On December 15th. we are delighted to have Malika coming to read to us. The meeting starts at 8.00 pm and will begin with Open Mic, as usual. It should prove an inviting chance to spend time together this midwinter, celebrating poetry, even if the screen divides us.
Malika Booker is is an international writer whose work is steeped in anthropological research methodology and is rooted in storytelling. She co-founded Malika’s Poetry Kitchen in 2001 to create a nourishing and encouraging community of writers dedicated to the development of their writing craft. Now a firmly established writers’ collective based in London, it offers bi-weekly writers’ surgeries and has supported writers including Inua Ellams, Warsan Shire and Aoife Mannix, with guest tutors including Kwame Dawes, Fred D’Aguiar and Bernardine Evaristo.
Malika won the Forward prize this year for the best single Poem for “The Little Miracles”, and last year received a Cholmondley Award for her outstanding contribution to poetry. Her first collection, Pepper Seed, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize. She is a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow at the University of Leeds.
Bob Spencer is a local farmer and a member of the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society. This poem was selected for our Folio #72 in 2018.
Looking Round The Wall
not sure where cairo perhaps
a veil-faint moon
a blue window
on a flat oiled slab
arches an open doorway
from a dead man’s ritual
rag baggery of shacks
places in amagio
to a sky wrenched open
hillside light meets dark
cattle grazing leafless trees
clawing the day
miss muffet weeping
with bordered cloth
patches dipped in Timbuctoo
sold in tunbridge wells
eve’s fruit mouldering
in a woven basket
town mist ugly windows
street seller harrowing cod
from yesterday’s trawler
by an ominous doorway
to what is not nice
a lake a reflecting tower
a naked woman
gazing at glow worms
the moon her life force
to the profound dull tunnel
David is the Chair of the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society. This poem was selected by our external judge for publishing in our 2020 anthology, Folio #74
Not a moment, but an aeon of pain,
surging from beneath, lurching from within.
We cry in tandem as you burst forth,
surfing the tide of my blackened blood.
You are searching for your own first breath,
you are the beauty I will love to death.
This is our first and final parting,
the start of separation and end of cohesion.
Now you are gone from my bloated body,
no longer my bones and blood but your own.
Your naked fragility fuels my anxiety,
I weep for every future failure you will face.
After birth, there is only motherhood:
not a moment, but an aeon of pain.
John is a long-standing member of the Society, who now lives in East Anglia but still joins our events by Zoom. This poem came second in the Folio competition in 2019, and was published in Folio 73.
Chargerafter a screen print by Zsophia Schweger
at the RA summer exhibition 2018
she's left her charger
I am alone in this bare pastel house
with nothing but her charger
its wire straggles on the floor
seeking an absent phone
but this is a comfort
it means she'll return
if only to retrieve her charger
Sophie Herxheimer is our November guest and will be reading to our Zoom audience on November 17th. The meeting starts at 8.00 pm as usual.
Sophie is an artist and a poet. She has held residencies for LIFT, Museum of Liverpool, The Migration Museum and Transport for London. Exhibitions include The Whitworth, Tate Modern, The Poetry Library and The National Portrait Gallery.
She has illustrated five fairy tale collections, made several artists books, created a 300 metre tablecloth to run the length of Southwark Bridge, featuring hand printed food stories from a thousand Londoners; narrated an episode of The FoodProgramme from Margate, made a life size concrete poem in the shape of Mrs Beeton sited next to her grave, and a pie big enough for seven drama students to jump out of, singing, on the lawn of an old people’s home. An ongoing project is collecting stories live in ink from members of the public.
Recent publications include: Your Candle Accompanies the Sun,(Henningham Family Press, 2017) Velkom to Inklandt (Short Books, 2017) and (with Chris McCabe) The Practical Visionary published by Hercules Editions. Her latest collection is 60 Loversto Make and Do, with Henningham Family Press.
Come along and enjoy a gourmet feast from Sophie this month!
Non-members are welcome and can use our Paypal link for the tiny fee of £3.
Clive was for many years chairman of the Society. This poem was published in Folio #72 in 2018.
Blackbird chases Thrush
through the flowerbed;
they share a family name
but don't get on.
That's the thing
with taxonomy; it finds
two small bones that match
and you're linked forever.
Take a funeral:
the strangers who coagulate
after the event - aunts,
confused whose sons we are,
nephews who've grown a foot
or grey since Gran was eighty,
cousins claiming to be soul-mates
and with whom
we swear to stay in touch
as we did when - what's he called -
their second-born was named.
We wrap a wing around each one,
insist they call
the minute there's a chance
and hone our beaks
in case they have the cheek.
The Gebelein Man, by Kent and Sussex Poetry Society member Clare Marsh, a writer of children’s fiction, short stories, flash fiction and poetry, was selected in our 2020 Folio competition for publication in Folio #74.Clare graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent in 2018. She can be found on Facebook at claremarshwriter1
The Gebelein Man
In the Early Egypt Gallery,
preserved in sand, a young man
from south of Thebes, lies crouched
face-down in a glass cube. Surrounded
by prying eyes, he covers his face
with clasped hand in a staged burial pit -
defenceless as any caged animal.
I want to cover his naked body
with a blanket of softest wool
Displayed over a hundred years,
dubbed Ginger for his poignant tufts
of red curls, clustered on his leathered scalp.
His given name belatedly dropped due to
ethical concerns about the treatment of the dead.
The British Museum invites me instead
to take part in a touch screen
interactive learning experience
to explore inside Gebelein Man
on a virtual autopsy table. Allows me,
and a crowd of giggling school children,
to slice through CT scan layers - skin, muscle, organs -
to reveal his skeleton and discover the fatal
stab wound in his back.
After the Human Tissue Act 2004, the British Museum developed apolicy for the respectful handling and display of human remains.