Poetry, Art and Music

On Tuesday evening, July 15th., members of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society read poems they had written in relation to the exhibition taking place until 23 August in the Mascalls Gallery, Paddock Wood. There was an excellent turnout, and we were joined by the duo “The Cruel Mothers” who provided song and music to vary the evening.  Many took the opportunity during the interval to enjoy the beautiful etchings in the exhibition, while others made the most of the balmy weather to have a glass of wine in the open air outside the gallery.  A cultural delight.

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Graham                                                 Marjory

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Jess                                                                     Caroline





The Cruel Mothers

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Discovering Palmer’s Kent: A reading at Mascalls Gallery

Join us at Mascalls Gallery, Paddock Wood, for art, poetry and wine on Tuesday 15 July. The theme is ‘Art and Landscape’. 8 – 10pm.

Members of the Society will be reading their poems in relation to the exhibition “Discovering Palmer’s Kent”, which focuses on the work of Samuel Palmer, Graham Sutherland and Paul Drury.  There will also be a spot for readers from the floor.

The exhibition includes a previously unknown Sutherland etching, as well as a group of his early etchings, and the first showing of sketches, plates and prints of unfinished work by Paul Drury.  Samuel Palmer himself, of course, is also featured.

Join in, or simply relax and listen with a glass of wine.  There is no charge for this event.


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Susan Wicks



Congratulations to Sue Wicks, a member and committee member of our society. She is this year’s winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her translation of Valérie Rouzeau’s Talking Vrouz (Arc publications).

The judges said:

Talking Vrouz is a wonderfully inventive and yet faithful translation of poems which are already at an oblique angle to their own language (French). Susan Wicks renders a unique poetic voice, with all its eccentricities and privacies, into a matching English.  The translation is exact, inventive and full of life, and offers readers something new and startling in English poetry.

The Prize was awarded at an event at St Anne’s College, Oxford, at which the shortlisted translators read from and discussed their work. This was the crowning event of Oxford Translation Day, a festival of talks, readings and workshops staged in collaboration with Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation, English PEN, the Poetry Translation Centre, the Oxford German Network, the East Oxford Community Classics Centre and the Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities.

This year’s judges of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize  are the academics and writers Jonathan Katz, Adriana Jacobs, Patrick McGuinness and Matthew Reynolds (Chair).


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Charles Bainbridge at the Camden Centre

Charles Bainbridge

Charles Bainbridge freed us from the constraints of the current British scene with his entertaining and informative talk on Frank o’Hara at our June meeting in the Camden Centre, Tunbridge Wells.  It is a long time since we opened our ears to poetry from outside the UK, so it was refreshing to recharge the batteries for our own writing and to be enthused about a style so different, with flamboyant self-portraits, mock melodrama, the enjoyment of role-play and silliness, including mockery of English aristocratic posturing in the early poems. After receiving the Hopgood Prize for poetry, Charles told us, o’Hara’s style changed.  He stayed wild, chaotic, sarcastic and violent, yet also evidenced Romanticisim. His poetry remained idosyncratic, but developed in later years, with a controlled depth of voice and phrases that reach out to include us all.

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June 23, 2014 · 11:09 am

Summer 2014

                                                              Frank-O-Hara_FRANK151     Frank o’Hara
On Tuesday 17th. June Charles Bainbridge will be coming to the Camden Centre to give a talk entitled Self-portraits in New York: the poetry of Frank o’Hara. It’s a long time since we had a talk about poetry rather than poets reading, so this will make an interesting change and should prove informative and interesting.
Frank O’Hara was a dynamic leader of the New York School of poets. O’Hara’s poetry engages with the worlds of music, dance, and painting. His style is vaired, and includes everyday conversations and notes about New York advertising signs. He was both poet and art critic, creator and intellectual.
On Tuesday 15th. July, members of our society have been invited to give a reading as part of a month-long event at Mascalls Art Gallery in Paddock Wood.  The exhibition is Discovering Palmer’s Kent and concerns the work of Samuel Palmer, Graham Sutherland and Paul Drury.  Further details can be found at http://www.mascallsgallery.org
Hope to see you there!

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John Greening

May 2014 047       John Greening

John Greening entertained us on May 20 at the Camden Centre.  In addition to reading from his own poetry, he announced the Folio poets for this year’s collection, and the winner this year is our chairman, Clive Eastwood, so congratulations to him.  John has also given very helpful feedback to all entrants to the competition.  He believes that all good poetry emerges from reading, and enjoys “listening” to a poem first, to feel its music.  He also enjoys the interplay between line breaks and syntax, and “unusual diction” which nonetheless emerges naturally.

Clive 2014     Clive Eastwood

The Keith Francis Bowl is Clive’s for the year 2014-2015.

The Folio will be available in July, at a cost of £3, and will also contain the prizewinning poems from our Open Competition, and Pascale Petit’s adjudication report.


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May 2014 John Greening and Folio results


 John Greening is our guest on Tuesday, May 20th.  He will be reading from his own poetry as well as bringing the results of our 2014 Folio competition.

The Folio is a showcase for work produced by Kent & Sussex members during the past year, as well as containing poems written by our prizewinners in the Open Competition, and the adjudication report by Pascale Petit, so it is certainly a good read:  Folio 65 was one of the Guardian newspaper’s “books of the year” in 2011, and described as “poetry worthy of any list, and deserving of a wider audience” by Chris Davis of Oxford, who nominated it.  Why not buy a copy for yourself, and send copies as gifts for birthdays and Christmas?  It costs only £3 per copy and will be available in July 2014 – watch this space!

As always, none of the entrants in the Folio competition knows which poems John Greening has selected until this month’s meeting, so that always gives it an edge.

John Greening’s  work in poetry and prose is wide-ranging. He has worked in Egypt , in Scotland with Vietnamese boat people and is currently involved with a project involving Iceland during the Second World War. He has received many prizes, and is author of a dozen collections of poetry as well as critical writing and plays.  In this important anniversary of the First World War, John has produced a timely selection of poems entitled “To the War Poets”, including well-known German poets, as well as British. It was published by Carcanet in 2013.

Come and join us at the Camden Centre, Tunbridge Wells, beginning at 8pm. , for what promises to be a varied and interesting evening!

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