Poetry Reading Group

Discover Poetry

From October 2017 to March 2018, I’m leading a poetry reading group at Dove Cottage the first Thursday of every month (except January, when the cottage and everyone’s caves are closed).

The sessions are FREE and open to anyone, whether you gobble up poems on a weekly basis or haven’t touched one in years, if ever.


The group is size-limited by the fact we’ll actually be in the houseplace of Dove Cottage in front of the fire. You can book ahead by the following this link, or drop in on the day if there is room. You can contact me or the Wordsworth Trust beforehand to check.

Every month we’ll read and talk about 4 poems: 3 seasonal choices and 1 I’ll give out the day which will reflect current events in some way. I’ll share the 3 core poems each month ahead of time on this page, so if you want to spend a bit longer getting to know them, you can.

It also means if you can’t get along to Grasmere on the day, but you want to join in, you can read the poems, and leave comments or questions here. If you leave them ahead of the session, we’ll try and bring your comments in to our discussion.

Each session starts at 7.30 and will finish around 9. Come straight to the cottage door and knock, if you don’t see anyone. The lights will be on, the fire will be lit, and the kettle hot.

October 5th

‘Blackberry Eating’ by Galway Kinnell

‘Glamourie’ by Kathleen Jamie

‘The Season of Phantasmal Peace’ by Derek Walcott

All three poems as a word document: Discover Poetry October Reading

October’s Wild Card poem is ‘The Gun Joke’ by Jamaal May.

November 2nd

‘All Souls” by Sasha Dugdale

‘November’ by Maggie Dietz

‘Pumpkin’ by Theresa Muñoz

Novembers topical Wild Card is ‘Warning’ by Malika Booker. 

All four poems as a word document: Discover Poetry November Reading

December 7th

‘In the Mid-Midwinter’ by Liz Lochhead

‘A boy casting snow on winter barley’ by David Morley

‘Various Portents’ by Alice Oswald

December’s wildcard is ’57 varieties of Brexit’ by Brian Bilston.

All four poems as a word document: December discover poetry poems

Thanks to everyone who came along for the last group of 2017. As we spoke about, the ballad quoted in ‘In the Mid-Midwinter’ was Sir Patrick Spens (you can see Dorothy refer it here on Tuesday 4th May 1802). The other quote, ‘the light comes back’, is from Norman MacCaig’s poem ‘The White Bird’.

There is no meeting in January, but we’ll be back to mark the beginning of the light coming back on the first Thursday of February.

February 1st

‘February’ by Boris Pasternak, trans. Sasha Dugdale.

‘To the New Year’ by W.S.Merwin

‘Long Disconsolate Lines’ by Jane Cooper

3 poems as a word doc: Discover Poetry February

March 1st

Our poems for March are:

‘Late February’ by Ted Kooser

‘The End of March’ by Elizabeth Bishop

‘Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself’ by Wallace Stevens

and our wild card is the catch-all ‘Instructions on Not Giving Up’ by Ada Limón, though if you missed October’s session, you might want to scroll up and read Jamaal May’s ‘The Gun Joke’.

4 poems as a word doc: March Discover Poetry