Stanza Dates for 2018

Here are the dates you’ve all been waiting for!

The Stoke Stanza sessions upstairs at The Leopard Hotel, Burslem.

All on Tuesdays at 7.30pm.

January 16th
February 20th
20th March
10th April
15th May
19th June
17th July
21st August
18th September
16th October
20th November



Admission free. Please bring 15 copies of a poem you’d like to read and discuss, the feedback is second-to-none. Feel free to sit and listen or join in the discussions. We hope to see you in the New Year!

If you’re looking for a poetic stocking-filler this Christmas, then check out the results of the Nantwich Words & Music Festival competition organised by Stanza member, Phil Williams here – and order your copy of the anniversary anthology, Petrol & Matches. It’s a bargain at just £5 and includes winning entries from 5 years of the competition plus reflections and lyrics by singer-songwriters and Festival impresarios Thea Gilmore and Nigel Stonier. There are also poems by judges and writers connected with the Festival including Kim Moore, Elisabeth Sennit Clough and John Lindley.

You can order your copy from Phil Williams tel: 01270 882060, email

As we’re running out of road for 2017 here’s a road poem by John Williams.


‘Old copies of novels are being used to help prolong the life of the UK’s motorways

Over 2,500,000 books were acquired during the construction of the M6. The novels were used in the the preparation of the top layer of the motorway, according to a spokesman from Tarmac.’ – BBC News

Woes that get to print help the traffic flow
laid in the roadbed of the motorway:
A verdict on the books by Tarmac Co.
now every page can transport us away,
best seller or chick lit, each with a spine
of asphalt binding them all together.
Big rigs and car carriers smelling of grime
welcome non-skid reading in wet weather
and ride on strong emotions after all.
This unexpected upturn for the page
runs under fragmentary greenbelt and tall
cities of the Silicon Valley Age.
Quick reads to escape. Slow for love misled:
literature put to work, and put to bed.

PHYSICALITY | John Williams

Perhaps physics was simpler in those times.
They hacked stone free, truckers carried the ore
and metal shot from the fire in straight lines,
thundering into sand to make the armour.
Then poking the charwood for nubs of gold,
they battled for breath in the sulphur smoke,
beat dents out of blades once the mould was cold
and sliced hairs in half at a single stroke.
The other science to come out of the caves
with measuring sticks had questions to ask:
why the sun shines, melts frost and sends heat waves
and why we speak much clearer in a mask.
The dull old gods, torn out of the phone book,
were trumped by the sunbed’s new bronze-tan look.


i.m. Jeff Buckley d.29 May 1997

you said once you were ‘rootless trailer trash’
though back in Orange County you had roots
surely you weren’t totally out of cash
when you drowned in Memphis harbour with your boots

on but sing was all you did what a voice
Italian-Irish tenor from your dad
Indios from your Zonian mom some choice
but rootless roots were all you ever had

After you’d sung Leonard’s Hallelujah
‘goodbye. I love you all’ was what you said
trouble was he never really knew yer
a very short time later you were dead

the Mississipi river runs so deep
the current gives me bad dreams when I sleep

Leopard santa sig


About theleopard66

I am a member of the Stoke Stanza of The Poetry Society and run Poems & Pints events in Alsager.
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