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

Wednesday November 11 at 7.30 (Please note change of date. ZOOM check-in at 7.15)

‘All that has been’ a virtual evening with poets Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French and music by The Moonpennies.

Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French will read from their latest published collections, Sharp Hills and Bread Without Butter respectively. Juxtaposing past and present, family and nature, the personal and the universal, these readings are perfect for a Remembrance Day evening: filled not with nostalgia but with empathy, reflection and curiosity.

The Moonpennies are a duo who compose and perform poem songs, and will provide a few interludes. I’ll say no more about this – let it be a surprise!

This is a FREE event. Please email irena@in-words.co.uk as soon as you can to receive a zoom invitation the day before the event.

If you’d like to follow the readings with the books in front of you, you can order copies from the publishers indigodreams.co.uk (for Sharp Hills) and rockinghampress.co.uk (for Bread Without Butter).

NIGHT WATCHED has been postponed until 2021.

Let’s hope we can celebrate the 2021 summer Solstice (or, if we are lucky, the spring Equinox) with Graham High‘s poetic look at the Astronomers Royal, the inimitable voice of NJ Hynes and music by Alexis Bennett.