Poetry competition now closed

The Society’s annual Open Poetry Competition has now closed. We had more than 1700 entries this year. A big ‘thank you’ to all who entered. The results will be announced in April.

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Luke Kennard

On 16th. February we are very lucky to be able to welcome Luke Kennard to the Camden Centre, for what should prove to be an exciting evening of contemporary poetry.  So come along and join us at 8.00 pm.

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Luke Kennard  is a British poet and critic, born in 1981.

He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 for his first collection The Solex Brothers.  His second collection, The Harbour Beyond The Movie, was shortlisted for the 2007 Forward Prize for Best Collection, making him the youngest ever poet to be nominated. In 2014 he was named as one of the Poetry Book Society‘s Next Generation Poets.  His collections include:
The Solex Brothers (2005); The Harbour Beyond The Movie (2007); The Migraine Hotel (2009) ;Planet Shaped Horse (2011); The Necropolis Boat (2012); Holophin (2012); A Lost Expression (2012).

He holds a PhD from the University of Exeter and currently lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, specialising in teaching poetry and writing for the stage and screen. Kennard has written numerous works for the stage. He also writes short stories.  His mixture of free verse and prose poems are linked by surreal themes and strong yet mysterious characters.  His criticism of poetry and theatre appears in various publications, including The National, Poetry London and the Times Literary Supplement.

Luke has been appointed the 2016 Canal Laureate.  The Canal Laureateship was established by The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust in 2013, to encourage exciting new writing about the canal network. He will begin his Laureateship by foot, writing about his canal-side journeys as he goes, in a series of new poems.    The poems, and other surreal observations from the narrow road, will be published from January 2016 on the project blog: http://www.waterlines.org.uk. You can also follow his adventures via Twitter @CanalPoetry.


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Home Grown Talent

A popular feature in our calendar is the reading by 3 of our own members.  The January meeting at the Camden Centre features Jess Mookherjee, Chris Renshaw and Phil Vernon.  This starts off our 2016 season on January 19 at 8.00pm.

Have a look at our calendar for our meetings this year, including readings by Ann-Marie Fyfe, Luke Kennard, Nicholas Bielby, Julian Stannard and Jack Underwood.  An excellent and varied line-up, I am sure you will agree!

And don’t forget that entries for the 2016 need to be in by the end of the month!

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Jess                                                       Chris                                                              Phil

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Stanza Bonanza and Christmas


A warm atmosphere and lots of good poetry were enjoyed by members of the Kent and Sussex and Brighton teams in the Stanza Bonanza at the Poetry Cafe.  Here they are!



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Christmas lights in Maidstone

Clear your diaries for the main event of the festive season. Our Christmas meeting will be at the Camden Centre in Tunbridge Wells on Tuesday 15th December, beginning 8pm.  If you are coming to join us, it would be helpful if you could bring:

–  a poem, vaguely seasonal, one of your own or by someone else if you prefer

–  (optional) some small contribution to the refreshments. This shouldn’t be much. We’ll have wine and just need a few nibbles to help it down

–  your thinking cap for another edition of our celebrated Poetry Quiz. No need to revise US presidents or flags of Pacific islands, this isn’t University Challenge, and we’ll be working in teams so you can always blame someone else.

–  copies of any books/pamphlets you’ve had published. We plan to display these on a table for members to look at during the interval.

Subscriptions become due on 1st January. Your Treasurer would be happy to start taking these at the December meeting if you wish: £15 for full membership or £10 for concessions.

See you there!

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Coming up next …




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The events for the Christmas and New Year season are listed below.  We hope you will come along to the Camden Centre in Tunbridge Wells for some more enjoyable evenings of poetry with the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society.   See you soon!

Tuesday 15th December – poetry quiz and social evening

Tuesday 19th January – our regular New Year triple bill, this time featuring Chris Renshaw, Phil Vernon & Jess Mookherjee.

Tuesday 16th February – reading by Luke Kennard following an open-mic session.

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Annie Freud November 17th. 2015

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Annie Freud

We are very fortunate to have as our next guest at the Camden Centre the poet Annie Freud.  Annie Freud has a background rich in creativity.  She is the daughter of the painter, Lucian Freud; her maternal grandfather was the sculptor, Sir Jacob Epstein, and her great-grandfather was Sigmund Freud. She grew up in London and graduated in English and European Literature at the University of Warwick.

Her pamphlet, A Voids Officer Achieves the Tree Pose, was published by Donut Press in 2006. Her first full collection, The Best Man Who Ever Was (Picador, 2007), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. The Mirabelles (Picador, 2010) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.  Her third, The Remains, is published by Picador (June 2015).

Come along and join us at 8.00 pm on  the 17th for a splendid evening of contemporary poetry!

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Simon Barraclough gave us a very entertaining and inspiring reading this month.  What a brilliant way for us to start off the poetry society year!

There is a change next month, as our invited reader for October has had to cancel, but instead we are delighted to present 3 of our successful poetry society members who have publications out this year – Mara Bergman, Graham Mummery and Jill Munro.


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Come along and join us, and don’t forget to purchase your copy of this year’s folio, containing two valuable adjudication reports as well as a fascinating variety of poetry, including our national competition prizewinners’ poems, all for just £3.  An ideal Christmas or birthday present for poetry lovers!

The new publications:

Meeting My Inners by Graham Mummery (Pindrop Press)

The Tailor’s Three Sons & Other New York Poems by Mara Bergman (Seren Books) – which won the 2014 Mslexia Women’s Poetry Pamphlet Competition!

The Man From La Paz by Jill Munro (Green Bottle Press)

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