This was the last meeting before Easter and the theme was ‘Heavens Above’ which prompted poems on planets, stars, clouds, night and heaven itself. Wordsworth and Gerard Manley Hopkins were well-represented, as was William Blake and we were treated to spirited readings of ‘Twinkle, twinkle Little Star’ and John Agard’s ‘Coffee In Heaven.’ Other poets visited were Maura Dooley, Penelope Shuttle. Anne Stewart and Daphne Cloag with an extract from her poem ‘Beginnings’ A poem was read from Simon Armitage’s ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ one of 88 poems which receives its title from a constellation. We look forward to recommencing our activities on April 28th.
Dipping Into The Archive
This week I looked at handwritten minutes for the period Feb. 23rd. to Dec. 1955 when the President was Miss Elizabeth Hughes whose sister Eva also used to attend meetings. At that time these were held either in members’ houses or in local hotels, even a pub.
Minutes were taken at each meeting, being read, approved and signed at the next. Sometimes there were outside speakers. Ludovic Kennedy came to talk about George Herbert on March 1st. 1955 at an Open Meeting at The Beckenham Hall and a lecturer from Birkbeck College came to give a talk on William Blake. Members often gave what they called ‘papers’ on various meaty topics such as ‘Philosophy In Poetry’ and ‘The Tractarian Movement.’ There was also a liking for choral speaking and members performed ‘Cullin Sands’ by Gordon Bottomley.
Numbers at meetngs seldom went below 20 and there were frequent visitors. A link had been forged with a Poetry Circle in Cley, Norfolk and there were yearly visits, one to the other. As we do now, topics for the meetings were decided in advance e.g. Nature’s Tiny Creatures, Time To Stand and Stare,The Glory That Was Greece, Saints and Sinners and the quite tricky, The Music In My Heart I Bore.
Here’s a snippet from the minutes of April 5th. 1955 :-
Mrs Pereira expressed the opinion that she felt that poems on Easter or Christmas, as the case might be were becoming a little stale and that, in future, subjects other than these might be selected by the Committee from the Suggestions Book when they were drawing up the programme.