Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Terrific Day at the 2nd Festival of Suffolk Poetry

Festival Director, Colin Whyles, on stage

Colin adjusting the microphone

David reading his Raasay poems as a tribute to Sorley MacLean

I also read a Raasay poem ... and one about a turtle's 'tears'.
Ian Griffiths, Suffolk Poetry Society Chairman, recited his Golden Oriole poem

Poems on Gainsborough's House - Colin at the microphone

The 2nd Festival of Suffolk Poetry,
John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, Stowmarket
The Suffolk Poetry Society hosted its second all-day festival on Saturday 30 May 2015. Colin Whyles, Festival Director, was at the helm, with assistance from fellow committee members.

The morning programme comprised poetry workshops, including a session entitled ‘Poem as Time Machine’, with quick-fire exercises presented by Michael Laskey, co-founder of the international Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. Other workshops focused on the Villanelle poetry form (led by Suffolk Poetry Society President, James Knox Whittet) and on internal and external landscapes (led by Angela Locke, former Ipswich High School student, now a writer in Cumbria).

The afternoon events featured more than 30 members of 9 Poetry Cafés or groups from throughout our region, including a staff and student representation from University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich. The poems displayed a huge variety of style and subject matter. Suffolk-themed pieces ranged from a railway rap to a poem by previous Society Chairman, Anne Boileau, on the theme of Thomas Gainsborough’s pocket watch. 

There were more readings in the evening, including one from Michael Laskey. Douglas Coombes of InSuffolk ( held an onstage conversation with three Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition Prize Winners, namely James Knox Whittet, Pam Job and David Healey. 

A bookstall displayed an impressive range of members’ books, pamphlets and chapbooks. Poetry doctors were on hand for those who were having difficulty with a poem. There was a demonstration of calligraphy by Sue Hufton.  

Do take a look at the Suffolk Poetry Society's Facebook page for more Festival photographs. A huge thank you to all who worked so hard to make this such an enjoyable and memorable day. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

StAnza Map - Poems about Scotland

Thanks to Eleanor Livingstone and her fellow poets in Scotland, my Lewis Chessman poem has just been added to the StAnza poetry map of Scotland, and you can find it here.

In 2014 during Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, StAnza set itself the challenge to see if the shape and nature of Scotland could be drawn entirely in poetry. The map continues to fill up with poem-flags, which you can see here.  

My poem, 'Lament of a Lewis Chessman' was first published in my chapbook, The Holy Place, co-authored with John Dotson, and published by The Seventh Quarry (2012) in conjunction with Cross- Cultural Communications (New York).

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Slow Things Anthology at The Emma Press

Editor Emma Wright and co-editor Rachel Piercey at The Emma Press are compiling an anthology on the theme of Slow Things.

It will include one of my poems about a slow creature (but not a Roman snail, as pictured!). More details to follow.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

'The With Words Haiku Book of Summer'

Ragged Robin on Skye

My 'Haiku: Skye summer' has been Highly Commended in the 2015 With Words Summer Haiku Competition. It will appear in the competition anthology, The With Words Haiku Book of Summer.  

Alan Summers of With Words is also planning to publish The With Words Book of Summer.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Recent Round-up

I am totally behind with poetry news!

So here are are a few things that have happened recently  ...


The Suffolk Poetry Society (SPS) Desert Island Discs: this was a remarkable evening. Lord Phillips of Sudbury interviewed Terry Waite CBE about his life, Christian faith, captivity, humanitarian work and writing. The evening concluded with SPS member, Tim Gardiner, reading a poem entitled 'The Homeless' written by Terry.



The blue painting in the centre is by USA poet and artist Kay Weeks. Kay used my poem and photograph of Loch Scavaig on the Isle of Skye as her inspiration. You can read more about the event here.


Cadgwith Cove

I was delighted to have a poem about an early Cadgwith lifeboat accepted for The Sea, a poetry anthology published by Rebel Poetry in Ireland, with all profits going to the RNLI. 


David and I both had our Corinium poems shortlisted in the first poetry competition organised by the Corinium Museum. You can read about David's poem here.

We had a terrific night of poetry last Friday at our first Local Stanza Bonanza, in which a team from Suffolk Poetry Society were joined by a team from the Mosaic poetry group in Essex. The event, sparked by our recent Stanza Bonanza with Paul McGrane of The Poetry Society and Poetry Swindon, took place on the Ipswich Waterfront at University Campus Suffolk. Here are the teams gathering by the Langlands and Bell 'Question?' sculpture. As Ian Griffiths, Chairman of Suffolk Poetry Society and one of the readers, remarked, 'Who better than poets to lay a question on its side?'

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Tanka selected for Exhibition

I am delighted that my Tanka about a piece of sea-glass has been selected for The Colour of Poetry exhibition. Submitted Tanka had to be suitable for a hospital environment. Visual artists will use colour to express their emotional response to each poem selected for the exhibition and the two pieces - artwork and poem - will be exhibited together in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Poetry Evening at poetrywivenhoe with Martin Malone

Wivenhoe, late afternoon yesterday

Sincere thanks are due to Peter Kennedy, Pam Job and other organisers of poetrywivenhoe for a wonderful evening with you last night, headed up by Martin Malone, poet and editor of The Interpreter's House. Martin was the outright winner of the Wivenhoe Poetry Competition 2011, with his poem 'Digitalis' about his father's 'summer of love'. 

Martin Malone at the microphone

Martin shared with us a mix of old and new work. He gave us a flavour of some of his latest poems, new takes on Great War themes, that will make up the practice element of his PhD. He also read from The Waiting Hillside, his first collection, published by Templar Poetry (2011). 

I had attended a poetrywivenhoe event once before, for the 2014 launch of the so too have the doves gone anthology, and it was good to return.  It was a privilege to be invited as the (relatively) local reader and a joy to be there among a host of poets, many of whom read to us during the 'out of the hat' Open Mic slot in the middle of the evening. 

My set comprised poems largely but not exclusively from my chapbook, The Holy Place, co-authored with John Dotson, and published by The Seventh Quarry in Swansea in conjunction with Cross-Cultural Communications in New York. 

Martin signing copies of The Waiting Hillside and The Interpreter's House (with Stuart Mugridge's cover illustration)

It was good to meet up with Rebecca Goss again. I had attended her stimulating workshop at Writers' Centre Norwich on the 'coast' last autumn. It was also a pleasure to meet MW Bewick (last month's poetrywivenhoe reader), one of the two editor-publishers of Dunlin Press, who have just launched the volume of 'Collected Reports from East Anglia', Est.  

Peter Kennedy, Pam Job, Caroline Gill, Martin Malone


Conversation with MW Bewick (left)

The Ceilidh House, Skye

 Thank you, poetrywivenhoe! 

Wivenhoe at sunset