Saturday, 21 December 2013

Workshop - Tuesday 7 January

The first CPS Workshop for 2014 will be at 7pm - 10pm on Tuesday 7 January in the Rosalind Room, upstairs at Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace, Cheltenham.

The writing exercise will be led by Sharon Larkin, on the theme of colour in poetry.  There will be an opportunity to read out what we have written, giving and receiving helpful comments to help us firm up our drafts.  After the refreshment break, we will share poems we have already written, exchanging supportive comments to help in the editing process.  Please bring writing materials and about 6 - 8 copies on one or two of your own poems.

£4, reduced to £2 for those who pay the £8 annual subscription, representing a significant saving over the whole of 2014.   New members always welcome.

Cheltenham Poetry Society and Winchcombe Poets present "Into the Heights" - Friday 17 January 2014

The first Cheltenham Poetry Society special event for 2014 is a collaboration with Winchcombe Poets. 
It has been exciting working with Helena Cavan on this joint venture.

Into the Heights will be an evening of wods and music, commencing at 7.30 on Friday 17 January 2014, at St Nicholas Church, Chandos St, Winchcombe. 

Cheltenham and Winchcombe poets will read poems down the centuries on the search for hope in difficult times ... and will read their own work on similar themes. 
Music by Roger Turner, soloist Nia Chittenden. 

Refreshments available. A retiring collection will be made; proceeds to St Nichoas church. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Poetry Reading Group Meeting, Tuesday 19 November

Poetry Reading Group Meeting on Tuesday 19 November: the theme for the night is "Myth, legend; far away & long ago". Please bring 6 - 8 copies of three or four poems on this theme for reading and discussion in the group. 7pm - 10pm upstairs at Parmoor House. New members are always welcome to join us. £2 to include refreshments. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Workshop - Tuesday 5 November

Cheltenham Poetry Society's next workshop will be held on Tuesday 5 Nov, 7-10pm, in the Rosalind Room, upstairs at Parmoor House, 13 Lypiatt Terrace (parallel with Lypiatt Road), Cheltenham.

We are delighted that the writing exercise will be led by Stuart Nunn.

After a coffee/tea break, we will read round poems we have already written, giving and receiving comments to help us in the editing process.

Please bring writing materials and about 6 copies of one or two poems you have already written.

Suitable for experienced poets and beginners alike.

All welcome.  £4, including refreshments.

Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces - well reviewed in SOUTH

The Society's anthology "Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces" has been well reviewed by SOUTH Magazine, with quotes from poems by Roger Turner, Sheila Spence and Robin Taylor Gilbert, as well as namechecks for Michael Newman and David Ashbee - see below:
Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces - Cheltenham Poetry Society, £4.99

"With a heritage connection to Tennyson and Browning and links to the Cheltenham festivals for poetry and literature, the Cheltenham Poetry Society is a distinguished group. Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces contains work from ten of its members, two of whom, David Ashbee and Michael Newman, will be familiar to regular readers of SOUTH.

This ninety page anthology is beautifully produced. Remarkable value at £4.99, it is a benchmark in self-publishing for other poetry groups. But it is not just the production values that impress - most importantly, the poetry is pretty good too!

With each poet represented by five poems, there is enough material to exemplify each individual's interests and style ... and, there is such a variety of subject matter, poems are, by turn, moving or amusing, insightful or reflective.

These accomplished poets are masters of their craft; images are unexpected or striking.
There is much to recommend in this excellent anthology. Like the Penguin Modern Poets series of the early sixties, this book is a splendid introduction to a group of contemporary poets. It is a poetry collection I'd be happy to recommend to a general reader; a book for anyone to dip into and enjoy".

Thank you to Patrick Osada for this review.

Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces - still available.

A few copies of our anthology, featuring the work of Michael Newman, Roger Turner, David Ashbee, Stuart Nunn, Gerald O'Shaughnessy, Robin Gilbert, Michael Skaife d'Ingerthorpe, Sharon Larkin, Judi Marsh and Sheila Spence, are still available following publication in March 2013.

Please email if you would like to order one.
The cost is £4.99 plus £1.50 post and packing.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Poetry Reading Group Meeting, Tuesday 20 August

Looking forward to a meeting of the Reading Group on Tuesday night, 20 August, when we'll be focusing on contemporary poets. New members always welcome. Please bring half a dozen copies of about 4 poems by a contemporary poet or poets - and share what you appreciate or find interesting about them. £2, including refreshments. 7pm - 10pm, Rosalind Room, Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace, Cheltenham, GL50 2SX

Monday, 17 June 2013

Our workshops, reading groups and writing groups

Our meetings follow this monthly programme:

First Tuesday - workshop,  everyone welcome 
Includes a writing exercise led by a member of the Society (please bring writing materials), and a read-round of previously written work (please bring about 8 copies of one or two of your poems). Poets read their own poems and give/receive constructive comments in order to help us all in the editing of our own work. Comments are intended to be helpful and supportive.  £4 per session, including tea, coffee and biscuits.  This is reduced to £2 per session for subscribers (£8 per annum). For people joining before July in any year, subscribing and paying the lower fee is definitely the way to go.  Those joining in the second half of the year will find it better to pay the higher session fee, and consider subscribing from the following January.

Third Tuesday - reading group meeting, everyone welcome 
In June, August, October we will each bring about 8 copies of about four poems written by a published contemporary poet - for reading and discussion.  In July, September and November we will bring poems on specific topics/themes, for similar reading and discussion.  This is a chance for people to introduce each other to new poets and new poetry.  £2 per session including tea, coffee and biscuits. No annual subscription is payable by people who just come to reading group meetings.

Fourth Tuesday - writing group for experienced poets 
This group is limited in number to ensure there is time for thorough and rigorous critiques; currently we have no vacancies in this group so please consider coming to workshops on the First Tuesday instead where commenting is intended to be helpful and supportive.
Members of the Writing Group are all payers of the £8 annual subscription, paying an additional £2 per session. Refreshments are included.

Finding us

Several people have recently reported difficulty in finding 13 Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace, Cheltenham, GL50 2SX where we hold our regular meetings.
This map will help:
Map of Lypiatt Terrace

Here is a picture of what the building looks like from the outside:
Parmoor House, 13 Lypiatt Terrace

This Cheltenham Civic Society building is used by a number of groups.
Cheltenham Poetry Society meetings take place on the SECOND FLOOR, in the Rosalind Room.

All meetings are on Tuesdays, 7pm - 10pm, with a refreshment break mid-way through the evening.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Next Workshop - Tuesday 4 June

Our next workshop will be at 7pm - 10pm on Tuesday 4 June at Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace, Cheltenham.  The writing exercise will be relevant to the theme of "Memory" which is the theme for this year's Gloucestershire Writers Network competition - so it offers a good opportunity to prepare a poem for submission to that.  There will be a chance to read back our drafts for mutual constructive feedback, but there's no obligation to share if we don't want to.  After coffee/tea, we will read our already-written poems, brought to the meeting, again giving and receiving feedback to help us in editing our work.  Please bring writing materials and about 8 copies of one or two poems you have already written.  These workshops are great value at £2, to include refreshments.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Successful Launch of "Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces"

Eight members of the Society's Writing Group read poems from our new anthology, "Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces" on 24 April, during Cheltenham Poetry Festival. The well attended event, upstairs at Cafe Rouge in the Promenade (a first-rate venue for poetry readings) provided a feast of 40 poems from the anthology. These showcased the varied interests and styles of David Ashbee, Robin Gilbert, Sharon Larkin, Michael Newman, Stuart Nunn,  Michael Skaife d'Ingerthorpe, Sheila Spence and Roger Turner.  Other poets represented in the anthology, but unavailable to read on the night, are Judi Marsh and Gerald O'Shaughnessy.

Here is a review of the launch:

"The poems in this anthology are excellent. But I have to particularly commend those of retired nurse Sheila Spence, often about water, including her wise and compassionate Salt Water; Submerged, about the flooding that regularly assails Gloucestershire; and Waiting, likening a new baby to a starfish".  
(Greg Freeman: Write Out Loud)
The event was also an opportunity to publicly thank Robin Gilbert for overseeing the anthology's publication and Abi Ponton of Pigeon Illustration for cover artwork.  We are indebted to both.

Copies of "Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces" are selling well.  If you'd like a copy (£5 plus £2 p@p) please email us on:

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Performing Poetry - The Poet's Voice

Although it wasn't a Poetry Society event as such, a workshop entitled "The Poet's Voice" was held on 11 April which several members and former members attended - all women.  The speaker was Dorothy Daniels whose career has been in voice training - with an impressive list of organisations and individuals she has worked with to help people become more effective and confident public speakers and performers. Those of us attending this recent workshop will unhesitatingly attest that Dorothy helped us too.

As well as reminding us of the mechanics of standing in front of an audience, making and sustaining contact, breathing correctly and so on, we benefitted from time spent reading our poems aloud as if at a public reading, but paying far more attention to modulation - the power, pace, pitch - of our delivery, noting where to emphasise words and phrases, where to pause, where to slow down or speed up and so on.

For me, personally, this was the best investment of time and money - in poetry terms - in a long time.  A well-timed event, too, in view of the forthcoming Poetry Festival ... when most of those attending the workshop will be performing.

Expect some engaging performances!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Poetry Reading Group - Tuesday 16 April

Newcomers are always welcome in our Poetry Reading Group. Just bring 6-8 copies of 3-4 poems by a contemporary poet and share what you find interesting or exciting about them! 7pm-10pm at Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace, Cheltenham. £2 - includes refreshments.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Poetry Workshops

Cheltenham Poetry Society runs a workshop on the first Tuesday of every month at Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace, Cheltenham, from 7pm to 10pm.  There is a different leader each month to ensure variety of approach - and share the workload!

The first half of the evening is a writing exercise, using the particular prompt or trigger the leader for that evening has chosen.  Sometimes it is word-based, sometimes a leader will choose to explore various poetic forms or themes, sometimes we will look at examples of other people's work to inspire us. We aim for an "educational" element or a new approach to creativity rather than just suggesting topics on which to write ... although that might be part of the exercise.  After 30-40 minutes of writing, we will read round what we have written for constructive  comments from others. However, there is no obligation to share these early drafts.  It is simply an opportunity to acquire and give some initial feedback to help us in the editing process.  

After a refreshment break and sharing of any poetry-related news, we read poems we have previously written - again for constructive comments and feedback to help us with our editing.  As before, there is never any obligation to share a poem on any given evening, or to give feedback on any particular poem.  The main objective is to be helpful - it's always useful to know what other people are taking from one's writing.  

We always welcome newcomers to these workshops and ask people to bring writing materials and half a dozen copies of the one or two of their poems which they would like to share with the group.  

Workshops are great value at £4 per session. This is reduced to £2 if individuals subscribe (£8). This represents a £16 saving over the whole year if a subscriber attends each of the 12 workshops.

The last workshop (2 April) was led by Avril Staple who brought her artistic flair to inspire us, inviting us to make simple pastel sketches focusing on light and shade in fabric, dried rose leaves and fruit skin, and  metal objects (eg tap, bracket).  Some of us confessed that we were not great visual artists, but everyone had a go.  We then "framed" the results ... and wrote about what we had thought about as we had sketched, using the images that came into our minds as we looked at the objects we were sketching. Concentrating on light and shade had freed our minds to wander, allowing for a "flow" of creativity to spark our imaginations.  Some exciting and refreshingly "different" first drafts resulted.  (Personally, I was surprised to have written my first ever poem (just 4 lines) in Welsh! I also wrote a poem in English about breaking through into another dimension.  I doubt whether these would have resulted from a more traditional word-based workshop!  

So, thank you, Avril for bringing a fresh approach - and for encourage us all to think about using other forms of artistic expression to re-ignite our poetry.   After the exercise, we talked more generally about how other artforms, eg music, inspired some of us in writing poetry.  We might explore this at some point in the future.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces

Here is an approximation of what the cover of our new anthology will look like (actually the font and text positions will be a little different from what you see here).  The proof copy has been received and the final order will be placed shortly, ensuring delivery well in time for our launch event: 6-7 pm, Wednesday 24 April, 6-7 pm, Cafe Rouge, Promenade, Cheltenham.

The anthology features poems by David Ashbee, Robin Gilbert, Sharon Larkin, Judi Marsh, Gerald O'Shaughnessy, Michael Newman, Stuart Nunn, Michael Skaife d'Ingerthorpe, Sheila Spence and Roger Turner.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Annual Lecture, Thursday 18 April

Cheltenham Poetry Society Annual Lecture Poetry in Mind: Understanding Metaphor with Nigel McLoughlin 6.30pm - 8.00pm, Pittville Room, Municipal Offices, Promenade, £3 (on the door).

Nigel McLoughlin, Professor of Creativity and Poetics at the University of Gloucestershire, delivers this year’s Annual Lecture for Cheltenham Poetry Society. The lecture will explore the use of metaphor in poetry and will be of interest to readers and writers of poetry at all levels of experience. Nigel is a prize-winning poet with five collections published. He is the editor of Iota.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces

We are excited at the approaching publication of Cheltenham Poetry Society's anthology "Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces". 

The following ten poets have contributed five poems each: David Ashbee, Robin Gilbert, Sharon Larkin, Judi Marsh, Michael Newman, Stuart Nunn, Gerald O'Shaughnessy, Michael Skaife d'Ingerthorpe, Sheila Spence, Roger Turner. 

Cover art (below) has been designed by Abi Ponton of Pigeon Illustration.

Come to our launch event 6pm - 7pm on Wednesday 24 April, Cafe Rouge, Promenade, Cheltenham. Tickets £5 available here: 
(probably also available on the night).

Heavenly Music

Music from last week's recital by members of Cheltenham Poetry Society - composed and played by the former Chairman of Cheltenham Poetry Society, Roger Turner.  Soloist: Nia Chittenden.

Friday, 8 March 2013

A poetry-filled week

This week has included three evenings in succession filled with poetry!

On Tuesday 5 March, we held our monthly workshop.  In this session we looked at some examples of concrete poetry - where the use of "white space" around the "black space" (ink or print) is important in conveying meaning and often, where the shape of the text on the page relates to the meaning of the  poem.   After the refreshment break, we used word hoards - lists of words to inspire us to draft our own poems.  As usual, we read these back to the group, giving and receiving constructive comments to help us in the editing of these early drafts.

The next evening, 6 March, saw the first of our two recitals entitled "Out of the Depths" and drawing inspiration from Psalm 130.  During this event, at St Margaret's Church, Alderton, Five poets from the Society (Roger Turner, Michael Newman, Gill Wyatt, Robin Gilbert and Sharon Larkin) read poetry from the past five centuries on themes of searching for meaning, faith and hope in times of questioning, doubt and despair.  This was followed by a musical interlude, with a metrical version of the 130rd Psalm and settings of two poems by George Herbert to music, composed and played by Roger Turner - and beautifully sung by Nia Chittenden.

Here is a recording made on the night: Out of the Depths, Alderton

The gracious hosts at St Margaret's supplied a wonderful array of food, wine and juice for the interval - much appreciated by performers and audience.  In the second half, the poets read their own poems on similar themes - searching for significance and hope.

On Thursday 7 March we repeated the recital at St Mary's, Great Witcombe, where we were delighted to be greeted by another attentive audience, and welcome refreshments in the interval.

"Out of the Depths" was first performed at Highbury Congregational Church in April 2012, during Cheltenham Poetry Festival.  The Society welcomes enquiries from other venues where this kind of event would be suitable.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Society poems and article in Perspectives magazine

Great to see poems by Roger Turner ("Three Pylons") and Robin Gilbert ("Memorials in Cheltenham College Chapel") alongside my article on "Why Poetry Matters" (retitled as "Poetry: Obsolete or Important? You Decide" in the current edition of Cheltenham Arts Council Perspectives.

Perspectives, here

Congratulations to Katherine Macinnes on the publication of this newsletter in its new attractive colour magazine format.

Poetry Writing Workshop, 5 March.

Come and join us at our regular monthly Poetry Writing Workshops.  The next one is on Wednesday, 5 March, at our normal venue, the Rosalind Room, upstairs at Parmoor House, 13 Lypiatt Terrace (parallel with Lypiatt Road), Cheltenham, GL50 2SX

See map

The workshop will follow our usual format - a writing exercise followed by a read-round of what we have written (no obligation!), a refreshment break with coffee/tea/biscuits, reading poems brought to the workshop - an opportunity to give and receive constructive, helpful comments to assist poets in self-editing their work.  Please bring writing materials and about eight copies of two of your poems.

These workshops are informative, stimulating and good fun ... and excellent value at just £4. This is reduced to just £2 per session if you subscribe for a year (annual subscription £8) - a substantial saving if you attend on a regularly basis.

Workshop leaders alternate between members of the Writing Group.  On 5 March I will be leading the writing exercise and look forward to seeing regulars and newcomers for what is designed to be a helpful and stimulating evening.

Sharon Larkin

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Out of the Depths - Words and Music at Alderton and Great Witcombe, Gloucestershire

We are pleased to be presenting Out of the Depths - an evening of poetry and music - at the church of St Margaret's, Alderton, Gloucestershire, at 7pm on Wednesday 6 March.  Tickets are £5 (in advance or on the door) and will include refreshments at the end of the evening. 

 We will be repeating the programme at the church of St Mary's, Great Witcombe, Gloucestershire, at the slightly later time of 7.30pm the following evening, Thursday 7 March.  Refreshments will be served at the end of the evening, and a retiring collection will be made.

Come and hear poetry from the past 5 centuries on themes of looking for hope and acceptance during times of uncertainty and doubt. After a musical interlude, poets from Cheltenham Poetry Society will read their own work on similar themes.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Poetry and Film event in April - recommended

This is a collaborative project by Chaucer Cameron, a member of Cheltenham Poetry Society, and photographer Helen Dewbery.  Looking forward to attending this - and happy to promote it here.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Next Reading Group Meeting Tuesday 19 February

The next meeting of the Poetry Reading Group will be at Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace (parallel to Lypiatt Road), Cheltenham 7pm - 10pm on Wednesday, 19 February.  Please select a contemporary poet whom you find interesting, bring about 8 prints of 3 - 4 of their poems, and share with the rest of the group why you find their work interesting.  This is an opportunity to introduce new poets to the group, and to keep our awareness of the contemporary poetry scene up to date.  Just £2 to include refreshments - excellent value!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Next workshop, 5 February

We're looking forward to our next workshop,  7pm - 10pm Tuesday, 5 February, Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace (parallel with Lypiatt Road), Cheltenham.  The writing exercise will be led by Roger Turner and there will be time for us to read back what we have written (if we want to!)  After a refreshment break, we will have a read-round of poems we have already written, giving and receiving comments to help us in the editing process.  Comments will be helpful and constructive.  Please bring 8 copies of one or two of your poems for this part of the workshop.  These sessions are excellent value at £4, reduced to just £2 if you subscribe - representing a significant saving over the coming year.  Join us - newcomers welcome.

Out of the Depths - 6 and 7 March

Update on times:
Please note that the reading at Alderton commences at 7pm. 
The recital at Great Witcombe starts at 7.30. 
The latter is a half an hour later than advertised below:

Next workshop - Tuesday 5 February

New CPS publicity poster/advert

CPS prepares to launch Beyond the Well-Mapped Provinces

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Reading Group Meeting 15 January

Our first reading group meeting of the year will be on Tuesday 15 January, 7-10pm at Parmoor House, Lypiatt Terrace, Cheltenham.  Please bring about eight copies of 3-4 poems by published poets on the subjects of winter, snow or ice.


This is the new blog of Cheltenham Poetry Society.  You might be wondering where the poems have gone that were visible on our previous blog. Well, we are encouraging members to build their own blogs so that they can keep personal and more dynamic control over which poems appear on the Internet.  We would encourage members to link their own blogs to this one. Meanwhile, this blog will keep everyone updated on the Society's events and plans.  Less "perishable" information, such as the "History of the Society" and details of "What the Society Offers" are available from links on the right of this page.