Christmas Scoop – Luke Wright

Luke Wright (poet)

This month we close the year with a reading by the wonderful Luke Wright. Those who saw him read as part of the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival in the summer know just what a great poet and performer he is. Luke won the 2021 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Performer. The Guardian said “His performances rumble with rage, passion and humour. You will leave his show brimming with energy, heart-pounding and brain whirring”.

Luke Wright was born on 14 January 1982. He is a British poet, performer, publisher, curator and broadcaster.

Raised in northeast Essex, Wright started to write poetry at age 17, while a student at Colchester Sixth Form College. He was inspired after seeing Martin Newell and John Cooper Clarke perform.

He formed the poetry collective, Aisle16, with Ross Sutherland in 2000. Aisle16 created three poetry/theatre shows uses video and projections.

In 2006, Wright began creating solo shows of his poetry. By 2015, he had created nine. He is the author of several books and pamphlets.

In 2009, Wright set-up Nasty Little Press, an independent publishing house focusing on poets better known for their live performance work.

Luke’s latest collection ’The Feel-Good Movie of the Year’ is from Penned in the Margins.

Join us in celebrating Luke’s poetry on Tuesday, 21st. December at 8 o’clock. The reading will be preceded by a short Open Mic so you can hear what our members have been writing.

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Jennifer Wong

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Photo credit: Tai Ngai Long)

November’s guest poet, on the 16th., Jennifer Wong will be opening up our narrowed worlds to her different experience. Jennifer will be reading to us from her work after a short Open Mic session, starting at 8 o’clock.

Jennifer was born and grew up in Hong Kong and is now living in the UK. She is a writer and translator. Her new collection, 回家 Letters Home, published by Nine Arches Press in 2020, has been named a Wild Card choice by Poetry Book Society. She is also the author of Goldfish (Chameleon Press 2013) – which won the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Young Artist Award (Literary Arts) and a pamphlet, Diary of a Miu Miu Salesgirl (Bitter Melon Poetry 2019).

Her works have appeared in WasafiriWorld Literature Today, Under the Radar, The Rialto, Magma Poetry, The North, Oxford Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Finished Creatures, Harana Poetry, Asian Cha, Voice & VerseStand and others. Her translation has featured in Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Washington Square Review and Pathlight.

Her poems have been included in anthologies such as Wretched Strangers: Transnational Poetry anthology (Boiler House Press, 2018), Project Boast anthology, The Birdbook: Saltwater and Shore (Sidekick Books, 2016), Eight Hong Kong Poets (Chameleon Press, 2016), Lung Jazz: Young British Poets (Cinnamon Press 2012), World Record: An Anthology (Bloodaxe Books 2012), Outloud Too (MCCM Creations 2014) and Becoming Poets: The Asian English Experience (Peter Lang 2014).

She has reviewed poetry and fiction for journals including Poetry Review, Poetry London, Asian Review of Books, Cha, Magma Poetry, and Sabotage Reviews.

She was the runner-up in the Bi’an Writers Awards in 2018. In 2014, she received the Young Artist Award (Literary Arts) from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Wong studied English at University College, Oxford and received an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia (UEA). She has a PhD in creative writing from Oxford Brookes University where she is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing. She teaches at Poetry School and also works as a tutor. She has worked as writer-in-residence for Wasafiri magazine in 2020-21. 

(Photo credit: Tai Ngai Long)

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Carrie Etter

Another treat is in store for poetry lovers this month with a presentation from Carrie Etter on October 19th.

Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and is Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Weather in Normal (UK: Seren; US: Station Hill, 2018), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Individual poems have appeared in The New Republic, The New Statesman, The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Poetry Review, The TLS, and many other journals and anthologies. She also writes short fiction, essays, and reviews.

Carrie has also been a judge for our Open Competition.

Join us for Open Mic at 8.00 pm, followed by Carrie’s reading, in what is sure to be a stimulating evening of poetry once again.

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Robert Hamberger

Rpbert Hamberger starts off our new season
We are delighted to welcome Robert Hamberger as our guest poet for September.

Robert Hamberger has been shortlisted and highly commended for Forward prizes, appearing in the Forward Book of Poetry 2020. He has been awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship; his poetry has been featured as the Guardian Poem of the Week and in British, American, Irish and Japanese anthologies. He has published six poetry pamphlets and four full-length collections. Blue Wallpaper (published by Waterloo Press) was shortlisted for the 2020 Polari Prize. His prose memoir with poems A Length of Road: finding myself in the footsteps of John Clare was published by John Murray in June 2021.
The evening will begin at 8.00 pm on September 21st. with an Open Mic, so bring along your latest poem to share with us, and enjoy another feast of poetry.

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Crime, by Steve Walter

This poem by Society member Steve Walter was selected for Folio #74, published in 2020


My Dad was a policeman.
My Dad was a poet.
My Dad was a policeman-poet.

The set homework that night
was to write my first poem that rhymed.
Dad taught me rhythm, taught me rhyme.

He came up with murder:

He banged her head
Against the wall
And then stood back
To watch her fall.

Imagine my relief
when I learnt that poems
don’t have to rhyme at all.

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David Morley

Author Photo of David Morley, credit Claire McNamee
Photo Credit: Claire McNamee

We are delighted to welcome impressive poet David Morley as our guest on Tuesday, June 15th. We are still on Zoom, maybe not for much longer! The meeting begins at 8.00pm and will start with an Open Mic. We hope you will join us in a celebration of David’s poetry and poetry in general.

David Morley is a poet and ecologist. He won the Ted Hughes Award for The Invisible Gift: Selected Poems, the judges commenting, ‘Ted Hughes wrote about the natural magical and mythical world; The Invisible Gift is a natural successor’.

His Carcanet collections include The Magic of What’s There, The Gypsy and the Poet, Enchantment and The Invisible Kings. He co-edited The New Poetry for Bloodaxe Books, edited The Gift: New Writing for the NHS, and Carcanet published his edition of Charles Tomlinson’s Selected Poems.

He is known, too, for his poetry installations within natural landscapes: ‘slow poetry’ sculptures and I-Cast poetry films; and he has served as a judge for several literary prizes such as the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Foyle Young Poets.

David wrote the bestselling The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing and co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Creative Writing. His podcasts on creative writing have been some of the most successful in their field. He is now Professor of Creative Writing at Warwick University.

David is a winner of a Cholmondeley Award and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.

Whet your appetite on the internet – there are lots of fascinating reviews, poems and readings to introduce you to David’s poetry if you have not met him before.

See you soon!

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Cityscape, by Steve Walter

This poem by Society member Steve Walter was selected for Folio #74, published in 2020


All summer, falling in love with the city
as if it were dying…

Autumn, and you have slept
through the echo of sirens

half-aware of buildings hundreds of years old,
of vaulted stone, cathedrals breathing,

reflections in shop windows, of him
threading his way through your skin.

Bucks Fizz for breakfast, thick pile carpet
between your toes, before

lunch at The Ivy, passing by empty coffee cups
held out for coins.

Your secrets left in the bedroom,
climbing to the moon,

the muffled rush of traffic, Westminster Abbey,
royalty beneath flagstones,

the shift of populations – their story
plays, until the needle hits the label, and scrapes.

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The Waiting Room, by Phil Vernon

This poem by Society member Phil Vernon was published in Folio #74 in 2020

The waiting room

Inside the room, I find two men:
one writes all he observes in words
that writhe and worm in argument;
the second feels and forms a world
with simple strokes of brush or pen.

I wish to know the first man’s thoughts,
but all I find is darkness – so
I look towards the other sort:
all turns to white like quiet snow,
and that is why this poem’s short.

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Charabanc to Marrakesh, by Bob Spencer

This poem, by Society member Bob Spencer, was selected for Folio #74, published in 2020.

Charabanc to Marrakesh

I could have gone by ’plane.
A few days would have seen me
in the mud brick house
of the camel rustler
and his hidden woman,
her eyes black lanterns
among the bright cloth.

Instead, I dug a charabanc
out of the mud at Seasalter beach
near Whitstable, where oysters muster
to be frisked for illegal pearls.

Restoration took time.
Five years and forty two days
for rust to gleam, bent to straighten,
flat to inflate and the dead to spark to life.

Then Dover and on to Orleans, Limoges
Toulouse, Zaragoza, Madrid, Cordoba,
the rainbow tanneries of Fez,
Casablanca and finally… Marrakesh.

The city did not disappoint.
The charabanc drew crowds,
the suq emptied,
gold, crimson and emerald cloths,
pungent spices, hand crafted silverware,
all abandoned, left unattended,
just for a view of the shining resurrection
from the Kentish mud.

I found the camel rustler
and lodged in his mud brick house,
a short throw from the walls
of the el-Badi palace.
During the day I polished the charabanc.
In the evenings we ate on the flat roof
under stars spilled over the sky like sherbet
and listened to the palms
dusting their leaves in the faintest of breezes.
At night I thought about his woman
and her eyes that said nothing

and everything.

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Di Slaney and the Folio Winners!

Our May meeting is one we are looking forward to , when Di Slaney will announce the poems chosen for the Folio this year, the prizewinners will be celebrated and she will give us a reading from her own poetry.

The evening will start at 8.00pm with the Folio announcements and comments on the submissions by our multi-talented judge, Di Slaney. If the poets are at the Zoom meeting, we will hear their poems read out by the writers. The second half of the evening will focus on Di Slaney’s poetry reading. Definitely an evening to enjoy.

Di Slaney is a prize-winning poet and runs Candlestick Press. She also runs The Manor Farm Charitable Trust, with rare breed and rescued farm animals. Her poems have been published in Poetry Wales, Popshot, Magma, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House and Brittle Star. She has been twice shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and Plough Prize, and highly commended in the Forward Prizes.  Di’s pamphlet Dad’s Slideshow was published by Stonewood Press in 2015 and her first and second collections Reward for Winter and Herd Queen by Valley Press in 2016 and 2020.  She has been poet in residence at Nottinghamshire Local History Association.

Mara Bergman is the organiser of our Folio competition. The poems will be published in hard copy in our Annual Folio number 75!

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