Archives for posts with tag: Emily Dickinson

 I don’t have to look hard for inspiration in my daily life. I guess I’m lucky but that’s what made yesterday so special: inspiration in the morning, afternoon and evening!

Yesterday morning’s Poetry with Friends session in Whitley Bay library was perfect: two new attendees, a wonderful range of poems, good conversation and lots of laughter too.

Linda introduced us to the poems of Robert Crawford, Stella shared work by Degna Stone, Mark Waldron as well as her own work. Both she and Gail read some Emily Dickinson and we also heard work by Roger McGough, Stephen Spender, Gabriel Setoun, Stephen Crane, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Gail Curry and Edna St Vincent Millay. Oh yes and newcomer June read one of her poems too. Thank you, June and we hope to see you and Tessa again next time.


In the afternoon I went with friend Angie to visit Poetry with Friends stalwart John to show him the mock-up of his book. Angie and I are overseeing the publication and we’re all chuffed at the cover’s artwork.

Yesterday evening I was taken to see Scottish Ballet’s production of Swan Lake at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal. What a treat! David Dawson’s choreography, John Otto’s set design with Bert Dalhuysen’s lighting and Yumiko Takeshima’s costumes were stunning. All the dance artists were flawless but I feel I should mention principals Sophie Martin as Odette/Odile, Scotland’s own Christopher Harrison as Siegfried and Andrew Peasgood as Benno.


The icing on the cake was conductor Benjamin Pope and the Scottish Ballet Orchestra’s handling of Tchaikovsky’s music.  Wonderful! The evening made me think of my inspirational ballet teacher, Eve Trew MBE who continues to inspire young dancers in my hometown of Gateshead and beyond.




I run Poetry with Friends and creative writing workshops via Happy Planet Creative Arts which operates out of Boo Boo and Ted, 264 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, NE26 2TG.

Poetry with Friends sessions continue to enthrall and inspire thanks to the choice of poems and the conversations in between the poems. Recent sessions at both Boo Boo and Ted on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings at Whitley Bay library have instigated debate on The Budget, coughs and colds, “people of a certain age”, poetic inspiration, education, astrology, EU referendum, terrorism and equality.


In between these topics we’ve shared poems by poets including Emily Dickinson, Colette Bryce, Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath, W.B Yeats, John Betjeman, John Keats, Jackie Kay, William Wordsworth, Gerard Manley Hopkins and numerous poems by at least six members of the Poetry with Friends gang. One of them, Alan continues to amaze us by writing there and then. On the night!


Poetry with Friends returns in April. The first Thursday morning one is April 14th and the first Tuesday evening is April 19th.



I visit London  three, four, sometimes five times a year. Most of my visits include a stay at the same central London hotel. It’s conveniently situated and the breakfasts are good.

Every time I visit I chuckle at the sight of an “old fashioned” telephone, designed to make International Calls. I guess it dates from the 1990s. The telephone is situated in the main reception area but doesn’t work. There’s a “Temporarily Out of Service” sign on it but I’ve never seen it work and I’ve been staying there for three years.


On arriving at the hotel last month the first thing I did was check to make sure the telephone wasn’t working. Thankfully it was still “Temporarily Out of Service.” Phew! What would I have done if I’d found it working or worse still, removed from the hotel for good?

We humans like things to stay the same but they never do. Life is constantly changing and so it is with Poetry with Friends, the poetry appreciation sessions with a difference I have the pleasure of running with artist Gail Curry on North Tyneside.


Our last Tuesday evening session on September 22nd was not the same because stalwart member, David wasn’t present. Some of us fretted about his welfare, all of us wondered where he was and if he was okay but the session did not grind to a halt. We accepted the slight change to the evening’s entertainment and got on with exploring the chosen theme: Humour.

edward lear

We enjoyed poems by a range of poets including Wendy Cope, Edward Lear, Charles Causley, Mike Harding and another PWF stalwart, Alan. We decided that our next session’s theme on Tuesday 6th October will be Autumn.

Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library yesterday was also Slightly Different But Still Okay. Stalwarts Joyce and Geoff were missing but it was great meeting new members. And we had a jolly good topic to get our teeth into: Nature.


We shared poems by writers including Brian Patten, Robert Frost, John Clare, Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes and a poem by stalwart, Rowland based on his recent trip to Canada. Lucky man. Theme for the next PWF at Whitley Bay is Politics and Religion! Heh heh! See you on Thursday 15th October and let the sparks fly!

Life continues, the seasons change, blackberries are picked and made into crumble, compote and jam. And let’s not forget time heals so with any luck when I see David at The Mission on Tuesday his arm will be heaps better than what it looks like in the photo above. I couldn’t bear to look at it then hence closed eyes!


I spent this morning with the Wansbeck Writers’ Group. I’d been invited along to perform and discuss my work during one of their Wednesday morning sessions. The group’s based in Ashington and has been running for almost 30 years.

Anita Brookner

The group meets on a weekly basis and are friendly, committed, listen to and are supportive of each other, modest and have a wide range of literary tastes and influences.

Seamus Heaney, Catherine Cookson, Anita Brookner, Dylan Thomas, Agatha Christie, Emily Dickinson and Ray Bradbury were some of the favourite authors mentioned.

ray bardbury

I thoroughly enjoyed  listening to members’ work, especially the haiku they rustled up just before and during the tea break.

Two folk mentioned local poet W W Gibson. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard of him but now I know my homework for tonight ahead of tomorrow’s Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay library.


Pear flavoured marshmallows from Gareth James, the chocolatier in Tynemouth were sampled during this morning’s Poetry with Friends session at Whitley Bay Library. The jury is still out on the mallows (sorry Gareth) but we love your chocolates and hot drinks!

gareth james

The theme of today’s session was Otherness. It was a tough one but we managed to chat about:

I’m Nobody! Who Are you by Emily Dickinson

Discipline by George Herbert

I Would Like to be a dot in a painting by Miro by Moniza Alvi

The Grey Eye by Martin Figura

The Mystery of Pain by Emily Dickinson

Death by George Herbert

Every Day Life by Svetislav Stefanovich

To my Master in Zen by James Kirkup

The Quest for Tropical Paradise by Sheree Mack

Night by William Blake

Full Walnut Moon by Jen Hadfield

Corpse by Kirstin Luckins

What an interesting couple of hours!

The next Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay is on November 13th. Come and join us. Visit for more info.



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.



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