Danielle Hope



On October 18th. 2016 our visiting poet will be Danielle Hope.

Danielle has published four books of poetry – City FoxThe Stone Ship, Giraffe under a Grey Sky, and  Mrs Uomo’ Yearbook – all with Rockingham Press.  She is also published in a joint book of poetry and art,  Fairground of Madness, also by Rockingham Press, and her work has appeared widely in magazines and newspapers.  She translates Italian poetry, especially Eugenio Montale and Giovanni Pascoli.

She founded and edited Zenos, a magazine of British and International Poetry, edited the work of the Turkish poet, Feyyaz Fergar, was a Trustee of Survivors Poetry, is editorial advisor for the Literary Magazine, Acumen and helps in the Torbay Poetry Festival.

Her latest book Mrs Uomo’s Yearbook  is highlighted by the Poetry Book Society. It explores diverse modern and ancient worlds.  Some of her poems have been set to music, most recently the title poem of City Fox with music by James Harris and recently launched on Amazon.

We hope you will join us at 8.00pm in the Camden Centre to enjoy Danielle’s poetry.

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September 2016 – Mark Waldron

The summer is hurrying by, but our autumn season is starting with summer weather  still with us, and a welcome to Mark Waldron as our first guest reader.

Mark Waldron was born in New York in 1960 and grew up in London. He works in the advertising business and lives in East London with his wife and son. He began writing poetry in his early 40s. He published two collections with Salt, The Brand New Dark (2008) and The Itchy Sea (2011), and his third collection, Meanwhile, Trees, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016.

“Mark Waldron is like a magpie picking super-sophisticated mixtures of gold and dross from an immense linguistic landfill”  (The Guardian)


The evening begins at 8.00 pm, with an Open mic, so bring along those special poems for us to share.

See you on September 20th!  New members always welcome – come and meet us!

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Poetry Competition: First prize – £1000

The Society’s 2016/17 Open Poetry Competition is now open for entries. The adjudicator is Catherine Smith.

First Prize is £1000, and there are six other prizes. Closing date is 31 January 2017. You can enter on line or by post. Click on the Competition tab above for more details.

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Julian Stannard in June

Julian Stannard

Poet Details

On Tuesday 21st June we welcome Julian Stannard to the Camden Centre. Julian currently teaches at the University of Winchester. He writes for several national newspapers and his poems have won many prizes. To date he has four collections of his poetry.  His most recent collections include The Street of Perfect Love (Worple Press, 2014) and The Parrots of Villa Gruber Discover Lapis Lazuli(Salmon Poetry, 2011). He has written a study of Basil Bunting which was published by Northcote House in 2014.

There will be our regular open-mic spot at the start of the evening. Please bring along a poem. The meeting begins at 8pm.


Advance notice: the meeting on Tuesday 19th July will take place in Flimwell and will feature work from the collaborative poetry/art project Lace by Susan Wicks and Elizabeth Clayman.



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Congratulations to Phil Vernon!

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Phil is this year’s winner of the Keith Francis Bowl.  You will be able to read his winning poem in the Society’s Folio, which will be published later this year, along with the winning poems from our National Competition and the other members’ poems selected for the Folio by Nicholas Bielby.

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Nicholas Bielby and Folio Results

On Tuesday, 17th. Mbielbyay at 8 pm, Nicholas Bielby will announce the poems he has selected for inclusion in this year’s Folio before reading from his own poems.  If the writers of the chosen poems are present, they will be asked to read them, so we will have a variety of poetry for this popular annual event.

Prizewinning Nicholas is Editor of the excellent Pennine Platform as well as a poet in his own right. He has spent his life in education, both at home and abroad.  His latest book of poetry is The Naming of Things (Poetry Salzburg 2015).

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Prizewinning poems from our Open Competition 2016

First Prize:

Lunar by Patricia Wooldridge

I’m having one of my daisies –
hopscotch, throw and jump,
dive off the edge of a skullcap moon.

I can see what’s coming in the anteroom –
Are you the lady that wants to be
in the glasshouse?

Does she know about the telescope
in my ceiling? How all day the moon
crouches in the corner and I repeat:

I will not store my voice in a vase on the moon.

Did she catch me stealing the sea
shut tight in a tin with its crumble of rocks –
my beach on a dresser?

Open the lid and surf boils, shivers loose
on a wind-whip, flaking against my legs
and the land dissolves overnight on a tongue of sea.

Second Prize:

Fire in the Piano Warehouse by Owen Lewis

It is singing
As I always hoped
to make it sing

The woods give back their resins
to light and song and the metal
harps return to their basic elements
as if they themselves were composers.
The strings in high-note tension
ping back to their pure pitches.
The billows, the smoke, the firemen
ready their hoses but cannot douse
the inferno of this symphony
and the masters of the ghostly whirl
hold back the quenchers’ hands
and fill intoxicated lungs –

They can barely say:
We have never seen a piano burn
We have never seen a society
of pianos burning.

Third Prize:

Room One by Susan Utting

She tells herself: don’t listen to the judder and hum of something
switching on, the silence when it switches off; don’t try to guess
the reason for that bleached out patch of carpet, the choice
of gingham peplums, cut-plastic ceiling lights.

she’s in her own light – the mirror gives her back a clouded face,
mist-focussed features.  There is a touch of boutique in a tiny disc
of soap in tissue paper, sealed with a designer monogram, marked
best before November five years gone.

She tells herself: don’t think of windscreen wipers, taxidermy,
peep-holes, focus on the poppies on the coffee mugs, the way
they match the crimson painted walls, how delicate their stems:
forget the black of their daubed hearts.

She stares
at the fixed glass strip of a high window, too high to see
much out of, looks for the tops of trees, for any sort of sky.

Fourth Prizes:

The 22N Bus by Josh Ekroy

London rolls around bike superhighways
passes Festing Rd vultures waiting patiently
and I, finger-print withheld –
my future as thin as Parsons Green –
muster sleeping bag and iron rations.
Our tickets are from No More Bare Mountain,
top deck is a crowded dormitory of kicked
overcoats until the stairing of Big George
created seat space.  Now Edith Grove
is a speed-bump, asphalt-bone ride
on the deep road to intermittent.

Dave’s impervious newt eye catches
us all, before he turns over on the prized
back seat and passing rooms withhold
their curtain-chink.  My dream fevers
are vows made at Chelsea Old Town Hall;
unsleeping Uber evades the cold wind.
The no-beg zones are camera-crooned
along the Pont Street seats of dawn.
A cobalt wind lifts the world’s litter
as clouds patch our exodus.  Light draws
Corn Flakes; a shower back at the Centre.

Place Dauphine by Sandra Galton

For me there is a third person in this frame.  There always will be
an elderly couple shaking hands near to Le Palais de Justice, but
you were there, having got up early; you had gone out and caught
the morning light, the stillness – things you loved to record when
alone with your camera.  You had captured that special quality of
permanence you often felt there was – a rare magic.  In this square
old men would come out later to smoke, play petanque.  Another
day began then: the cafes, filled with people eating, lovers kissing
beneath the chestnut trees – you knew how it was once, the busy
life, being young.  You wished you could have frozen time there.

Life, being young – you wished you could have frozen time there
beneath the chestnut trees. You knew how it was once the busy
day began.  Then, the cafes filled with people eating, lovers kissing.
Old men would come out later to smoke, play petanque –  another
permanence.  You often felt there was a rare magic in this square.
Alone with your camera you had captured that special quality of
the morning light, the stillness – things you loved to record when
you were there.  Having got up early you had gone out and caught
an elderly couple shaking hands near to Le Palais de Justice – but
for me there is a third person in this frame.  There always will be.

Sturm und Drang by Stephen Boyce

So much wind, all bluster and rampage,
the pummelling of fists on the roof,
rain that hisses and would pit the glass,
trees shouldered aside, birds hurled askew.

The fallen chestnut, some seasons down,
occupies the space beside the footpath
like a slaughtered rhino, its grey carcass
sinks imperceptibly into the ground.

This is what we’ll come to, catching
the storm in a net, emptying the ocean
with a shell, lying down to die among
fallen lumber with the sound of the wind

rushing, the sound of surf pounding,
and rain, teeming, thrashing, teeming.

The Inn of the Good Samaritan by Lydia Harris

Danny and his boys from Westray set up their Portaloo.
White walls, Italian tiles for the foot-baths?

Craigie drags two buckets of rubble from the fountain
and the others clear the room.

At night the lights make mirrors in the row of pitchers,
warm the iron cup you can dip.  We lift our faces to the woman
with a band of coins on her forehead, who holds a cloth
to wipe the rim and dab our lips.

A pilgrim coach pulls up.
The pilgrims kick off their shoes, file past the bookstall
with its framed photos of a winter sky.  He clave rocks
in the wilderness, gave them drink as out of the great depths.

We make mint tea in glasses, offer it round with sachets of sugar.
You’d think yards of parachute silk had come alive in the courtyard
whenever the crickets stretch their legs and shake the gold from their wings.

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