Lunch at the Royal Oak

The Royal Oak on Kirkgate was a very welcoming venue for our first social event of 2020. Members and guests enjoyed a very convivial lunch and plenty of good conversation.

Poetry adjudication with Sue Hardy-Dawson

Maggie welcomed Sue Hardy-Dawson and invited her to give her adjudication of the 2019 Poetry Competition. Sue began by bringing members up to date on her own work, about which she had spoken on previous visits. She went on to read five poems from her new collection ‘If I were Other than Myself’ which was due to be published on 27th February 2020. These were ‘Legends of Bears’, ‘Casting Stones’, ‘Dolphin Dreaming’, ‘Found Poem’ and ‘Nightlight’. A discussion of Sue’s work then followed and she talked about her methods, emphasising the need to read poetry if one was to write it. She also said that she writes and writes before deciding what it will become – there is a lot of work between first draft and finished product.

In introducing the adjudication itself, Sue mentioned two general things which she considered worth thinking about:
• Do we need capital letters at the beginning of lines anymore?
• The avoidance of clichés unless they have a specific purpose or reason.

She then went on to give her individual comments on all the entries before announcing the result as follows:
• 3rd place – Kate Swann with ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’
• 2nd place – Lindsay Trenholme with ‘New Mind Meditation’
• 1st place – Sheila Whitfield with ‘Sea Town by Night’

The winners read their poems as the results were announced and Sue presented Sheila with the trophy.

President’s Cup 2019

The President’s Cup being temporarily unavailable, Peter presented Sheila – the clear winner – with the next best thing. Watch this space for an update!

Members also enjoyed Christmas readings, a quiz, a dip into the Secret Santa basket and some delicious cake (thank you, Ella) to go with their teas and coffees.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

PS Sheila did receive the actual President’s Cup from Peter at the earliest opportunity.

Artistic Licence 2019

Our adjudicator, Anne Carrick, began by saying that she had enjoyed all the pieces and that one had even taken her back to her misspent youth in Northumberland. She went on to suggest that her credentials to act as an adjudicator rested on her experience as a critical reader. What she was looking for was something that had a striking beginning and an ending that rounded things off. She reminded us that every word must count and that proofreading before submission was essential. The need to consider the target audience, be it academics, newspaper readers or whatever, was also important.

Anne concluded her introductory remarks by saying that she had found a strong streak of feminism in many of the stories. She then went on to give her thoughts on each of the ten entries. Finally she announced the winners in reverse order as follows:
• 3rd place – ‘A Show of Hands’ – Sheila Whitfield
• 2nd place – ‘Dancing Feet’ – Maggie Cobbett
• 1st place – ‘A Picture Telling Many Stories’ – Phil Cook

Anne presented the trophy and this was followed by Phil reading his winning entry. It concerned the pleasure he had got from a print, bought for £5 at a boot sale, showing a Vienna streetscape painted by Herta Czoernig (1886-1970) above a few bars of Beethoven’s Appassionata Piano Sonata.

Maggie then read ‘Dancing Feet’, which explained how one look at a professional ballerina’s feet, scarred by her years en pointe, had killed any childhood notion of following suit. She had gone on to explore other dance genres, though, finishing with a love of salsa.

Sheila, inspired by the Group’s 2019 outing to Littlethorpe Potteries, had begun with the importance of hands to the work of the potter and continued into a reflection on the complexity and dexterity of hands in general and their place in both art and culture. She then read Malcolm Glasby’s entry, ‘A Personal Collection’, which described some of the artists from whom he had purchased original work and also the role of his wife Margaret’s own work in their art collection.

Finally Joe Peters read his entry ‘The Sound of Music’ which described how he came to be interested in and active in the world of folk dance – in particular Scottish, Irish and Dutch – and song, meeting Daphne at Scottish Country Dancing when living in The Hague. Today he finds watching Morris Dance very moving while he and Daphne have a large collection of traditional and folk dance music.

Malcolm and Phil are both retiring from the Group and Maggie paid tribute to the great contribution that both have made over the many years of their membership.

Finally, Maggie thanked Anne Carrick for her very positive and thorough adjudication and presented her with a token of the Group’s appreciation.

AGM 2019

Some changes to the Group’s constitution were approved, relating mainly to the committee structure.

After three years in the post, Sheila Whitfield stood down from the Chairmanship and was thanked for her services. Maggie Cobbett was elected as the new Chairman with Caroline Slator continuing as Treasurer and Peter Page as Secretary. Janet Barclay, Carol Mayer, Susan Perkins and Christine Summers complete the new committee. Peter Hicks will be President.

The committee will meet soon to begin drawing up a programme for 2020. Watch this space!

Successful Launches

This has been quite a week for Carol and Kate (see posts below), culminating in the launches of their new collections.

A packed room very much enjoyed the readings from all three poets. Hazel Cameron isn’t a member of our group YET, but would be very welcome to join us!

Launch of the 3rd Ripon Poetry Festival Anthology

RWG made a very good showing in this year’s Anthology with Lindsay Trenholme winning first prize for ‘Bottled Ocean’and seven other members – Carol Mayer, Christine Summers, Ian Gouge, Kate Swann, Maggie Cobbett, Susan Perkins and Sheila Whitfield – also having one or more of their poems included.

Also pictured are the indefatigable Andy Croft and Sarah Moor, who seem to have been omnipresent throughout the Festival. We’re very grateful to them and to their colleague Philip Trewhitt for all their hard work as well as to Simon from the Little Ripon Bookshop for manning the stall at many events.

Unfortunately Susan was unable to attend this event, so we’ll look forward to hearing her poems on a future occasion.

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Our friendly group meets once a fortnight in the Old Deanery on Minstergate, opposite Ripon Cathedral and is always open to new members from the Ripon area and beyond. Whether your interest is in poetry or prose, novels, short stories, plays, wacky humour, a more analytical style of writing, or just listening for the time being, you're very welcome.

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