There is a one-off change of venue for the Group’s next meeting which will be held at the Workhouse Museum, Allhallowgate at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 7th June. The theme for the evening will be ‘Fairy Tales’ or ‘Dreams’ and there will also be an opportunity for those attending to view the exhibition prepared by museum volunteer and Group member Solvig Choi.
TRANSFERRED BACK TO OUR USUAL VENUE DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL.
As a prelude to his adjudication, Paul spoke to us about his own wide-ranging writing, which includes two books on creative writing. He then went on to ask if writing poetry was different from other writing forms. Does it use a different part of the brain or is it so focused that it blots out other things? He said that writing poetry involves concentration, imagination and something which acts as a prompt. In addition he stressed the importance of reading other people’s work to sharpen one’s mind. A wide discussion of what makes a piece of writing a poem followed, touching on punctuation amongst other things.
When Paul turned to what he was looking for in a poem he emphasised that there were many different ways of writing one, but that the result should hold the reader’s attention – the reader should not feel that he is wasting his time. There are no hard and fast rules about form or subject or rhyme. However, the poem must mean something to the writer as well as to the reader.
Turning to the individual competition entries it was agreed to follow Paul’s suggestion that the writers should read their work before he gave his comments so that the comments meant something to the others present. The poems read were:
• Susan – ‘Going Downhill on a Bicycle’ – a poem supposed to have been written by a character from her recent novel
• Maggie – ‘The Last Amen’ – a lament for ‘the one who got away’
• Denis – ‘Dusk to Dawn’ – a poem inspired by a blind girl and looking at how senses can become sharpened
• Ros – ‘Living in Denial’ – a very personal poem about climate change
• Sheila – ‘The Enchantment of Birdsong’ – a poem inspired by hearing a song thrush while out walking
• Carol – ‘Not April but February Mr T S Eliot’ – a poem disputing the opening lines of Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland
• Peter – ‘The Naming of Books’ – a parody of ‘The Naming of Cats’ from ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’
The authors of the remaining three entries were not present so their entries were held over.
Paul then proceeded to announce his choice of winners as follows:
• 1st – Susan Perkins with ‘Going Downhill on a Bicycle’
• 2nd – Ros Swaney with ‘Living in Denial’
• 3rd – Lindsay Trenholme with ‘The Power of Words’
Susan was presented with the trophy.
Maggie thanked Paul for his adjudication and invited him to read a selection of his own poems. These included ‘General Swim’ (about Ripon Spa Baths) and ‘Saturday Bells’ (about wedding bells at Ripon Cathedral) from his published collection ‘Voting for Spires’, both of which had also been published in the ‘Ripon Gazette’. He also read poems from his collection ‘Nomad’ and from a smaller collection inspired by a film.
Our celebration was somewhat muted by ongoing health concerns, but those of us who did manage to get together had a very pleasant evening. Seasonal literary contributions ranged from lighthearted to deeply reflective.
The most important order of business was the awarding of the President’s Cup, won this year by Peter. As Joe was unable to be with us, Maggie did the honours.
The Chairman’s Challenge exercised our little grey cells.
Denis and Sheila were the very worthy winners.
Everyone contributed to the buffet and the evening was rounded off by selections from the Secret Santa table.
Ripon Writers’ Group would like to wish all members past, present and prospective a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
With no possibility of a festive get together this year, a few of us took part on 10th December in a short but sweet meeting organised by Susan and held via Zoom. Everyone agreed that it was good fun and we hope to repeat the experiment during the coming months.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all connected with RWG in any way and others who wish us well!
Although it was a shame that so many members, including Daphne Peters who founded the Group, were unable to attend this evening, those of us who made it marked the occasion with a heartfelt toast.
The theme for the meeting was ‘vision’, with an eye (sorry!) to the Swanwick competitions mentioned at the previous meeting. It would be wonderful if RWG came up with another winner!
PS As no one was available to take a photo of us all together, Christine and Maggie took it in turns.
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.
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.
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