Workshop 18th February 2014

Churning out a work of genius, insight and perspicacity week after week is a lot tougher than it looks. I tend to breeze into the Workshop with the fruits of the laser printer, evoking an atmos of ease and calm confidence, never admitting that I was wrestling with a sticky colon up until the very moment when I needed to leave the house.

It’s at time like these that I start to wonder, what is a poem actually about? Say a chap writes a piece about A and how it offers an amusing counterpoint to B and then the Workshop sidle up and tell him how well he has described X and its close relationship with Y? Is a young ambitious poet not likely to leave the group thinking, dash it, they’re the experts, if they say it’s about X and Y, who am I to say it isn’t?

A little research in the Archive revealed that this may indeed be the case. A young American bank clerk visited the group with a poem about buying a comfortable suit following the Easter Egg binge; ‘April is the cruelest month…’ As Eliot’s The Waistband began.

There was little doubt about the meaning of tonight’s works. David Hovatter wrote another poem inspired by a painting, this one a Victorian pastoral scene , creating a contrast with the imminent industrial revolution. Owen Gallagher brought a brilliant evocation of a session with a therapist. Alan Chambers wrote a new poem inspired by seeing a Bonfire Night Guy in the Co-op. Nick Barth wrote a piece about the rare occasions when large numbers of people are seen walking in London. John Hurley remembered becoming a younger man in a flash and then having to gain control of himself. Caroline Am Bergris evoked the shamanic experience of walking in a trance. Finally Martin Choules appears to have been poorly, but was he in love on February 14th or did he have a cold?

Similarly, a young Wystan Auden was living in a house in a rural idyll near Harrow when he visited the group with young Tom Eliot. Clearly sleep in the region of so many farm animals was a problem, but his poem ‘Stop all the Cocks’ did not go unmolested by the group at that time. Perhaps you are familiar with the final edition; if you feel the need, sleep well. If you have been, thank you for reading.



Filed under Workshops

2 responses to “Workshop 18th February 2014

  1. POUND, Steve

    The poems would have to be pretty damn fine to top the review.

    Bit desperate in Ukraine at the moment but the unknown Eliot certainly cheered me.

    Many thanks,

    Not Ezra Pound

  2. Jane Barth

    Who would guess that Eliot could provoke a laugh-out-loud response. Thank you!

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