Tag Archives: Paul McGrane

New Year’s resolution – keep Poetry healthy!

2019 collections (2)Still stuck for a new year’s resolution?  How about subscribing to an extra literary magazine, buying another collection/pamphlet, perhaps crowd-funding an event or renewing your membership of The Poetry Society?

Not yet a member? T.S Elliot must be spinning in his grave! He helped set up the society in 1909. Or, to paraphrase another great American wordsmith (record holder for speaking 350 words per minute): Ask not what Poetry can do for you, but what YOU can do for Poetry.

For the modest price of £23 per year, you can enjoy that warm glow of maintaining the heart beat of poetry in the UK, as well as a hamper of literary goodies. For £44 per year, you get a subscription to the quarterly Poetry Review thrown in too. What’s not to like?

Stanza Bonanza ColchesterFor me, the warm glow is enough. But I’ve enjoyed the benefits too. The society has over 100 Stanza groups in the UK where you can enjoy the company and technical feedback of other poets. Clapham used to be my Stanza group. Now I’m a member of the Brighton group. There’s one near you, almost certainly.

My poem Sp/lit was recently commended in the society’s 2019 Stanza Competition. You can read Sp/lit, along with the winning and commended poems at the following link. Just select 2019 and scroll down the right hand side of the page to find them all: 2019 Stanza Competition poems

If you live within reach of London, the Poetry Society’s refurbished headquarters off Long Acre, Covent Garden, is a great venue for its many events and activities, together with the Poetry Café where you can meet, eat and speak to your heart’s content. I recently went there for Poetry@3, a popular monthly Open Mic event hosted by the warmly Welsh and very welcoming Paul McGrane. It’s for poets who like to play in the afternoon. So handy for travel, if you don’t live in London. Trafalgar

20191205_poetree-2897-2048x1332[1]This Christmas, I went up to the Big Smoke again for the lighting up of the 100ft Norwegian spruce in Trafalgar Square. Is no-where safe from the Poetry Society’s influence? A specially commissioned poem, ‘The Gift’ by Clare Pollard, inspired by local school children, was part of the ceremony, touchingly performed by youngsters to a crowd of warmly wrapped people.

[2]Other benefits to membership include, discounted poetry surgeries, a free copy of the quarterly Poetry News, packed with essential reading, including a double page dedicated to young poets. And more than 20 different projects currently putting Poetry into the public arena up and down the country, from National Poetry Day, and The Annual Lecture, to the Canal Laureateship, Poetry and Podcasts, and vital archive work.

So, for the cost of a festive round of drinks, you get to support a heritage that goes back  . . . well, exactly when did poetry first start? Cuneiform, spoken, printed or virtual, all we can say for sure, is that it’s been going a very long time. Let’s hope it stays that way!

For more information about membership, please visit: The Poetry Society

Twenty Poets, Four Gigs and a Fistful of Poems!

What a month. I’ve guested with some fantastic poetic talent at four different gigs in front of really engaged audiences (you know who you are!)

Shuffle Feb 14

First up, Jill Abram curated the February Shuffle at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden and rustled up a gang of six very diverse poets –  (l. to r . Matt Bryden, Mehmet Izbudak, Malika Booker, Michael Scott, Claire Booker and Rachel Smith).  The evening spun brightly around Jill’s warmth, words and way with the mic.

Then I had the pleasure of featuring at the Torriano Meeting House under the able baton of Lisa Kelly. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This time I was in a threesome with Alan Price and Louise Warren, whoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA read new work and also poems from their latest collections – respectively: ‘Outfoxing Hyenas’ – published by Indigo Dreams, and ‘A Child’s Last Picture Book of the Zoo’ – published by Cinnamon.  Lisa Kelly’s ‘Bloodhound’ (Hearing Eye) is well worth a read too.

‘There may be blood, there will be poetry’ – so The Poetry Society Blurb promised.  Yes, Colchester Stanza Group tried to terrify us with tales of daring do by Essex girl Boudicca over poor old Londinium. But Original Poets stood firm and there was no vini, vidi vici about it.

Stanza Bonanza ColchesterColchester wielded some excellent poetry from Simon Banks, Dave Canning, Candyce Lang, Rosie Sandler and Alex Toms, while Original poets, marching under their leader, Andy Hickmott, gave as good as they got, thanks to fine work by Nicole Carrel, Mark Fiddes, Tessa Lang, Claire Booker and Tom Vaughan.

And finally, at Beyond Words this week, I showcased 15 minutes of my poetry along side the wry humour of headline poet Peter Phillips, who introduced us to the loves of his life – wine, poetry and Oscar the dog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeyond Words offers poetry, prose and sometimes even music and meets on the first Tuesday of each month at The Gipsy Hill Tavern, a mere 1 minute walk from Gipsy Hill overground station (20 mins from London Bridge). Hosts Angela Brodie and Caroline Vero create a vibrant, fun and very welcoming atmosphere: www.beyondwordspoetrylondon.co.uk

The Torriano Meeting House offers a cornucopia of poetry every Sunday of the year, as well as poetry workshops, Story Night, and Folk events through the year. It’s an easy walk from Kentish Town tube: www.torrianomeetinghouse.wordpress.com

Shuffle, Feb 14 audienceThe Poetry Society is one of Britain’s most dynamic Arts association and provides members with a range of valuable services. It runs The Poetry Place, Covent Garden, where you can enjoy poetry almost every night, including the monthly Shuffle, and occasional Stanza Bonanzas. To find out more go to: www.poetrysociety.org.uk