A really good night of poetry at Hanley Library on 21st October, for the launch of Poetry of Staffordshire. Some of the contributors to the anthology were present and able to read their own work, some of the poems were read the by poets from Offa's Press. All age groups werre represented and with many different takes on the life and times of Staffordshire. There was an excellent turn out, including City Voices members; it was great to meet new people and catch up with friends. I read one of my two poems accepted by the anthology, "The 101 (Stone-Hanley)" and it seemed to go down well. It is not a "humorous" poem, but there were smiles of recognition to be had! Thanks for the evening must go to Emma Pursehouse and Simon Fletcher, but also to the indomitable Emma George from the library. I can now say without fear of contradiction, that I have two poems published in the same book as Poet Laureate Carol Anne Duffy!
The second poem accepted was "White Noise". Both of the poems, plus several more, will be included in the City Voices Creative Writers Group anthology "Landscape of Fire".
The Summer Competition was themed "Lost in the City" (of Stoke on Trent) - we had a new judge who previously worked in academia. There were a record number of entries and a selection is now on the Members Monthly poems page.
Picture courtesy of Staffordshire Sentinel News & Media.
City Voices chairman Alan Barnett held the attention of students from St Peter's school, Cobridge, as he read poetry and stories of the Potteries, in the atmospheric space of the bottle oven at Middleport Pottery. This fabulous photograph was taken by a reporter for the Sentinel.
to be chosen as the winner of the Summer competition themed "Lost in the City" (of Stoke on Trent) We had a new judge this time, and a record number of entries I believe, and I am looking forward to seeing all the other poems and getting them out there on the web-site. Hope you like the poem, and if not at least you've got a cute cat picture!
Trying to find a way
Not many people up Hanley duck - too cold.
The line for methadone in Boots shivers; make it quick.
Cat-walk of X-ray men who will never make old,
panda-eyed, hollow, with that fabulous heroin-chic.
Steamy windows. No middle-class shame in here.
On the tight-packed tables of comfort food they cluster
the Arthur Berry people built of chips and beer.
Latter-day beggars, banqueting in Bellybusters.
The city homeless claim friendships, perhaps
a night in Spoons, then shared sleeping, in a toilet block.
Or quick flash of Stanley knife, a faulty synapse;
after breakfast, he died from blood loss and shock.
Cruelly bordered by roads and retail parks, lost
amongst drugs and the fly-tipped people of the night:
a quiet row of houses. Her re-claimed home which cost
a trip to Poundland, the doors and windows bright
with optimism and fresh new coats of cheap paint.
Alleyways hide rubbish, or a pink used-condom sea.
Flower baskets defiant with marigolds, she’s no complaint;
and proud Mum sneaks in with a bowl of pot-pourri
©June Palmer 2015
On 7th October, City Voices enjoyed a wonderful day in the company of the children of St Peter's school, Cobridge. The educational outing at Middleport Pottery was planned in association with Swan Bank Church, and with Beanstalk charity, who provide volunteers to work with schools to improve literacy and reading skills. The CV team were Alan Barnett, Anita Oxford, Derek Payne, and Adam Boustead who kindly stepped in the last minute to replace Paul Williamson. The brave poet performers – never work with children, so they say! - met the students at lunchtime, and after introductions, the youngsters went for lunch and then on to the factory for a tour.
On returning, the students took part in craft activities, and spent time modelling clay bottle ovens. This was followed by a poetry session around the inclusion in poems of key words they had heard during the factory tour. The City Voices poets helped students with the composition of their poems; some lovely work was produced. Alan our chairman wishes to thank the poets for their input and for gamely dressing up in period costume. The poets had as much fun as the students themselves. The poetry session was attended also by the folks from Beanstalk, who have expressed a wish to have more involvement with City Voices, perhaps including poetry events for the adult volunteers, so watch this space!
Many thanks to Beanstalk www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk and to Middleport Pottery www.princes-regeneration.org/middleport-pottery and to St Peter's school who gave permission for the photography.