Meeting Notes 2010

Workshop combined with New Year Party

Rose led the evening which began with drinks and nibbles and a reading of established New Year poems. Rose then introduced a workshop exercise on clustering which led to focussing on one of the words generated and using that as a take off point for writing. The workshop poems were inspired by a turtle, snowdrops, the wrong time, an old wall and clearing out. The discussion was lively and thoughtful.

4th January 2010

Poetry and Childhood

Poetry and Childhood
25th January 2010

Authur Hugh Clough

Authur Hugh Clough
22nd February 2010

Jo Shapcott

Jo Shapcott
29th March 2010

Poetry of Birds

Poetry of Birds
26th April 2010

Celebrating Surrey Workshop

The theme of Celebrating Surrey was explored and discussed. Writing brought to the session included poems on walking in Surrey, on the River Mole and on Holmbury St Mary.

7th June 2010

Poetry Reading at Bookham Library

Part of the meeting on Monday 28th June was spent in preparation for the Bookham Library Poetry Reading which was on the following day, Tuesday 29th June. There was also a brief business meeting and a workshop session.

Marilyn led the very successful Poetry Reading at Bookham Library. During the first part of the evening, Mole Valley Poets read from the group's latest anthology "Light Shines Through". Poets from the floor were then invited to read. An interval break for refreshments followed. After this everyone in the audience was encouraged to write their own "list" poem and some of these were shared. The evening was brought to a close with Mole Valley Poets reading poems written on the theme "Celebrating Surrey".

Our thanks to the library staff who provided the venue, and looked after us. And thanks to Marilyn for liaising with the library on our behalf and managing the evening so well.

29th June 2010

Poetry and Philosophy

Tony Marcoff began with a haiku by Diana Webb:

Reading Meister Eckhart
by the river,

This was followed by Shakespeare's Hamlet speech from Act II scene II beginning "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties," and then Coleridge's Biographia Literaria Ch XII which describes the philosophic imagination as that which understands the symbol of the wings of the air-sylph forming within the skin of the caterpillar.

In Wordsworth's 'Animal Tranquility and Decay', a man moves with thought, with long patience and is led to peace so perfect the young behold him with envy and yet he hardly feels this peace as it is so much a part of him.

Blake, who was influenced by Swedenborg, is aware of an inner universe and in an extract from 'Vala or the Four Zoas' asks "What is the price of Experience?". He considers that everything that lives is holy, everyone is their own king.

Nietzsche in 'The Intoxicated Song' from 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' expresses the rapture of being alive and says that 'joy wants the eternity of all things'. He considers that 'You have to have chaos inside you if you are to give birth to a dancing star'.

Rilke in the ninth of 'Duino Elegies' talks of how neither childhood nor future grows any less in him and ends 'Unaccountable being / springs up in my heart'.

Wallace Stevens in 'The Idea of Order at Key West' tells of the voice of a singer who imposes order onto the chaos of the sea and of how it was the spirit that was sought. This is in accordance with Keat's idea of negative capability when man is capable of being in uncertainties and mysteries without reaching for fact and reason.

Stephen Romer in 'Of Poetic Knowledge' tells of 'the opening of space / when a late blackbird sings' and 'years, / like crimson in the west'.

TS Eliot in 'The Four Quartets' has home as the place 'where one starts from' and 'a time for evening under starlight' and 'Love is most nearly itself / When here and now cease to matter' and then 'In my end is my beginning'. Dimensions are borrowed one from the other.

Dryden in 'Happy the man' describes how 'He who can call today his own' and so lives fully in the present is not troubled by the future or by the past as 'what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.'

Tony then lead a reading of his poem 'voices : a genesis' which was inspired by the line 'she sang beyond the genius of the sea' by Wallace Stevens. This is a poem for three voices who are telling of the singer and then describing the song.

Tony drew on anecdote & gift as well as poetry & philosophy and the evening was enjoyable, informative & illuminating.

26th July 2010


6th September 2010

The Sonnet - Literary constraint or contemporary challenge?

The subject of this evening's presentation was "THE SONNET Literary constraint or contemporary challenge?" given by Rose Wagner. Rose began by giving a definition of the sonnet, discussed form, metre, rhyme -scheme and subject matter. She then went on to the challenge of marrying form with content and gave examples of sonnets from the Sixteenth century to the present day, incorporating work by Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth Hopkins, Larkin, Charles Simic, Billy Collins and Seamus Heaney... It became clear from reading these poems that, although still a fourteen line poem , the sonnet has become much freer in form in recent times and rhyme and rhythm are used with greater variety. The relaxation of the rules could provide an incentive to those who have come to think of the sonnet as too restrictive a form to express their ideas. The talk was interesting, well-developed and researched and all those present found it enjoyable and informative S.H.

27th September 2010

Poetry Pub, with music by John Clachan

Poetry Pub 2010 was held in the Lincoln Arms, Dorking and proved to be an enjoyable and convivial open mike session. There was a wide range of poetry from distinctive voices in Mole Valley Poets and from visitors. John Clachan provided music which complemented the poetry and enhanced the enjoyment of the evening.

4th October 2010

Sofa Poet: Katherine Gallagher

Katharine Gallagher gave an inspiring and enjoyable reading. She stressed the importance of accessibility of poetry. She emphasised the need for poets to discuss their work with other ambitious writers.

Poetry is a journey and it is important to read other peoples' work and to do and go to readings.

Katharine described herself as a poet of place and there is a tension in living in two countries - Australia where she grew up and Britain where she lives now. All poets are oustsiders.

Truth is told in poetry but can be told slant - perhaps by using another voice, maybe male or female, or by using the mask of a entirely different character.

Metaphor brings a poem to life. Other works of art can provide ideas for ekphratic poetry.

Reading poetry sharpens the eye and enables better recognition of what it is that distinguishes poetry from prose.

Writing is about freedom. The reading continued with writing exercises for the audience which were imaginative and enabling.

The evening was a liberating and joyful experience.

25th October 2010

Poetry at Star Pub, West Street, Dorking

Mole Valley Poets, committed to taking poetry into the local community, hosted an enthusiastic evening of poetry at The Star Pub in Dorking. Poetry was both read and written that same night on topics ranging from the Royal engagement to Christmas. It was great to see such a turnout of Mole Valley word-smiths including a rapper from Box Hill. We were especially pleased that the exercises that Mole Valley Poets facilitated helped some people to write and recite their first poems. Our thanks go to The Star for its ongoing support of creativity

23rd November 2010

Poetry and Jazz

Poetry and Jazz, Tony Earnshaw
29th November 2010