The competition has now closed. A big ‘thank you’ to all who entered. The results will be announced in April, and the winning poems posted on the website and published in our annual Folio. Watch this space!
We were delighted to welcome Jon Stone to Tunbridge Wells Camden Centre this month. Born in Derby, Jon studied in Norwich and now lives in Whitechapel. He gave us a lively reading, with wit and humour, as well as intensely personal and vivid, sensuous writing. His poetry covers a wide range of wonderfully inventive imagery – “a ganglion of utterance” – and he concerns himself with the structure and architecture of poetry, as well as showing breadth of imagination. Jon also explored the in-between elements of mud, dust, steam and ash, and read to us some very blue poetry, inspired by digging into the medieval Welsh tradition.
Jon’s collection “School of Forgery” in which 10 different personae come together in a wide variety of voices, including a night watchman and a female honorologist, is published by Salt.
What a pity there was such a small audience for such an excellent young poet.
On Tuesday 18th February we host a reading from the prolific and highly acclaimed Jon Stone. Jon has been twice commended in the National Poetry Competition. He had three pamphlets published in the same year (2010) before Salt brought out his well deserved first full collection School of Forgery in 2011. For a preview of Jon Stone check out Poets for Pussy Riot on Youtube.
The reading will be preceded by our short AGM which begins 8pm at the Camden Centre in Tunbridge Wells.
2014 got off to a splendid start with a trio of poets reading at the Camden Centre, giving us a very varied menu of poetry. Jemma was the winner of our 2012 Open Competition, and is working on her first collection. Garry Ely has been a member for a long time, even though he now lives in Oxford, and members will have read many of his poems in our folios, in which he appears regularly. His moving collection “Angel Visits” has been published by Pindrop Press. Margaret Beston has developed a thriving poetry community in Tonbridge, and her collection “Long Reach River” is produced by Indigo Dreams. Lots of striking images impressed in these readings – the beautiful pathetic fallacy of snow “suffocating the windows”, the “knuckles of flint” and a river “churning stars in its belly” …
Will you be this year’s competition winner? Entries must be received by Jan 31st., so you will need to be sending them off very soon. Good luck.
On Tuesday 14th. December we will be celebrating at the Camden Centre with a celebration of Keith Francis’ poetry. There will be readings of some of his poems, and his collection, The Greengrocer’s Apostrophe, will be available. The prizewinner of the folio competition, Mary Gurr, will be presented with our new glass trophy, created in Keith’s honour as our much-missed secretary and fellow poet. There will also be a fun quiz. Refreshments provided, as usual!
Remember, too, that our closing date for the 2014 competition is at the end of January, with a top prize of £1000 – so focus on your writing after Christmas and give our judge, Pascale Petit, your impressive poems to read.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
Our Tuesday meeting at the Camden Centre on November 19 welcomes 2 poets with first collections under their belts: Dick Jones and Hilda Sheehan. This should prove to be a lively evening, with 2 very contrasting voices. We also welcome poems from the floor in our sessions and interval drinks are provided. Come along and join us!
About the writers: Hilda Sheehan
Hilda Sheehan is a writer and arts events organiser based in Swindon. She was born in 1967 in High Wycombe and grew up in Leyland, Lancashire. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the Open University. She has been a psychiatric nurse and Montessori teacher and is now co-editor of Domestic Cherry magazine with Michael Scott, She also works for Swindon Artswords (Literature Development) and the Swindon Festival of Poetry. Her poetry has been published in The Rialto, Poetry Salzburg Review, Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter’s House, Artemis Poetry, National Poetry Society Website (Commendation NPC 2000), The New Writer, South, BBC website, Commonhead, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Kim Moore’s Sunday Poem, Josephine Corcoran’s And Other Poems, Ariadne’s Thread, Incandescent.
Hilda won a Poetry Can South West Poetry Award in October 2013 for her work in poetry development in the south west.
Her first collection of poetry, The Night My Sister Went to Hollywood, offers poems on love, exhaustion, classic movies, supermarket shopping and seals in the bathtub.
“A joyful, freewheeling poetry that showcases a surreal wit worn with a lightness that can only be achieved through a firm grip on her craft and a sure habitation of her magically real neighbourhood. This is a collection that licks its hanky and scrubs the muck from your chops.” Myra Schneider
Initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats, Dick Jones has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of 15.
Dick’s work has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review, and in several print anthologies, including Sing Freedom! (Amnesty International), Brilliant Coroners (Phoenicia Publishing), and Words of Power (qarrtsiluni/Phoenicia). His chapbook, Wavelengths, was a finalist in the 2009 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest, and he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 for his poem, “Sea of Stars.”
In addition to thirty-five years of teaching drama in progressive schools, Dick Jones has been an avid musician all his life, playing bass guitar in rock, blues, and folk bands. He lives outside London with his wife and children, and blogs at Dick Jones’ Patteran Pages.
Dick Jones’ first book-length collection, Ancient Lights, published in 2012, contains 59 poems selected from the years between 1986 and 2012. Named for the autobiographical poems which begin the book and recall the author’s birth during WWII and his early memories, “Ancient Lights” is both a window into the poet’s own world, and one through which we are invited to look at our own lives and relationships.