Thursday, 16 February 2017

Cheltenham 300 Anthology

We are so proud of our Cheltenham 300 anthology!  We published this 70 page volume of poems in November, coinciding with celebrations of Cheltenham's tercentenary as a spa town.  Fourteen of our poets have two poems each in the book ... each accompanied by photographs taken in and around Cheltenham.

We are indebted to Suffolk Anthology Bookshop which has stocked and sold the book ... sales going so well that in February we have ordered a second print run, anticipating further demand during 2017.
Books cost £5.95 from the bookshop, or from, adding £1.50 p&p.  A good price for 28 poems by 14 poets and approaching 40 photographs!

Poems contributing are:  Sharon Larkin, Roger Turner, Michael Newman, David Ashbee, Stuart Nunn, Robin Gilbert, Sheila Spence, Judi Marsh, Michael Skaife d'Ingerthorpe, Alice Ross, Belinda Rimmer, Annie Ellis, Marilyn Timms, Howard Timms

What else do we do apart from read and write poetry?

Performance opportunities!

Opportunities for readings/performances arise throughout the year, including festivals.  A reading from
the Cheltenham 300 anthology is scheduled for Saturday 6 May during Cheltenham Poetry Festival , 4 – 14 May, which will also offer open mic opportunities at other events.

Separately from the Society’s programme, regular opportunities for performance exist at Poetry Café - Refreshed, at Smokey Joe’s, 15 Bennington St commencing at 7pm usually on the third Wednesday of the month - except in March (when it will be on 22nd) and December (when it will be on 13th).  A guest poet is invited to Poetry Café - Refreshed, and there are Open mic slots for anyone wishing to read/perform. 

Other Events!

The Annual Lecture will be given by David Clarke on Wednesday 29 March in the Pittville Room at Cheltenham Municipal Offices, Promenade, on the subject The Landscapes of Post-War German Poetry.

The Society’s annual writing retreat Awayday is on Wednesday 24 May where we troop off to a lovely countryside location for the day, to write, eat, drink ... and wander the grounds of the venue!      

A social evening for members/friends/family of the Society will be held on possibly 21 July (date/venue to be confirmed).

The Annual General Meeting, which all subscribing members of the Society are welcome to attend, will be on 28 November, followed by a shortened Writing Group meeting.

More events are likely to be added as the opportunities arise!

Poets Alive! Read more poetry!

Cheltenham Poetry Society's Reading Group meets 7pm - 10pm on the third Tuesday of each month, except December (when there isn't a meeting).  

Meetings alternate monthly between:

a) published poems (not our own) on the topics listed below and 

b) poems by a specific poet (as listed for the dates asterisked below).  

Please bring about 8 copies of 2 – 3 poems on the topic or by the famous poet.

On the asterisked dates (designated Poets Alive!attendees are also invited (if they wish - no obligation) to bring one or two of their own poems. These could either relate in some way to the poems by the well-known poet - by subject, theme or style - or provide an
interesting contrast with the famous poet’s work.

Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings - at the bargain price of just £3, to include refreshments!

Reading Group Meetings are scheduled for these dates in 2017:

17 Jan*    Poets Alive! - poems by W H Auden and you!

21 Feb     Poets with names L - Q

21 Mar*  Poets Alive! – poems by T S Eliot and you!

18 Apr     Poems about town, city, urban life

16 May*  Poets Alive! - poems by Gillian Clarke and you!

20 June   1st person poems (persona or poet)

18 July*   Poets Alive! - poems by D H Lawrence and you!

15  Aug    Poems about travel

19 Sept*  Poets Alive! - poems by Billy Collins and you!

17   Oct     Poems in English from poets who aren't    

21  Nov*  Poets Alive! - poems by W B Yeats and you!  

2017 - Kickstarted!

The Cheltenham Poetry Society Programme for 2017 was underway by Tuesday 3 January with a brand new series of Kickstart Poetry Writing Workshops, suitable for all levels, of experience.  We are following the book of writing prompts by Jo Bell, designed to encourage poets to write a poem a week: 52 Write a Poem a Week. Start Now. Keep Going - by Jo Bell, published by Nine Arches Press.  

Our second workshop in the series was on 7 February, and these will continue on the first Tuesday of every month throughout the year, 7pm - 10pm at Parmoor House:

7 Mar, 4 Apr, 2 May, 6 June, 4 July, 1 Aug, 5 Sept, 3 Oct, 7 Nov, 5 Dec

Workshops are supplemented by an active - but 'private' Facebook Group where poets attending workshops can post poems for feedback from other attendees.  Hence they will give and receive feedback on the poetry prompts occurring weekly between monthly workshops.  Join us at workshops and you too can join the Facebook group if you would like to.  But there is no obligation ... and no pressure to write 52 poems in a year!  For those that want to, there is support.  For others who might want simply to come along to the workshop once a month and write a poem there, that is another option ... or anything in between!

Early feedback suggests that fellow Kickstarters agree that the workshop and supplementary information posted in our own Facebook group is helpful.  Here are some photos - and some of their comments:

“Thanks for this wonderfully detailed information … and for hosting us yesterday. I really enjoyed it and enjoyed hearing some wonderful poetry.” “Really enjoyed the workshop last night. A good kickstart to the new year. Very helpful info thank you … No excuses but to get started now”.“Have already put down ideas for three of the poems. Couldn’t stop poetry thinking last night.”
“I enjoyed it, thank you … lots of interesting ideas.”
“It was fab and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
“Thanks for a great session … Your group has a good mix of people, poetry and styles. I really feel that I can gain from the structure of it.”
“Fab time this evening at CPS Kickstart poetry workshop based on Jo Bell’s 52 … Good to have a structure to work with.”
“I very much enjoyed the session … and look forward to more in the coming months and working on the prompts in the book.”
"Very well done ... pace, tone and level just right ... generating plenty of enthusiasm."