What is the School of Poets?
The School of Poets meets monthly to share new poems – reading and having read – and to receive considered and supportive feedback. The group was started by Tessa Ransford at the outset of the Scottish Poetry Library and has been a home to aspiring poets ever since.
School of Poets under CV-19 lockdown
The School of Poets usually meets physically in the Scottish Poetry Library on the second Tuesday of the month. However, since lockdown, we have continued to meet in dial-in sessions with poems shared by email beforehand. On 9th June, at our third dial-in “virtual” session, split into two one-hour parts and each had four poems to savour, consider, challenge, summarise and feed back to the author – in some depth.
Lizzie Smith read her evocative poem responding to an aunt developing dementia ‘Tragic Mask’. Angela Blacklock-Brown reminded us of the strong connection between a venerated object and a special person that evokes so many memories in her ‘Nutcracker’. Patrick Corbett read ‘Reaching out’ – which was more about not reaching out in today’s Covid-19 world. Rachel Baird’s poem ‘Bee Charmers’ bought together rich verbal images of childhood memories and the sense of life’s renewal through the magical skills of bee keepers.
After a break to catch breath, Alison Armstrong entertained the group with her lighthearted rhymes about some annoying visitors in ‘Bluebottle Heist’. Loretta Whitcomb’s ‘Soundscape’ contrasted the sounds of clubs in Berlin pre-lockdown with the natural sounds of a socially distant lockdown. Sue McKendrick’s humorous and warm family memories of ‘Scraping Spuds, Sink or Swim’ were interwoven with the shock of a cold childhood dip in the river. Kitty Wood recalled the synchronised, theatrical, aquatic gymnasts Pablo and Pierre (the Caesar Twins) and pondered on who might follow them with new routines in ‘The New Caesar Twins’.
Everyone took away something to mull on and perhaps improve their work. What perhaps fascinates and inspires the participants are the rich stories that everyone brings to the table to share. The School of Poets certainly provides an oasis of calm in the months of madness.
Want to join?
The group meets on the evening of every second Tuesday in each month from 6 to 8pm. Normally we don’t meet in August and December but perhaps we will if still under lockdown!
The group welcomes new members (£10 p.a. or £5 if non-working).