University Poetry Challenge

I couldn’t resist using this title, but what we had the evening of February 4 was not a competition between the University of Greenwich and Goldsmiths. It was an opportunity for us to appreciate the students’ skills with words and for the students to read in front of an audience – something which some had not experienced before. All showed great courage, writing confidence (and many were confident readers, too), a touching solidarity with each other and a wide range of interests and focus, from the very intimate and personal to the fate of whales (which felt equally intimate and personal…). The students had been asked by Cherry Smyth and Blake Morrison to submit a few short poems each, and poet extraordinaire Sascha Akhtar had kindly agreed to select three winner for each university. And to perform some of her poetry at the beginning, while Cherry and Blake did so at the end, after a lively students’ open mic session.

The prizes (book tokens) were presented by Sascha, who commented on the chosen poems. With infinite thanks to PnSEL (Poetry network South East London), who channelled a donation from an anonymous donor to in-words to make it all possible. A memorable evening with a large and very appreciative audience.

Some (rather poor) images of Sascha and some of the winners below. More to follow.

Events

February 25

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

WRITING DOWN DEEP
Jan Fortune of Cinnamon Press will launch her own book, Writing Down DeepAn Alchemy of the Writing Life, grown from her blog, experience and craft. Not a how-to, but a volume rich with ideas, exercises and reflections.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

March 10 – POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER

Graham Fawcett‘s lecture/performance on American poet Elizabeth Bishop.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) is not widely known in this country. Unaccountably so, given her profound and varied output, her literary prizes and her interesting life.

But for a true insight and some wonderful readings, do come to Graham’s talk with the wonderful Sue Aldred as second reading voice. Plenty of time to whet your appetite by reading up on Bishop…

Venue to be confirmed.

March 24

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

Two Cinnamon poets with very different voices: Edward Ragg, who lives in China, will read from his book Exploring Rights; Ian Gregson will launch his collection with the intriguing title The Slasher and the Vampire as Role Models. Ian replaces Omar Sabbagh, who sadly is unable to come over from Dubai. Let’s hope that Edward Ragg will be allowed to travel from China…

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

April 28

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

TWO GIRLS AND A BEEHIVE
Rosie Jackson and Graham Burchell will launch Two Girls and a Beehive, their collaborative collection of poems, due to be published by Two Rivers Press (Reading) earlier that month. The poems follow the life and explore much of the work of visionary artist Stanley Spencer, as well as giving voice to his complex personal life and the relative invisibility of artist Hilda Carline, his first wife. With projected images of the artist’s works.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

May 12

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

Readings by the wonderful Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

June 23

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

NIGHT WATCHED
Celebrating the Solstice with Graham High‘s poetic look at the Astronomers Royal, Kelley Swayne bringing us women astronomers plus other poets’ vision of the night skies…

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome