Chiswick: 20 June 2017

After a change of venue because of the heat wave, John and Judy Williams kindly hosted our meeting in the cool of their back garden. The selection of poems was as varied as ever with the quality matching the pleasantness of the environment. Some readers were plainly suffering from the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times!”; Carol Ann Duffy’s caustic exclusive poem for The Guardian about the Conservatives’ election campaign, Anne-Marie Fyfe’s Newsflash on Kennedy’s assassination, WS Merwin’s ironic verse on giving thanks when all around you is going wrong and even WH Davies’ lament about there being “no time to stand and stare” all fell into this category.

We had two poems about ill-fated sea voyages, Sir John Franklin’s attempt to sail the North West passage, and a wonderfully descriptive verse by Thomas Love Peacock on a philosopher’s totally inadequate self- assembled craft and his refusal to accept afterwards that its demise was inevitable. We had evocative descriptions of dusk falling by Goethe and on Venice by Lord Byron and delightful descriptions of landscapes by Thomas Hardy, Hugh Macdiarmid and the subtle rhythms of Gerald Manley Hopkins. The triumph of the evening, however, was Harvey Rose’s reading of An Overworked Elocutionist about a boy who has totally forgotten the set text he has to recite and hilariously gets by, by cobbling together odd lines from other poems he remembers. A wonderful evening!

Kathy Hall Campaign Carol Anne Duffy
Paul  Williamson Weathers Thomas Hardy
Judy Williams Venice – Palazzo Lioni Lord Byron
John Lavers Thanks W.S. Merwin
Annie Cartland Scotland Small? Hugh Macdiarmid
Sarah Haimendorf Dusk has Fallen Goethe
Trevor Barnes St Peter of Scotland Thomas Love Peacock
Harvey Rose An Overworked Elocutionist Carolyn Wells
Claire Williamson (read by her husband) Leisure WH Davies
Marjorie Wiles Binsey Poplars Gerald Manley Hopkins
John Williams About the last member of Sir John Franklin’s expedition to die Vicar of Edenhall 1859
Susan Stanley-Carroll Newsflash Anne-Marie Fyfe

Next meeting on Tuesday 25th July, 2017 in a Bedford Park garden.

1 Response

  1. What a lovely report this month – of for such an idyllic setting to read in! A great selection of poems too – I shall be investigating the Franklin’s Expedition and a couple of others. Binsey Poplars is a firm favourite of mine.

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