Every year for the past five years, Cheltenham Poetry Society has gone away for a full day of writing and getting to know each other better at the delightful venue of Dumbleton Hall on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border. Every year, we have had glorious weather which has enabled us to break out of the excellent conference facilities in The Bredon Room into the grounds, which are truly excellent. This year was no exception with regard to the weather – and the delights in the grounds included black swans and their cygnet on the lake, a heron in the trees, yellow flag irises in full bloom at the margin of the lake and vibrant rhododendrons.
As usual, Dumbleton Hall Hotel looked after us very well, with generous supplies of coffee, tea, pastries, cake and biscuits … and a hot buffet which catered for a wide variety of tastes. David Ashbee and Stuart Nunn led the workshops on the theme of wood, trees and the landscape … which we gathered under the title ‘Seeing the Wood and the Trees’. A record number of attendees (17) ended the day with at least a poem or two … some of us many more! Attending were: David Ashbee, Stuart Nunn, Roger Turner, Michael Newman, Robin Gilbert, Belinda Rimmer, Gill Wyatt, Alice Ross, Marilyn Timms, Howard Timms, Judi Marsh, Annie Ellis, Kathryn Alderman, Gill Garrett, Samantha Pearse, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe and me.
Oh, and the date is already in Dumbleton Hall’s calendar – and our own – for May 2018!
Cheltenham Poetry Festival performed a selection of poems from the Cheltenham 300 Anthology at Cheltenham Poetry Festival in May. The anthology of photographs and poems came out of the Society’s summer retreat – the Annual Awayday – in May 2016 – and we were thrilled to be able to showcase poems and projected photographs from the book at this event. Thanks to Anna Saunders for the invitation, and to St Andrew’s Hall in Cheltenham for the venue. Poets reading were Sheila Spence, Roger Turner, Michael Newman, Robin Gilbert, Belinda Rimmer, Marilyn Timms, Howard Timms, Annie Ellis, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, Alice Ross and me. Photographs in the book, also shown on the day, were taken by Roger Turner and me. Thanks to Howard Timms and Mr L for their part in facilitating their projection. Thanks also to The Gloucestershire Echo for taking group photographs in Montpellier Gardens after the event and for a short report on the event in the newspaper.
In June we were thrilled to receive an invitation to perform in October’s prestigious Cheltenham Literature Festival, reading another selection of poems from the book, which we hope will again be illustrated with projected photographs. We are also pleased that David Ashbee and Stuart Nunn, unable to join us in May, will be available for the Literature Festival reading which is part of the Locally Sourced programme featuring writers local to Gloucestershire.
Meanwhile, Here’s a photographic record of the event in May’s Poetry Festival which I had the great pleasure of introducing – as well as reading one of my own poems from the book:
April’s Poetry Café at Smokey Joe’s in Cheltenham was refreshed by the poetry, voice and presence of Sam Loveless. Here are some photos of Sam in action and a slideshow of the event, including the lovely gathering of Open Mic poets. You will see that, at one stage, we were entertained by a poetic duet from Sam and Stephen Daniels. Sam’s Andean headgear was an additional treat!
Photos of Sam … and Stephen …
And the slideshow, including open mic poets:
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Regular host, Roger Turner, was unfortunately unable to be at Poetry Café Refreshed in April … a chance for me to run amok 😉