Archives for the month of: August, 2014

poetry flyer encounters

Another evening of appreciating poetry at Happy Planet Creative’s HQ, The Mission in Rudyerd Street, North Shields.

Two new poetry lovers joined the regular crew and work discussed included Emily Dickinson’s Ample Make this bed, Jenny Joseph’s Dawn Walkers and Heather Buck’s  Evening.

The theme for the evening was Night Life but we went wandering down different conversational cul de sacs before being called back for tea and cake.

dead poets society

Walt Whitman’s  By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame led to a chat about the late Robin Williams. This seemed like a good excuse for a still from  Dead Poet’s Society. Oh Captain my captain.

The full list was:

Emily Dickinson Ample Make this bed

Walt Whitman’s  By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame

e.e. cummings Nobody Loses All The Time

Alison Chisolm The Office Party

Jenny Joseph Dawn Walkers

Marc Travis Car Far

Anon The Curse of Cruising: It Must Be Time To Eat

Thomas Moore Oft in the Stilly Night

John Betjeman Slough

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Wanderer’s Night Song

Seamus Heaney An August Night

Philip Larkin Wild Oats

Heather Buck Evening

Dylan Thomas Should Lanterns Shine

Edna St Vincent Millay First Fig

The next poetry appreciation evening will take place on Tuesday 26th August and the theme will be Nautical.



Phil Punton is a gifted photographer. He makes his subject feel at ease and gets that certain je ne sais quoi  out of the photo opportunity.

He excels at wedding photographs but loves capturing musicians, dancers and writers in full flow. See his website

I had fun messing around with Phil and his cameras in his impressive garden last month. Hard to believe this one was taken in the Derwent rather than Douro Valley…

Colour in towelling

Phil has captured the thoughtful poet as well as specific family features in these two photographs. It’s wonderful to see glimpses of the dearly departed in my eyes, around my mouth and along my hairline.

B&W thinkingB&W Pulizter crop

Photo credits: Phil Punton Photography

Norman Cornish lived and painted North East mining life. He captured his hometown of Spennymoor on canvas.

Sid Chaplin, the novelist from the Durham railway town of Stanley and Cornish’s contemporary, once described him as a “mystic with a total grasp of what makes matter vibrate, from coal to colliery rows, from the workings 1,500ft below ground to the bus stop and the chapel at the end of the street. In himself as well as in his work a prime example of being with it and staying with it”.

norman cornish

Cornish part of the artistic seam that ran throughout the Great Northern coalfield and produced pitman painters and writers. Here’s his obituary from The Guardian and his official website

If you’ve seen Lee Hall’s Pitman Painters or read William Feaver’s book then you should read A Way To The Better by Robert McManners and Gillian Wales. The book charts the story and explores the legacy of the Spennymoor Settlement, which incubated the talents of Cornish, Chaplin plus artists Tom McGuinness and Robert Heslop.

Cornish’s death on August 1st comes shortly after Bob Abley’s. Bob was a local historian and art lover with what I saw as a great eye for how to display art. I met him last year at Spennymoor Town Hall and he showed me splendid examples of the work that came out of the Settlement, including work by Tisa Hess.

Bob was also instrumental in the setting up of Tynemouth Station’s legendary Book Fairs. I wish I’d had the chance to meet with him again.

Norman Cornish and Bob Abley contributed to North East culture and both leave legacies.


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