Monday, 30 January 2012

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Poems of Love (and Hate)

Stort Poetry Group is returning after a Winter break on February 15th with Poems of Love (and Hate) – after Valentine’s Day. Bring along your favourite poems of romantic emotion – whether love or its unhappy opposite – to share with other poetry lovers at 7.30, upstairs in the usual place, Bishops Stortford Waterstones. Refreshments may be had.

Sorry it's not the usual First Wednesday, which we should be able to make for the rest of the meetings through till summer. I wanted to put the event as near Valentine's Day as possible (& week before V-Day Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature has that rarity, a visiting poet, Luke Wright). I also wanted to arrange our own visiting poets for later this year, so I could link the publicity: Jeff Hilson on March 7 and Frances Presley on July 4.

Poems of Love (and Hate) will celebrate the most powerful of emotions, indeed, the emotion most often voiced in poems and songs. Stort Poetry Group invites anyone to bring along your favourite love poem, or indeed maybe what you yourself have written, or who knows, even received on Valentine’s Day if you were very lucky. But love has always been linked with its opposite, most famously in the little poem of Catullus beginning "Odi et amo"I love and loathe. You ask how come. / Don’t know – just happens I feel and I pain. We hope though for more of the positive!

Jeff Hilson teaches Creative writing at Roehampton University, where he has established a major reputation as a nurturer of poetic talent. He is a witty and haunting poet, whose performances of his own poetry engage, astonish and amuse his audiences. Jeff Hilson has edited one of the most important anthologies of recent years, The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality Street, 2008) – sonnets remade for a whole new world, and his most recent book of poems is In the Assarts (Veer Books, 2010).

Frances Presley is a freelance poet and writer. Her work often links with the contemporary visual arts, and with specific places and locations, such as the Neolithic stone monuments of Exmoor. She has a clear and forceful voice as a poet, engaging directly with the reader or audience. Her most recent books are Lines of Sight (Shearsman, 2009) and Stone Settings (with Tilla Brading, Odyssey Books & Other Books, 2010). Frances Presley's poetry is accessible online on the Poetry International Web.

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