Poetry ID

Home of the North Hertfordshire Stanza of the Poetry Society (UK)

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‘My Story’ Fest, at Hitchin Library, 17July 2022


As part of Hertfordshire libraries ‘My Story’ creative days around the county, some members of Poetry ID took part in the open-mic event in the afternoon. Of a total of nine story-tellers and poets, we were: Mark Randles, Rose Saliba, David Van Cauter, Simon Cockle and myself.

The library was full of varies types of creatives, from differing art styles to workshops for children of all ages, both inside and out-front of the library, while it was shady. A musician with her own folk-compositions sang from her recent album, before and after the open mic-session ( I now feel really bad as I don’t know her name, nor in fact, any others. Note: research needed.)

We each had approx 5 minutes, a reasonably normal time, to offer our work, and unsurprisingly we failed to stick to the time limit but pulled it back towards the finish. Finally only having over-run by 15 minutes.

Juices, tea, coffee and delicious cakes were welcome in those few minutes we could sneak upstairs.

All in all a very pleasant way to spend a summer’s afternoon with fellow creatives of all description.

We meet fortnightly via zoom, also fortnightly at The Settlement and these extra outings to ‘perform’ our poetry are a nice additional outlets for our enthusiasms and to meet for different occasions.

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Latest Anthology Launched at David’s Bookshop, Letchworth: A Sackful of Clouds

Tuesday 13th, July, and many Poetry ID members and others met for the evening where they were able to mingle first, then listen to sixteen of the twenty-one poets available to read from the anthology. Some of us had not previously met, except via Zoom, so it was a particularly memorable evening. Memorable too, in that the book includes some poems by the late John Gohorry and a forward briefing his life and his enthusiasm for poetry and Poetry ID. He was the initial proposer of an anthology and this year sees the 10th annual anthology from Poetry ID: A Sackful of Clouds.

More readings from the anthology in the second-half but also bonus poems to whet our appetites for other events. Thanks to all who joined us for the evening and helped it cover the whole gamut of emotions and show the calibre of poets in the group and the health of poetry in the area.

Congratulations to Davids Bookshop and staff for a warm reception and a cool area in the cafe for an audience to be comfortable, with drinks in hand from the bar and feel among friends.

A Sackful of Clouds is currently available at £6.00, contact Poetry ID via website or Facebook or a member.

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Launch of John Gohorry: Bold Heart from Ten Books & Essays by Divers Hands

Friends, essayists and readers who spoke and read at David’s Bookshop launch.

Bold Heart ISBN 978 1912524758 5 Shoestring Press. £10.00

It’s always gratifying to see a good-sized crowd at a bookshop event, and even more so when the event is an evening launch of a poetry anthology cum prose tribute to a local poet. John Gohorry (born Donald Smith) was poet-in-residence at the estimable David’s Bookshop, where this launch was held. John was also for many years a member of Poetry ID, an inspirer and motivator of fellow poets, and the instigator of what is now a long-running poetry anthology showcasing the group’s work. I didn’t know John, as I am a very recent arrival in the Poetry ID fold, but it is clear from the sparkling and eloquent tributes paid to him by five writers and academics on the night ( Stuart Henson, Glyn Purseglove, John Greening, Merryn Williams, John Lane and David Van-Cauter) that he was a humane, compassionate, highly creative and charismatic person. His poetry encompassed the broadest range of subjects, from humorous recollection of a camping trip to Shakespearian anomalies and the nature of identity. His formidable poetic dexterity wrapped these subjects in an equally diverse number of forms, including haiku, rhyming couplets and poems sprinkled with subtle end and internal rhymes. John’s sudden death was a shock to the poetry community, but his Bold Heart beats on through his work.

by David Birkett

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“My Story” in Poetry

My Story’ is an Arts Council funded project that Hertfordshire Libraries have been running for the last two years. In essence, encouraging the people of Hertfordshire to submit their memories/stories of growing up in Hertfordshire focussing on adolescence and transition. These stories have been shared on our web pages on Herts Memories and have been used as inspiration for various different workshops (Creator Days) in the creative arts.

The ‘My Story’ festival at Watford Library on Saturday 29th May is a celebration of all the work that has taken place throughout the project. One of the Creator Days focussed on poetry so we have invited some of the poets involved in the project to perform some of their poems alongside guest poet, Paul Eccentric. Poetry ID member, Mark Randles will be one of the readers.

The event taking place between 3 and 4pm is ticketed and charged at £5 per adult. Tickets can be booked online (via the link on the poster) or at any local Library.

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Bold Heart

Poetry – David’s Bookshop, Letchworth
Tuesday, 14th June 2022 at 7pm

Bold Heart is both a tribute to John and a celebration of the great humanity and powerful imaginative range of his writing.  Fellow poets, scholars and friends including George Szirtes, Glyn Pursglove, Merryn Williams and David Van-Cauter have contributed memoirs, and the editor, Stuart Henson, has selected some of the finest poems from John’s fifty-year writing career to make it a book that reflects his many shape-shifting guises.  Love, music, childhood, work, politics, Zen philosophy – there was nothing that John Gohorry couldn’t turn to poetic gold.

Do come along and share the launch of  Bold Heart, and listen to the words of a writer who never failed to surprise and delight. This is a free event,so if you wish you attend please register your interest at the bookshop, over the phone 01462 684631, or RSVP to staff@davids-bookshops.co.uk

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Joint Zoom event, 3rd Feb, 2022

We had a great evening when 15 poets and some additional ‘watchers’ joined forces for an evening of poetry reading.

Members from Poetry ID (North Herts Stanza) met over Zoom with the Holme Valley Poets and, amid introductions, we read a couple of poems each. I think by the end of the session we had actually heard some 32 poems. Some were screen-shared so we could read along. We all seemed to have a good time in hearing new voices, ‘meeting’ new people with poetry at the heart of the event. So another ‘first’ for the group and an agreement for another meet in the future, date note yet fixed.

Poetry ID hold regular poetry-writing workshops, produce a poetry anthology and hold other events throughout the year.

Meanwhile Poetry ID continue meeting fortnightly at The Settlement in Letchworth and alternate weeks on Zoom.