Tuesday, 12 November 2013


I’m afraid this is a difficult communication. I don’t feel I can carry on with the group any longer. I have a relationship with poetry which is rapidly slipping away, for various reasons. The crunch with regard to the group came when I contemplated the workshop session next month: I realised I couldn’t submit or write anything for this. I am withdrawing from my activities in London and online at the same time. I must somehow just stop and reappraise.

Self-evidently you can carry on and thrive without me, and I am glad to have set up the group. The next session is on Wednesday, December 4, and was arranged as a workshop, with group members bringing poems (if they wish connected with seasonal themes), for close examination by the group.
The group will need some person as secretary, convenor whatever, willing to notify the members each month. If anyone cares to volunteer, I will pass on the list of emails/addresses (though most on the list are no longer active). There will also need to be some responsibility for publicity for more public events. The dates for the first half of 2014 have been confirmed, with some necessary alterations because of events at the Rhodes Centre:

  • February 5 International Night – poems from as many countries as possible, in original language and in translation - we will need volunteers to read poems or to bring in friends who can
  • Tuesday, March 4  Planning for Stort Poetry booklet + poems on theme of “Childhood”
  • Wednesday, April 9  Narrative Poems – sharing and discussing our favourites
  • May 7 Visiting Poet – PP to carefully arrange – haven’t!
  • June 4 Poetry writing “en plein air” - where to be decided!
  • July 2 Launch of Stort Poetry booklet -I’d suggest a reading, friends & family invited of course, and possibly even with a visiting poet, but we will plan all this beforehand

My contact at The Rhodes Centre has been Elizabeth Basey – but she is now on maternity leave. She suggested contact with James Bates <JBates@rhodesbishopsstortford.org.uk>; it might be useful to check the summer dates nearer the time.

So, I’m sorry – my whole relationship with poetry has shifted, as I said, and I just cannot face this any more.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Two Perfect Poems

in their different ways, and with all their necessary imperfections:

Hart Crane, Voyages II
—And yet this great wink of eternity,
Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,   
Samite sheeted and processioned where   
Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,   
Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love;

Take this Sea, whose diapason knells   
On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,
The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends   
As her demeanors motion well or ill,   
All but the pieties of lovers’ hands.

And onward, as bells off San Salvador   
Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,
In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,—
Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal,
Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.

Mark how her turning shoulders wind the hours,   
And hasten while her penniless rich palms   
Pass superscription of bent foam and wave,—
Hasten, while they are true,—sleep, death, desire,   
Close round one instant in one floating flower.

Bind us in time, O Seasons clear, and awe.   
O minstrel galleons of Carib fire,
Bequeath us to no earthly shore until
Is answered in the vortex of our grave
The seal’s wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.

William Carlos Williams, Spring and All I

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the

northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change

has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

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Poems Getting near the Limit

I think these are excellent poems, imaginative & inventive. But I can sympathise if you think they aren't poems, or not worthwhile poems. They are all from Jeff Hilson's anthology, The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality Street Editions, 2008). The Spahr poem could probably be classed as a specimen of "Conceptual poetry", where the interest is in the act of processing of existing texts, data or language - though I think more than that is going on in it than that.

Juliana Spahr, from Power Sonnets

After Kendra Mayfield

“Why Girls Don’t Compute,” Wired Website, 3:00 a.m. Apr.20, 2000 PDT

Educators must change the way that they teach to attract girls
to technology. With the rise of technology-related jobs, experts fear girls
who lack computing skills might be left behind. It’s imperative that girls
who are under represented, have computer fluency. Girls

have misconceptions of what computer fluency would lead to. Girls
are getting a distorted view. Yet there are ways to get girls
into computer culture. Reports urge educators to teach girls
sophisticated technology skills. Teachers can re-engage girls

who might be disinterested in traditional computing courses. Girls
are also turned off to technology through computer games. Girls
dislike violent video games. But some researchers think girls
don’t need pink software. But others think software should go straight to girls’

interests. “Software is primarily aimed at boys. To counteract that, we desperately need software out there for girls”; “It’s not really violence that turns girls
off”, repetitious, boring games are more likely to turn girls off than violence. Researchers also stressed educating girls.

 Jen Bervin, from Nets

Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel:
For never-resting Time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'ersnowed and bareness every where:
Then, were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:
   But flowers distilled though they with winter meet,
   Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

Against my love shall be as I am now,
With Time's injurious hand crush'd and o'er-worn;
When hours have drained his blood and filled his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travelled on to age's steepy night;
And all those beauties whereof now he's king
Are vanishing or vanished out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age's cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life:
   His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
   And they shall live, and he in them still green.

Abigail Oborne, from lovebaby


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