On Tuesday night, The Fizz 7 at Polesworth Abbey refectory delivered, as promised, a night filled with original work from very talented, local poets. The evening was dedicated to the debut reading of poems selected for phase two of The Polesworth Poetry Trail of Polesworth, Warwickshire.
The evening began with Richard Meredith reading a poem written by Theo Osborn, his nine year old grandson titled ‘The magic and beauty of Malvern’ which was beautifully scripted and befitting of nature.
The New Polesworth Poets, who consist of 16 poets, performed their work in the order which they may appear on the trail, creating a vocal trail for the gathered audience. Within the audience were local historians, park rangers from
and local coal miners - who’d inspired the poets with recollections of their mining days. Pooley Country Park
Brick Making Remembered by Peter Grey. Peter’s poem remembers the Polesworth Brickworks that was on the site of Ensor Drive and Kiln Way.
Pooley Hall by Gary Londgen. Gary’s poem reflects on the history of Pooley Hall and its association with the Cockayne Family with hints at a more recent resident Edwin Starr.
Unrippled by Sarah James. Sarah’s poem takes the theme of the canal and the swans and builds a link between the Abbey, the original poets and Pooley Pit.
Advice to a Geordie Lad at Pooley by Barry Patterson. Barry’s poem takes the theme of the migration of Miners from the North East of England in the 1950’s and 60’s to the Warwickshire coalfields.
Living Echoes by Gina Coates. Gina’s poem reflects on the roles of women, some once miners and then later as wives and mothers, describing their hardship and fears.
Pooley Miner’s Tale by Barry Hunt. Barry is a songwriter and musician whose father once worked in Pooley pit, his poem takes the form of a folk song incorporating the lives of the miners and their families along with the regeneration of the natural environment. As Barry was unable to attend the evening, Peter Grey delivered the song in a befitting manner.
Women’s memories of Mining Menfolk by Dea Costelloe. Dea spent some time talking to the wives and daughters of the ex-miners for inspiration, from which she created her chatty monologue poem that is rich with memories of ordinary lives.
Pooley Pit Ponies by Margaret Torr. Margaret compares the lives of the Pooley pit ponies with that of the wild ponies of the Carmargue, who are seen as a “Gift of God”. It shows a really different outlook from the ponies’ point of view.
In their footsteps by Marjorie Neilson. Marjorie’s poem explores the generations of miners that followed each other into the pit, also reflecting on the feelings of their mothers.
Jutt by little old me. The poem is also about the pit ponies, one in particular who was down in Pooley pit and would only pull six loaded wagons.
A Cry by Janet Smith. Janet’s poem is a conversation between the poet and a female owl and reflects the majestic freedom of the owl.
Them up there don’t know us down here exist by Gary Carr.
’s poem takes the motorway as its theme and reflects that in the rushing lives of the travellers, they do not realise that the country park exits. Gary
Aloft by Janis Kind. Janis’ poem takes the view point of a buzzard circling Pooley mound and reflects on its view of the motorway.
Black Swan Possibility. Jacqui’s sonnet harks back to Drayton’s poem that is on the first part of the trail, and that in Drayton’s day it was thought that Swan’s could only be white and that a black swan was a myth, and begs the question that swans could be a myriad of colours. As Jacqui was unable to attend the evening, the poem was delivered by Margaret Torr.
Ladies of the woods by Terri Jolland. Terri’s poem takes the silver birch trees as its theme and how they have recolonised the Pooley site. The trees take on a mystical presence as they perform this miracle of regeneration, often held in myths as protectors against witchcraft and at the same time used to make witches brooms.
Dreams of Alvecote by Colin Henchley. Colin’s poem talks of the delight and legend of Alvecote priory as place where dreams are born and enacted in this tranquil enchanting ruin.
Kite – a collaborative poem by Malcolm Dewhirst and the year 3 children at Birchwood Primary School 2011. Malcolm was commissioned to work with the children, exploring what it would be like to be a kite, then helping the children to make their own poetry kites. The children gave Malcolm most the words to use in this poem, which explores the idea of the wise wind being the teacher and the kite being the pupil learning to fly.
Mal Dewhirst thanked everyone involved with the Polesworth Poetry Trail project, bringing the first session to a close. After a brief interval, the open mic session provided a suitable contrast enabling a host of poets to perform their work.
Andy Biddulph performed two pieces; the first a humorous account of lightening - the second called ‘On the lump’.
Terri Jolland performed her poem ‘Canal Child’ which captured the colourful imagery of life associated with the waterways.
Gary Carr read three short pieces, ‘The Other Night’, ‘Caught in Motion’ and ‘Window lickers’, which depicted the world of the poet behind glass or an invisible boundary eager to capture the passing detail.
Sarah James, from Droitwich, who performed two stunning pieces; ‘The trapped bird’ and ‘Instrumental’ each detailed the precise movement of emotion, motion and a child, her son.
Gina Coates’ poem ‘War of the roses’ retold the history of Cockayne and Burdett’s fatal duel in fields near Bramcote.
Tony Owen’s poem ‘To the East’ evoked strong emotions in relation to women of war. His second poem, ‘My father’s blue eyes’ recalled touching childhood memories of a coal mining father.
Alec Simpson’s read a short extract from his autobiography ‘A Boy at War’ recalling a tale of being lost in the fog - a warm account of his upbringing in
. Arbroath, Scotland
Gary Longden’s ‘Royal Wedding’ provided a humorous slant on royal reporting. His poem ‘To whom it may concern’ was a fitting tribute to a typewriter factory which recently closed after 134 years of production.
Margaret Torr was assisted by Dea Costelloe, to deliver her poem ‘Lamant’ which depicted the tale of a mother raising a boy to becomes a miner, followed by the darker voice of the mine who takes the miner into her eternal womb.
Janet Smith recited her poem’s ‘Withen’s Walk Music’, ‘In the Priest House’ and ‘Washing off a Seam’ each beautifully tailored for performance, depicting her talents for capturing the smallest of details.
Dea Costelloe recalled a bygone age along ‘Miner’s Walk’, describing their walk to work amidst
’s nature and the sturdy oak trees grown from their strewn apple cores. Pooley Park
Peter Grey delivered the harsh realities of ‘A Brick maker’s Lot’ relaying the working conditions, the unknown dangers and back breaking work in each shift.
Ian Ward delighted the audience with his short poem dedicated to home ‘My York’, then ignited the atmosphere with ‘Delta Devil Blues’ a favorite piece for several of the poets.
Hench gave a dramatic finale to the evening with his poem ‘The reflection strata – the little veins of Pooley park’ consisting of four poems, four styles and four stanzas, representing four strata layers beneath
. Pooley Park
All in all, a fabulous evening crammed with the very best poetry, all home grown and honed within the
Midlands area. The next Poetry Fizz 8 is on Tuesday, 19th July, at Polesworth Abbey refectory and will feature Matt Merritt – doors open at 7ish with a prompt start at 7.30pm – everyone is welcome! For further details: Mal Dewhirst’s blog, http://pollysworda.wordpress.com/
Friday, 20th May - Spoken Worlds at The Old Cottage Tavern, Byrkley Street,
Burton-on- . An open mic event organized by Gary Carr begins at 7.30pm – everyone welcome – for further details please ring Gary on 07791 654 908 Trent
This was just an extra post that I thought I'd post mid week as a cheeky treat. See you Saturday. Enjoy!