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Poetry in Bristol and Winchester

October 16, 2019

Deborah and Colin at The Leaping Word kindly invited me to be their guest poet at Silver Street Poets’ monthly meeting in October. This is a gathering of interesting and friendly poets in a super venue – close to the centre of Bristol, just the right size, good natural light and good acoustics. Book-sales were encouraging, too. The bus journeys there and back gave me useful time for thinking, observing, writing and knitting!

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I’ll go again for some high-quality live poetry whenever I’m free on the first Friday of the month. November’s guest is Chaucer Cameron, whose latest work, Wild Whispers, is an international poetry film project working with collaborators from ten countries. Chaucer co-edits the online poetry film journal, Poetry Film Live, well worth a visit.

I was thrilled to learn that I was on the long-list for the Winchester Poetry Prize. I very much enjoyed the day-trip by train to Winchester last Saturday. On the absurdly overcrowded Virgin train from Basingstoke we were sardine-packed next to the first-class loo with Mark Totterdell and Jane. Such a pleasure to meet them. Later we did a book-swap. Mapping is a great collection, well-observed, intelligent and witty, beautifully written without being at all showy.

Winchester is gorgeous. We’ll go there again.

The long list

One advantage of being tall is that I get to stand at the back of group photos, with just my best feature showing!

Winning poems

Congratulations to the four winners, Peter Iveson, Maria Isakova-Bennett, Lewis Buxton and Ellora Sutton (Hampshire Prize).

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This was written during the Arvon five-day poetry challenge in June this year. Jen Hadfield’s daily emails were full of intriguing ideas and good advice. As it turned out, this free online course helped me through a challenging week that included a three-day trip to Marseille at short notice to visit a seriously ill friend I’d known since we were both students at Keele in the 1960s.

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