Last Month’s Poetry

2020 Meetings

10 February 2020   Theme ‘Beginnings

We were few in number but the range of poetry we heard was impressive and the theme of ‘Beginnings’ proved a successful one. Old favourites such as Donne, Hardy, Tennyson and Yeats featured and an interesting take was Chris’s quiz on the opening lines of well-known poems. John and Dave Johnson proved very good at this while yours truly failed to trouble the scorers. Over-all it was a highly enjoyable hour and a half.


14 January 2020   Theme; Other Voices

This theme took us all over the world, with contributions from Scotland, Australia, Germany, Greece, and Northern Ireland. Once again it was a tremendously varied selection featuring a number of lesser-known poets such as David Morley, Les Murray, Paul Celan, Margaret Walker and Derek Mahon among others.


2019 Meetings

8th January 2019

We heard a wide range of poetry on the theme of ‘Beginnings’ There were a number of famous poets covered such as Hardy,Tennyson, Auden and Yeats but also some probably less familiar ones such as Bishop, MacCaig and Muir. The interpretation of ‘Beginnings’ was wide  covering the New Year, birth, refugees ,animals , baptism and a post-nuclear world. We decided,as can be read in the Members’ Pick section, to recommend Wendy Cope’s poem ‘Bloody Men’


12 February 2019

The theme of ‘Love’ proved popular and a wide range of poems were read in a most appropriate setting in front of an open fire at Mother Shipton’s Inn.Shakespeare’s sonnets featured and discussions were had about his sexuality and about musical versions of his sonnets by David Gilmour and Rufus Wainwright . The idea of song lyrics as a possible theme for a future meeting was aired. 


19th March 2019

Although the theme, at first sight, seemed troublesome we heard an excellent and varied range of poetry. Well-known poets such as Seamus Heaney,Tony Harrison,Wendy Cope and Wallace Stevens rubbed shoulders with West Indian and Yorkshire dialect poems. There were serious poems and light-hearted ones too so that all-in-all it was a most entertaining evening. 


16th April 2019

By common consent it was felt that this was one of the most enjoyable meetings we have had. It began with an attempt to define ‘Lyric’ referencing Aristotle and Ian McMillan (an unlikely pairing) before John ran through a selection of Shakespeare extracts featuring songs. We then went on to listen to a terrific selection of lyrics.It was quite an eclectic mix ranging from the humour of Tom Lehrer, Pam Ayres and Flanders and Swann’s ‘I’m a Gnu’ to marvellous lyrics from Dylan, Springsteen, Mazzy Star, Donovan, Simon & Garfunkel, Stone Roses, Yardbirds and Reverend and the Makers,  Wow !  We were also treated to some live song by Chris with ‘Drink to me only with thine eyes’ and Dave with ‘Dirty Old Town’ It was such an excellent evening that we hope to re-visit the theme soon. 


 14th May 2019

As to be expected with a theme of ‘Regret’ the poetry of A.E.Housman figured prominently with a number of his poems being read and enjoyed. Hardy, Tennyson, Wyatt and Bronte featured in addition to more modern poets such as Clive James,Elizabeth Jennings and James Nash.Even Pam Ayres cropped up again with her comic poem about not having looked after her teeth well enough. 


6th June 2019

The free choice theme was very popular with an excellent range of poetry being read and discussed. We decided it would be good to continue next month and then have a Eurovision-style vote to choose three poems to recommend to visitors to this site. Poets who featured were as follows: Donne, Heaney, Mackay Brown, Owen, Enright, Harrison, Duffy, Sydney and Sassoon. 


9th July 2019 

Despite reduced numbers ( Yorkshire Show effect? ) we continued our free choice theme and heard some fine poems from the pens of Yeats,Tennyson, Stevens , Longley, Armitage  Blake and Vaughan among others. Voting then took place ( I bet you are all agog ) and the results can be seen in the Members’ Pick section of the site. 


13th August 2019 

The age of doubt in Victorian times was well represented by poetry from Tennyson, Arnold and Clough in addition to Hopkins’s dark sonnets. Other poets included Brooke,Auden,Wordsworth and O’Driscoll. It was decided that with such a rich field we would keep the theme for another month.



24th September 2019

A continuation of last month’s topic which some doubted we’d ever finish but with faith in our leader John Forster we concluded the theme with a fine range of poetry. Hardy and Browning from the Victorian era were prominent but a range of centuries was covered featuring Titchborne, Donne,Larkin, R.S.Thomas and the popular Persian poet Rumi.


15th October 2019

We managed to cover about 20 poems ranging from those writers more associated with prose such as Bierce, Meredith, Mackay Brown and Joyce to the humorous MacGonagall and Bilston. Less well-known poets such as Nesbitt, Alun Lewis and Helen Dunmore were well received as were some of our old favourites, Housman, Larkin, Hardy, Hughes and Edward Thomas. Despite the challenge, we finished on the dot at nine o’clock. 


12th November 2019

Another excellent range of poets was read with a strong American presence. Poems from Plath, Whitman. Sandberg, Stevens Dickinson were supplemented by Bronte, Clare, Mitchell and Williams plus some Aboriginal poetry and one by Brecht. The interpretation of ‘Identity’ led to some fascinating readings in another stimulating meeting. 


10th December 2019

John, our leader, was absent (apologies sent ) on a tiger hunt and despite lacking his control and erudition, we managed an enjoyable evening. I think it’s fair to say that it was the most eclectic mix of poetry we have listened to thus far. There were the usual well-known poets such as Donne, Dylan and Edward Thomas, Yeats, Fanthorpe and Duffy, but these were supplemented by more obscure poets such as John Short, Richard Wilbur, Gareth Owen, Murray Young, Michael Rosen and one of Tonia’s own poems. We even had two songs ; a 15th Century carol, and lyrics from the Handsome Family. Two poets whom I hadn’t heard of ,but worth following up were Robin Robertson and Ken Rexrorth.