Spot the opportunity …

Next STOKE STANZA at The Leopard Hotel, Burslem: Tuesday 22nd August at 7.30pm.

It’s upstairs in this historic Potteries pub. All welcome. Please bring 15 copies of a poem to share and discuss or feel free to listen and enjoy the vibe.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with poetry and spoken word events across The Potteries and surrounding region.

Bert Flitcroft, Staffordshire Poet Laureate is running free poetry workshops at The Brampton Museum in Newcastle-under-Lyme on 10th, 17th, 21st and 22nd August. They’re part of the Museum’s ‘Maps – a Plotted History’ exhibition and will be based on people’s responses to the map collection. The workshops run from 10am until 12 noon and booking is required.

Ring 01782 619705 or email bramptonmuseum@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk.

For more details of Bert’s poetry see: www.bert-flitcroft-poetry.com

Albert Flitcroft

There are also opportunities to win cash prizes, get free tickets to hear Roger McGough and appear in a special 10th anniversary anthology through the Nantwich Words & Music Festival poetry competition. A former winner and several time runner-up, The Leopard’s very own Phil Williams is organising the competition this year.

You can find full details of the competition via this link.

The deadline for entries is 4th September and there’s an 11th September deadline for the Festival’s first song-writing competition.

So get writing and get a move on! Phil’s on tenterhooks himself as he’s been long-listed for the Live Canon first collection competition – see: http://www.livecanon.co.uk/poetry-competition

Mary Williams (no relation) is another local poet long-listed this year. Best wishes and best of British to them all.

Finally, there’s an opportunity to attend the unveiling of a memorial to one of the region’s literary figures, the war-poet, critic and ‘modernist’ T E Hulme. The unveiling takes place at 2pm on Saturday 23rd September at Hallwater on the A53 near Endon. It will be followed by a performance by the Community Choir in The Methodist Church, Station Road, Endon where there will be an exhibition of photographs. The event should finish around 4pm. If you are interested RSVP to Suzannesillitoe@gmail.com or ring 01782 503969.

In the meantime, the regulars have been busy.

Geoff Sutton has continued his series of sonnets based on lines from Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce (and with a nod towards Robert Frost).

INVISIBLE FRIENDS

he strides the camomile lawn at sunset
she meets him coming the opposite way
crushed leaves smell rancid and the dew is wet
boots leave her footprints sticky from the clay
one has to turn round       feign a change of plan
say    MANY MILES I GO BEFORE I SLEEP
plead reckless weariness  do what they can
to demonstrate promises they have to keep
no moon shines just car lights strobing through trees
neither knows which the best way to walk is
they hesitate hair ruffled by the breeze
at last she smiles goes widdershins    his
hand on her cheek rests light as a feather
they stroll on into the dark together

Malcolm McMinn has supplied a Sapphic Ode.

ODE TO A VILLAGE CHURCH

If you could talk what tales you’d tell.
You’d tell of honest men long gone
Who’d heed the tolling of your bell
Come rain or sun.

You knew the squire so rich and grand
Who dressed his wife in silk and lace
And all the folk who worked his land
And knew their place.

You saw the tragic loss amid
The clash and roar of civil war.
Men fought and died as women hid
Behind your door.

Then other conflicts came and went,
Men’s names engraved on stone or brass.
Though follies men may well repent,
They come to pass.

But now neglected and forlorn,
No bell rings from your Saxon tower,
Your aspect seems to say you mourn
You look so dour.

No use now for your Norman font,
And some day soon your walls might fall.
If you could talk you might not want
To speak at all.

Leopard sig (small)

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About theleopard66

I am a member of the Stoke Stanza of The Poetry Society and run a bi-monthly Poems & Pints event in Alsager.
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