. Sun dappling leaves.

The water is cold and makes me gasp but it’s sparkling
and clear under the hazel hedge as I watch the black-silver
threads of a shoal of minnows stitch the current.

A nodding moorhen, pip-pip-pips after her solitary chick and
paddles in and out of the nearby sedge. Green and blue – tinselled
damsel flies dart overhead and cling to ragged robin and meadowsweet

growing along the water’s edge. A small mouse-like bird creeps
up and round the bark of a tree; is it the elusive nuthatch or tree creeper?
My cup runneth over. Happiness comes in small chunks like these.

For once there is nobody else around but I hear a duck quack loudly
from the lake, laughing at his own joke and I imagine a tunic clad girl
or boy from the farm of the Roman Villa sitting on the same ledge,

also dipping their hot feet into this same river, the same oaks, the same
flinty soil, the same insects. Bird song is all around me, some I know
this lovely day. A pleasurable melancholy steals over me

as the river runs on unceasingly to its own music,
this music on the verge of tears.

AGM March 14th. 2017

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.

Sport on May 24th

One could say we had a field day on May 24th when the topic for the afternoon was “Sport”. Indeed one poem was about a school Sports Day, and another about a country show. Cricket won the count with five poems related to this game, including, of course, Newbolt’s “Vitai Lampada”, the breathless hush and all that.

Henry Newbolt No.2 by William Strang 1898

Henry Newbolt No.2 by William Strang 1898

Next came golf and tennis ( and yes, Betjeman featured in both of these), while after that came a parade of sports familiar and ingenious.

We were treated to: an exciting game of ping pong, a memorable defeat at baseball, sea skating, bull fighting, croquet and curling to mention but a few. By the end of the day we were exhausted but had been thoroughly entertained.

Nola Turner

Jan. 12th. Desert Island Poems

At the first meeting of 2016 members shared their lists of 8 poems they would like to read should they ever be marooned on a desert island. Though most were from the 19th. century (shades of what we learned at school?) our choices in time ranged from ‘The Iliad’, ‘The Canterbury Tales’ and ‘The Testament of Cresseid’ (Robert Henryson d 1500) to numerous living and recently deceased poets such as Seamus Heaney and Maya Angelou.

Desert Island Poems

One member confessed to having slept with Billy Collins under her pillow, while another had committed to memory ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ never to be forgotten. Our guest that afternoon read AP Herbert’s amusing ‘At The Theatre’ and an absent member who had recently become a grandparent sent in the appropriate ‘Preface To The Past’ by Ogden Nash. European poets were represented by Miroslav Holub’s ‘The Door’ and Robert Frost was a notable American mentioned several times. A poem by Ted Walters was read as representing SPC writers in their own right.

By far the most mentioned were sonnets by Shakespeare. Ruth will make a fuller analysis of what turned out to be fascinating choices.

Nola Turner

Member Profile Nola Turner

Nola TurnerI think my love of poetry might spring from the freedom I had as a child to explore the landscape of my home in north-west Durham, up on the border with Northumberland; that, and a love of the human voice.

I enjoy listening to Circle members as they read their selections. Every meeting is full of unexpected gems read in a range of accents and tones.

My time as a lecturer at University of London Goldsmiths led me into the world of art and artists, so visual imagery in poetry is important to me, as are the ways in which artists and poets compress ideas and convey emotions.

I came across a notice for SPC by chance in a local newspaper a few months after I had retired in 1997. At my first meeting I was impressed by the high quality of the poems presented by members. The Circle is truly that: an inclusive place where all can feel at home. We have some very good published poets within the group who exert a healthy influence and are a huge source of knowledge, but equally the contribution of everyone is valued. Belonging to the Circle has encouraged me to meet poets further afield, especially through the Poet in the City organisation. I have begun to write poetry of late, though I find the hard slog of redrafting after an initial surge of inspiration difficult.

Without the impetus of following the SPC programme I doubt if I would have discovered the amazing work of Andrew Marvell (and the complex person he was too), plus the staggering range of contemporary poets. Currently Michael Donaghy and Esther Morgan are two of my favourites along with Anne Stevenson and Seamus Heaney. With R S Thomas and Edward Thomas I am free to roam moors, woods and fields once more.