Temporary suspension of monthly meetings

In the current situation, we will not be able to hold our monthly celebrations of poetry in the Vittle and Swig, but we will be holding them remotely by Zoom, for members only. An email will be sent out to members with the details ahead of each meeting.

Meantime, we are also going ahead with our monthly workshops on the first Tuesday of each month, also by Zoom. Members interested to take part should contact Eileen Morrissey at lobbed@btinternet.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tea at Furlongs, By John Arnold

John now lives in Suffolk, but remains an active member of the Society as he has been for many years. This poem was selected for inclusion in Folio #72 in 2018.

Tea at Furlongs
1939. After Eric Ravilious, 1903-1942

Even as I painted, I knew
it was about to end:

the tea things laid for two 
on your garden table;

beyond the old flint wall,
a field of corn ripe for harvest.

The Southdown scarp reared up
into a still blue sky,

but read like a world up-ended,
its contents sliding into hell.

We clung on while we could.
I panicked, cheated Tirzah,

screwed Helen then Di.
But now those days are spent...

Dear Peggy, when you write
please lie, convince me

that the corn is still ungathered
and the table's set for tea. 
 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Turkish Delight, by Mary Gurr

This poem, by Society member, local artist and writer Mary Gurr, came third in the Folio competition and was published in the Society’s Folio #72 in 2018.

Turkish Delight 

Weaving in and out between
the multifarious eating palaces
on Lark Lane, I settle on Majool - 

dome-shaped copper candle holders
standing proud on turquoise lace
encrusted with pearls

and everything embellished,
drums, balalaikas, my belly propelled
into surreptitious rolls and flicks.
I order hummus and fat black
olives, seduce my senses back
to their old voluptuousness

and finish with Baklava, its sweet
lush sticky on my lips.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Clevedon Cliff, by Val Reason

Val Reason is a member of the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society who lives in Skewen, in South Wales. This poem was selected for publication in our Folio # 73 in 2019.

Clevedon Cliff

We walk to a tree
poised like a salt-grained statue,
limbs thrust inward
windward trunk to sea.
Its splay-toed roots hold firm
cancelling strain.

The wind-worn stance defies its age
showing tireless grit.
Around it, sea-thrift
like chorus in an ancient play,
bows approval
with pink-clustered heads.

Wind-swept we leave,
seeking shelter in the car.
And watching now I hope
the need to hold
will show itself in me
faced with storms to come. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Katrina Naomi

On 16th. June starting at 8.00pm you can join us on Zoom for a virtual visit by Katrina Naomi.

Katrina Naomi was born and raised in Margate, Kent and lives in Cornwall.

Her third full collection, Wild Persistence, is just out, published by Seren on 1 June.

Katrina’s poetry has been published in The TLS, on Poems on the Underground and broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. She was the first writer-in-residence at the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

She tutors for Arvon, the Poetry School and Ty Newydd, and runs Poetry Surgeries for the Poetry Society.

She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths (her research is on violence in contemporary poetry).

Her poetry has been highly commended in the Forward Prizes and she has received commissions from the BBC, Imperial College and the Turner Contemporary. 

Katrina recently received an an Authors’ Foundation award from the Society of Authors for her work on Wild Persistence.

We look forward to hearing Katrina read and there will be an Open Mic at the beginning of the meeting.

Hope you will be there!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Day Begins, by Jill Ruddock

This poem by our member Jill Ruddock was selected and published in Folio #73, in 2019.

A DAY BEGINS

The fog lies drowsily over the town,
smudging the sharp shapes
of the steeples and spires.

Dampness glues the fallen leaves
to the gum-mottled pavement,
their autumnal gold soon to fade.

Nothing breaks the silence
as the town nestles, embraced
by the opaque dawn.

A wordless group huddles, waiting
for their transport to warmth and rest,
their night's work complete.

Then an unseen switch is tripped,
lights come on one by one.
Cars and buses appear,
people walk the streets. 
The day begins. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hastings Sojourn, by Charlie Bell

Charlie Bell is a writer, poet and creative writing tutor. He has written several local history books, a distance learning course on Creative Writing for the Regent Academy, and authored or edited 25 books for Hodder & Stoughton in their Beginner’s Guide to Literature series. His poems have been widely published. He is also Chair of the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival (sadly now cancelled for this year due to COVID-19). Hastings Sojourn appeared in our Poetry Folio #73 in 2019.

Hastings Sojourn

I went to be alone, but you were everywhere.
In the very pebbles where we often walk,
in the fishing boats, and net shacks,
in Love Café and the Kino,
in the crying gulls and the whispering wash.
You were in the multi-coloured underground car park
and the smugglers' caves and castle.
I found you at the Jerwood and in George Street
and at the crazy golf.
The kids and grandkids were there too,
their memories threaded with ours.
Wherever I went you were imprinted there,
countless years of pleasure and escape
wrapped in chip paper, marked by endless cups of coffee.
I walked and walked, and the more solitary I became,
the more you kept me company and eased my pain.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Anna’s Party, By Clive Eastwood

Each year we hold an internal competition for Society members, in which an independent judge selects poems for our annual Folio magazine. This year’s judge was well-known poet Judy Brown, who chose Anna’s Party by our long-time member and ex-Chair, Clive Eastwood as the winning poem. Clive is thus the 2020 recipient of the lovely Keith Francis vase. Folio #74 will be printed in the autumn.

ANNA’S PARTY

It goes wrong at the front door:
the woman who answers isn’t the one
who invited me. I explain who I am
but she’s still unsure, watches me
over the threshold then disappears.

I admire the brace of pictures
plus the space between them, guess
at the hallway’s considerable height
then put my coat on the naked table
and choose a door. On the other side,

amongst the beautiful people,
a man with wine in both hands
tells me he shoots, adding “films”
with a practised laugh. He owns
“a little place in Umbria” and a few

is that so‘s and really‘s keep him going
through a double refill. Twice
the door-opener walks past
and I make as if the shooter and I
go back a long way – but her nostrils

tremble like a suspicious dog’s.
When il direttore takes a breath
I excuse myself, scribble “To Anna,
it was fun, shame I missed you.”
and leave unseen so the welcomer
can worry all night where I am. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mona Arshi on Zoom

So we can’t meet up at the Vittle & Swig, but some of us can get together with Mona Arshi on Zoom on 19th. May 2020 at 8.00 p.m., with an Open Mic session at the beginning. This meeting will only be open to members, unfortunately, and you will need to register your interest in reading a poem in the Open Mic with our Chairman, who will be running the meeting. He will be in touch soon.

Mona Arshi is a poet and human rights lawyer. She won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection with Small Hands (2015), and her second collection, Dear Big God, was published in 2019.

Mona was born in 1970 to Punjabi Sikh parents in West London and grew up in Hounslow. She worked for a decade as a lawyer for the human rights charity Liberty UK, acting on many high profile cases, including that of the ‘right-to-die’ campaigner, Diane Pretty, asylum destitution cases and death in custody cases.
She began writing poetry in 2008 and then went on study creative writing (Poetry) at the University of East Anglia (MA Creative Writing, 2010). Whilst she was studying for her masters she won first prize in the inaugural Magma poetry competition for her poem ‘Hummingbird’. She then went on to become prize winner in the Troubadour International Competition in 2013 for her poem ‘Bad Day in the Office’. In 2014 she was joint winner in the Manchester creative writing competition with a portfolio of five poems. Her collections “Small Hands” (2015) and “Dear Big God” (2019) are published by Pavilion Poetry, a new poetry press from the Liverpool University Press under the editorship of Deryn Rees Jones.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Turkeys, by Lydia Hill

Lydia is a member of the Society whose poem Turkeys was selected for the 2018 Folio, Number 72.

TURKEYS

A flock of fussing aunts,
heads swivelling, they cross the yard,
suspecting something.

The killing pen is draped with black
in the dark the turkeys are quiet;
one by one he takes them,
in his hands they do not flap. 

Head first plunge into padded cone
peashooter shot, slash, thrashing,
his last service, to hold the upturned feet.

He hangs them on hooks
we pluck quickly, before they cool,
feathers every shade of bronze, gold
the breast beneath sensuous,
quill like wing feathers require pliers
pores ooze juice onto sore fingers
speck-of-pepper mites crawl.

Before we fetch the next batch
he takes down the plucked,
they must not see, he says.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Near the Footpath, by Geraldine Cousins

Geraldine Cousins is a member of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society who lives in Hampshire. This poem was selected for Folio #73, published in 2019.

Near the Footpath

Dividing Hamlyn's fields from Day's
among a rank growth of cornstalks
sweet clover and stubble
one of the boys saw metal
sticking out from the earth
like a whale's fin.

With their feet and sticks and stones
they gradually unearthed
a large mound of mud-caked mystery.
A dead weight to carry home.

Again in my mind, I saw the field
as once it had been - packed with people.
Go and stuff your plough
you stingy old scoundrel
someone shouted at me
in my working clothes all darned and patched
my hopper round my neck for a scrip
with a bushel of rye inside

All afternoon 
the two brothers sat on the grass in the sun
their voices murmuring through open windows
as they chiselled away at leaden clay
to find at last a hundred-year-old 
iron ploughshare.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto
a treasure hid in a field.

Quotations from: Piers Plowman, William Langland. 

Matthew chapter 13. v44

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized