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October 9, 2015

It’s been a busy week-and-a-bit. The Bath Poetry Cafe competition prizes were given at a reading in Bath on September 26th. All the short-listed poets read their work. The book-stall did a brisk trade. Drinks were drunk and nibbles were nibbled.  Then the four winners were announced. Rosie Jackson  and Claire Dyer won joint first prize for two outstandingly good poems. Thanks to Sue Boyle for coming up with the idea and seeing it through. You can read some of the short-listed poems on her blog.

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Three days later some of us from the Wells Fountain Poets took part in a Bristol Poetry Festival event in Bristol Central Library, Rachael Clyne (centre, with Colin Brown of Poetry Can) read from her recent collection, plus some new work, and I and the other Waterwoven poets performed our collaborative piece. It was a great treat to have the use of three microphones, all of them working! Thanks to Colin for inviting us and for all he does for poets and poetry in the Bristol area.

Photo by Deborah Harvey

Photo by Deborah Harvey

Deborah’s blog-post on the Bristol Poetry Festival can be read here.

This event was also the launch of Dru Marland’s beautiful and affordable new anthology Hailing Foxes
– £5 from Gert Macky Books and, as they say, good booksellers. Several of the contributors read their work. It was a good evening. On the way home we stopped at Chew Valley Lake to watch the moon and its reflection and to listen to the quiet lapping of water.

Two days after that I was back in Bath for a read-through of a programme of poems written in 1915, to be performed at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute on the evening of November 10th. It will be wonderful! I am grateful to have been introduced to the stark and startlingly modern work of Giuseppe Ungaretti.

Two days later Peter and I rode to Swindon, where the Swindon Poetry Festival was in full swing. This was our last trip on the last of his BMW bikes before it went to a new home. Once you have the perfect motorbike there’s not much point in hanging onto the others! The weather was beautiful and we stopped for an extended walk around the stones and earthworks at Avebury, still awe-inspiring after centuries of erosion and vandalism.

Avebury 1

Avebury 2

We revisited the village church, with its Saxon nave, Norman carved doorway and font and 15th-century rood-loft.

Avebury 4

Avebury 3

I can’t resist an old gravestone over-written with lichens …

Avebury 5

On arrival in Swindon we had supper at Chennai Dosa. Best South Indian food I’ve tasted outside South India.

The evening event in Swindon Museum and Art Gallery was the prizegiving for the Battered Moons competition, with spell-binding readings by the judges, Cristina Newton and Pascale Petit. In the photo, Rosie is holding the beautifully-produced and stylish anthology. Big thanks to Hilda Sheehan, Cristina and the whole Poetry Swindon team for a lovely evening in a beautiful venue.

Rosie Jackson (R, 2nd) and me (L, 3rd). Photo by Rachael Clyne.

Rosie Jackson (R, 2nd) and me (L, 3rd). Photo by Rachael Clyne.

And lastly … an evening of poems, most of them on the National Poetry Day theme of Light, from my home team, the Fountain Poets, on Monday evening!

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