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Southend Poetry News


Those of us who left our warm and possibly still festive homes last Wednesday for the first Southend Poetry Group's meeting for 2017 were amply rewarded by hearing some very diverse and special poetry presented by our members for possible publication in our next Anthology (edition 33 )
I obliviously cannot mention them all but how pleased we were that our latest members, Nichola, Peter and Brian presented their poems for the first time. I am sure that many of us looked round our gardens next morning and thought of Peter's Oleander Plant ! Also we extend a special welcome to Mr Laurie Carter who has visited us 3 times now and hope he will continue to come and enjoy our Poetry Group sessions.
Well done everyone who managed to attend and a reminder to send your poems to Dorothy as soon as possible.
Please consider the work involved in getting the Anthology together and take special care in submitting your work exactly as you wish it to be presented, especially if you use an archaic  or unusual word. This involves members in the checking of their proofs to ensure that no misprints occur.
Peggy Sue's, 1063, London Road  Leigh  at 7.30 pm  will be open again this month on Tuesday 10th January. This is an opportunity for those of us who enjoy  reading our poems aloud with an Open Mike. It is organised by Jay Laker who gives his encouragement to amateur poets of all abilities.
Next month on February 1st, for the first half we have member David( Timmins)  presenting an introduction to Haiku through the travels of Matsuo Basho , with the possibility of a specialist visitor reading one in Japanese. Member Rob ( Kingston ) will lead the second half when he will invite members to read their own or favourite haikus.  It sounds like a very unusual and delightful evening.
I will leave you now to assimilate all this information and enjoy the rest of January, with plenty of stimulation and inspiration arising from the frosty weather. Every good wish, and  keep writing, Shirley ( Secretary)


Last Wednesday,7th December 2016, our Southend Poetry Group enjoyed the ultimate treat of a talk by member Linden ( Currie ) on the subject of Old English Poetry. The second half of the session was about riddles and their modern translations. Those of us who had a guess about what the riddle really was about were mostly hopelessly wrong.I came completely unstuck about one concerning a red onion. My face was also red after that one! Linden is studying for a P.H.D. in the subject and we were so privileged to hear her talk. She also allowed us to examine her own very valuable Exeter Book. Our sincere to Linden for this unique experience which I am sure we will all remember for a long time.
At the meeting Dorothy suggested that we  might like to make a donation to a worthwhile charity to which our members responded in a very generous spirit.  I therefore  suggest that at our meeting in January, we hold a collection for members to make a voluntary individual donation to the charity,  if they so wish.

We have also had details of a Paperback printing offer from Bob Fowkes -  who are offering a low cost printing service to our members. They give an example of cost : There is a standard fee of £50 which includes the preparation of the files and the printer upload charge. Thereafter the cost of printing the books is calculated at 70p plus 1p per page. e.g. to print 10 reader's copies of a book of 200 pages would be : set up fee £50.00. Printing cost £27.00 Plus delivery at cost. Book size A 5 in Black and White.Colour books and large format, slightly more expensive.

If you are interested  , for more details please look at 

If you want a chance to have an open mike session before Christmas, Peggy Sues will be pleased to welcome you this coming Tuesday,13th December, at 1063, London Road Leigh . Other poetry events may be found by scanning the websites. Meantime, please make a note in your diaries for January 4th to come and read your poems you would like to be considered for publication in our Annual Anthology.You are entitled to submit your work if you have attended our Group  at least twice during the past year.

Meanwhile, every good wish for Christmas and the happiest of inspired New Years, Shirley ( Secretary)


Interest in poetry in Essex is definitely on the upsurge at the moment. This is because of the amazing effort of Derek ( Adams ) and others to get the Essex Poetry Festival off the ground and appeal to many poets, well known and struggling, to come along and give readings of their poetry.
Our own Southend Poetry Group members, Adrian, Dorothy and Mervyn read at some  Essex libraries and were well received. In addition to this , Derek himself gave readings at Galleywood and Rochford  libraries.
A clash of dates with my annual school  lunch meant I was able to attend at the Cramphorn Theatre but I have read the glowing accounts of those who did.

Last Wednesday, at Southend, we were privileged indeed to have our own corner of the Essex Festival in which 2 published poets, Alison Hill and Barbara Marsh came to read their exceptional work for us. This again was organised by Derek for which we offer our sincere thanks.

Away from the Festival events, there have been some exciting poetry nights organised throughout the town. On the 20th September, 'Say  Your Piece'  was organised by Venus Rubortazzi at the Marlborough Head Pub, West Street Rochford. This was a rather noisy but fun evening for poets including the fabulous Olmo , Gill West and lesser known but  highly talented local poets. Then last night , Tuesday 11th October, was the usual music and poetry night at Peggy Sue's, warmly encouraged by Jay Laker. It was with much interest that we saw the young Jason Pilley, son of the revered Stephen Pilley. He performed his poetry with enthusiasm and   gusto. A true joy to watch and one might say - ' A chip of the old block!'

Other events to look out for are the Estuary Fringe Poetry evenings at O'Neill's pub, Southend, and Annabeth Glittermouse's very social poetry evenings she has put on at the old Smac pub in Leigh.

Do not forget Dorothy's notice at our last meeting that poems and writings about Essex are wanted by Essex Belongs to Us publications. E mail address to send to is

Next month we have poet and author Andrew Summers presenting his talk on the poets with memorials in Westminster Abbey followed by a read a round of our own or favourite poems for the second half.

With our next years programme in mind, please let me know if you would like to lead or present an evening or half a session on any poetical theme or poet of your own choice plus a  date that would suit you.

Meanwhile - all in all an excellent time for Poetry in Essex. Watch this space ! Every good wish, Shirley ( Secretary)


The day following our superb evening at the Poetry Group, Paul and I set off for Carmarthenshire in Wales for a Rally in our old Romahome caravanette. Complete change of weather followed us replacing the sultry heat of Essex with torrential pouring rain which left us completely unable to explore our surroundings for the first day and confined to staying in. Still this had its advantages as I was able to contemplate fully the special occasion of Ian's talk the day before. I had a copy of his booklet 'The Battle of Ashingdon (1016)' with me and read again the unique formation of sonnets to give an historical yet poetical account of these events. We were so privileged to hear the explanation from Ian of how this writing came about and the research involved in tracking down the fabled details.
Also, Ian gave us an insight of how his love of writing came about even as a teenager and remained up to present times.One of his first sonnets 'She hardly says a word', was particularly revealing ! This was all followed by members reading from their own collections. David ( Timmins), a sonneteer in his own right, read from his own work, while an example from Wordsworth was read by Richard. All in all an evocative evening and our sincere thanks to Ian for presenting it to us.

Referring back to our Welsh holiday, the sun did eventually shine and we treated ourselves to a visit to Laugherne,the home of Dylan Thomas and his family from 1949 to his death in America in 1953. Here we viewed with some trepidation this precarious little house set in the grandeur of the cliff overlooking the Taf estuary. It is open to the public and we looked round in awe while listening to recorded poems of this Welsh genius of a poet.Every word given its full glory and we stood there for ages just drinking it all in.There was a video of his life and what a naughty gifted child he was! Often sneaking off school with the knowledge of the teachers to write his early poetry. A short distance from the house was his 'Writing Shed' and although no doubt this was a reconstruction, the atmosphere was so realistic down to torn pieces of paper on the floor. The experience was riveting. It is here he wrote 'Under Milk Wood'. In the nearby St Martins Church we saw his grave - a mound of earth marked with a simple white cross which also commemorated the life of his wife Caitlin.

Returning home on the Thursday, we went to the book launch of a poetry book called 'With Lots of Love' held at the Royal Hotel, Southend. this was compiled by Mrs Yvie Williams in aid of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.Her son Arron aged 25 became a paraplegic after a rugby accident and there are thousands like him who have been left with this life changing challenge. A few of our members, including myself, have poems in this book together with Yvie's family and friends who do not usually write poetry but felt compelled to respond. It is the most moving poetry book I have ever read and I urge you to have a look at it and maybe buy copy at £10.00 - all profits of which will go to the Foundation. I will bring my copy to our Group next time so you can see it for yourselves.

Next month we have our special event of the visiting published poets from the Essex Poetry Festival, Alison Hill and Barbara Marsh.( Further details please see our web site).Should you wish to bring visitors to this event, please note there will be an entrance fee for them of £2.00 per person. This is to allay the cost of the expense involved.

Ah well - the book of Dylan Thomas' poetry I ordered has just arrived in the post so I am off to savour his words once more. See you in October and Keep writing. Every good wish Shirley ( Secretary ).


It was so good to see how many of our members turned up last Wednesday for our Poetry Workshop, expertly organised by chairman Dorothy. It was also good to see Robert (Hallmann ) again and to welcome a new 1st time visitor, Peter, who incidentally, very sportingly produced an excellent poem entitled 'Wasted Energy'. We hope that he enjoyed the evening and will come again. I think many of us surprised ourselves in what was written during this session. Adrian's 'The Seaside' was a classic and Hazel's interpretation of 'The Wild Cat' was incredible Well done every one !

Some dates for your diary are as follows :

Tuesday ,9th August,from 7.30pm the monthly poetry event at Peggy Sues' Cafe,1063, London Road ,Leigh, on the way to the Elms and opposite the NHS building.A friendly, relaxed atmosphere and warm welcome by compère Jay Laker. Free entry.

Also to look out for are the sessions of poetry run by John Bulley and Mark Sharp in the O'Neill's Pub Southend . These are usually on a Thursday evening and details are to be found on their face book under Estuary Fringe, Dangerous Poetry Very lively evenings with great encouragement given to new poets. Free entry but a collection for the homeless.

Sunday , 4th September at 4pm, we are invited to read our poems in Hadleigh Old Fire Station. This is an informal and friendly event.

Sunday, 11th September, 10am to 4 pm, we have a table booked at SOSAC open day at the Cliffs' Pavilion. This is an opportunity to sell our anthologies etc. and give some publicity to the Group.

Saturday,24th September, there will be the Leigh Book Fair, details of which have not yet been confirmed.

Wednesday , 5th October we have 2 visiting published poets to talk about their work. They are : Alison Hill , author of 'Sisters in Spitfires', and Barbara Marsh, author of 'To the Boneyard'. Further details about these poets can be found on our Web Site.

In the meantime of course we have our own special poetry event on Wednesday, 7th September , when we can hear historian, author and poet Ian ( Yearsley ) talk about his work with sonnets in the' Battle of Ashingdon 1016' and his kind invitation to bring along some of our own , or favourites, for us also to enjoy in the second half of the programme.

NB Those of our poets who submitted poems for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation poetry book have been invited to the Book Launch on Thursday, 15th September, at 7.30pm, at The Royal Hotel, 1, High Street, Southend. SS1 1JE. Dress is smart casual and the organiser, Mrs Yvonne Williams would appreciate a reply. Or please let me know and I will pass it on.

Our thanks yet again to Colin, for now acting as treasurer. He is a welcome and valued new member of the committee and certainly came to the Group's aid when we most needed it.

That is all my news for now folks. In case you were wondering, it rained most days on our sea voyage in July but old Aeolus was up for it ! It was just her crew that got a bit waterlogged ! Every good wish and keep writing, Shirley ( Secretary).


The Poetry Group gave a reading from Gold - selected poems from 30 years of Southend Poetry at Elsie's Place, Leigh Community Centre, 71-73 Elm Road, SS9 1SP Leigh-on-Sea on 19th June.


GOLD book launch

Councillor Ann Holland, Chairman of S.O.S.A.C with Dorothy Turner, Adrian Green and Derek Adams at an Essex Book Festival event to launch GOLD, at the Forum, Southend


Gold - 30 years of Southend Poetry




Gold: 30 years of Southend Poetry was launched on Thursday 12th March as part of this year's Essex Book Festival at the Forum, Elmer Square, Southend On Sea, SS1 1NE.



Southend Poetry 30, the latest anthology from the Southend Poetry Group, is now printed and available.

southend poetry group

The Southend Poetry Group is now on Facebook
October has been so full of goodies for poets to enjoy and it is not over yet!
We started off at the Southend Poetry Group with the attendance of 2 special visiting  poets in collaboration with the Essex Poetry Festival and kindly arranged for us by Derek Adams.These were Nancy Mattson, originally from the Canadian prairies , and London poet, Peter Phillips. Personally I found Nancy’s enunciation a delight to listen to and so evocative of her past life.  Then Peter with his dry wit and amusing poems about Oscar the dog, were equally inspiring. Well done the pair of them !
The following Saturday, October 5th , found a good representation of our Group attending the main event of the festival at the Cramphorn Theatre. The Open Mike event was a good opportunity for us to read our poems on stage to a receptive audience. It was also the occasion for the launching of the superb poetry book of Essex Poetry, From the City to the Saltings, edited by our own Madeline, Dorothy, Derek and Adrian. This book is available from Adrian at a fair price of £6.00.Many of the group’s poets are represented in this book.
Finally, on Saturday, 19th, 10 am – 4 pm  is the Southend Book and Arts fair in the Southend Victoria Shopping Arcade . Although we have not been asked to read our poems this year – the acoustics there are awful, we will be manning a stall of our Anthologies together with the Essex Hundred Series and would welcome your help should you be in the vicinity. Anyway, there is nothing to stop us from grabbing non suspecting passers by and forcing them to listen to a poem or two.     
Just one more point to mention. My small book of poetry and stories: Aeolus Ruler of the Winds, is now on display in the Book Inn, opposite the  Leigh Church in Leigh. On Saturday ,October 26th, at  2pm I have been given the honour of doing a Book signing.  I would so love to see any of you who happen to be passing.
Meanwhile , KEEP WRITING !Every good wish, your Secretary Shirley. 


The Southend Poetry Group were invited to provide a poetry reading at the conclusion of Hadleigh Art Trail on Sunday 13th October in Hadleigh Old Fire Station. 

Dorothy Turner

Dorothy Turner

Penny Furby

Penny Furby

Ian Yearsley

Ian Yearsley