Poetry Reading Group
From October 2017 I’m leading a poetry reading group at Dove Cottage every month (except January, when the cottage and everyone’s caves are closed).
Starting from October 2018 the reading group will be held on the THIRD THURSDAY of the month, not the first as it used to be.
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 (or in the garden if the weather is fine). 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.
May 16th 2019
NB: This month again we’ll be at RYDAL MOUNT not Dove Cottage.
‘Swallows’ by Kathleen Jamie
XXX (from Thirsty) by Dionne Brand
Grasshopper Warbler by Liz Berry (not online)
Wildcard: ‘The Practical Way to Heaven’ by Simon Armitage
All four poems as a word doc: May 2019 Discover Poetry
April 18th 2019
NB: This month again we’ll be at RYDAL MOUNT not Dove Cottage.
‘April Rain Song’ by Langston Hughes
‘Swifts’ by Anne Stevenson
‘Spring’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Wildcard: Physics for the unwary student by Pippa Goldschmidt
All four poems as a word doc: April 2019 Discover Poetry
March 21st 2019
NB: This month we’ll be at RYDAL MOUNT not Dove Cottage, where they have very kindly offered to host us whilst the cottage is being renovated.
Extract from ‘The Book of Praise’ by Lorna Crozier (not online)
‘Daffodils’ by Alice Ostriker
‘Massacre’ by Ghayath Almadhoun translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham
‘Last Born’ by Hinemoana Baker
All 4 as a word doc: Discover Poetry March 19
February 21st 2019
February 29 by Jane Hirshfield
Almond Blossom by Fiona Benson
Saints Day Triolet: Saint Valentine by Deborah Paredez
Wildcard: ‘What kind of times are these’ by Adrienne Rich
All 4 as a word doc: February 2019 Discover Poetry
December 18th 2018
NB: This month’s session is on a TUESDAY not Thursday.
The World by Jennifer Chang
Winter Solstice by Hilda Morley
Christmas Tree by James Merrill
Wildcard: Have yourself a Brexit little Christmas by Brian Bilston
All 3 as a word doc: Discover Poetry December
November 15th 2018
‘Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman’ by Ellen Phethean
‘November: Between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice, Today’ by Emily Jungmin Yoon
‘Falling Leaves and Early Snow’ by Kenneth Rexroth
‘I Woke Up’ by Jameson Fitzpatrick
All four as a word doc: Discover Poetry November
October 18th 2018
‘Quickthorn’ by Siobhán Campbell
‘Overheard on a Salt Marsh’ by Harold Monro
‘Indian Summer‘ by Diane Glancy
Wildcard: ‘‘What’s Mine’ by Samantha Walton
All four as a word doc: Discover Poetry October
September 6th 2018
‘September’ by Dorothy Lawrenson
‘Hedgehog Hiding at Harvest in Hills Above Monmouth’ by Helen Dunmore
‘Last August Hours Before the Year 2000’ by Naomi Shihab Nye
Word Doc: Discover Poetry September
August 2nd 2018
‘A Parking Lot in West Houston’ by Monica Youn
‘Elegy’ by Natasha Trethewey
‘Moon’ by Kathleen Jamie
Wildcard: At North Farm by John Ashberry
Word Doc: Discover Poetry August
July 5th 2018
‘Last Bus Ride in July – a Mother Speaks’ by Gerda Stevenson
‘The Big Mistake’ by Jim Carruth
‘Preface’ from Swims by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
Wildcard (not available online): ‘What Happens to the Animals When the Woods are Burning?’ by Lorna Crozier
All four poems as a word doc: July Discover Poetry
June 7th 2018
‘Adlestrop’ by Edward Thomas
‘Easing’ by Alison Prince
‘How to Move Away’ by Lynn Pedersen
Our wildcard: ‘Try to Praise the Mutilated World‘, by Adam Zagajewski, translated by Clare Cavanagh
All four as a word doc: June discover poetry
May 3rd 2018
I Go Back to May 1937 by Sharon Olds
The Burning Kite by Ouyang Jianghe trans. Austin Woerner
Scotland by Alastair Reid
Wildcard: Borderliner by Hannah Lowe
All four poems as a word doc: Discover Poetry – May
In April the session will be lead by Eileen Pun in my absence. Our April poems are:
‘Amsterdam’ by Megan Fernandes
‘City Lilacs’ by Helen Dunmore
‘when faces called flowers float out of the ground’ by eecummings
‘Corruptive’ by Olena Kalytiak Davis
4 poems as a word doc: April Discover Poetry
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
‘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
Our wild card is Ursula le Guin’s ‘January Night Prayer’.
‘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.
‘All Souls” by Sasha Dugdale
Novembers topical Wild Card is ‘Warning’ by Malika Booker.
All four poems as a word document: Discover Poetry November Reading
All three poems as a word document: Discover Poetry October Reading
October’s Wild Card poem is ‘The Gun Joke’ by Jamaal May.