Archives for posts with tag: Maureen Oliphant

I woke up this morning cursing Sir Cliff Richard. Again. It’s the fifth morning in a row I’ve woken up with his 1961 song Theme for a Dream in my head.

At Tuesday evening’s Poetry with Friends session, one of the gang, The Legendary Ken Creen mentioned Sir Cliff’s 55 year old song and it started the ludicrously catchy tune playing in my head. I’d heard Theme for a Dream for the very first time earlier that day. Now I can’t get the rotten song out of my head. Thanks, Ken.

stevie smith

The Poetry with Friends session was fun, uplifting and filled with reassuringly bad behaviour. We’re old enough to know better but we don’t care. We managed to share some poems by Stevie Smith, Julia Darling, Ted Hughes, Ruth Pitter, Philip Larkin and Maureen Oliphant’s fantastic Mrs O’Malley from her Irish Poems pamphlet. Several of us read our own work too.


Poetry with Friends is run by Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC. Our new shop opened on Friday on Ilfracombe Gardens in Whitley Bay. It’s open every day apart from Mondays. I’ll be running creative writing workshops there in October, November and December. Please come and visit!




A new face, a newish face and a few familiar faces sat around the table in Whitley Bay library today for Poetry with Friends.

The theme was Secrets which led us off on conversational tangents…once again.

The poems we shared and enjoyed were:

  • A Puppy Called Puberty by Adrian Mitchell
  • Material Signposts by Maureen Oliphant
  • Secretly We Spoke by Rumi
  • At Last the Secret is out by W H Auden


  • Blood Relative by Elaine Cusack
  • Super Secret Agent by Anon
  • Love’s Secret by William Blake
  • Dawn by Frederico Garcia Lorca
  • Winter: My Secret by Christina Rossetti
  • In Defence of Adultery by Julia Copus


The next Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library takes place on November 27th and the theme is “Previously…”


Last night’s gig at The Star and Shadow was hugely enjoyable. All eight poets published in Pieces from Eight performed work from the pamphlet plus a few new poems were thrown in.

The Creels

The Creels played and at the start of my set I said their song The Howling was one of my favourite songs…ever! This might sound over the top but it’s true. I first heard it at one of Pete Mortimer’s Free As A Bard events about three years ago and the song stayed with me. Every time I’ve heard them perform the song it lingers in my head for days and sometimes weeks.

I bought a copy of their CD last night and have been playing it this morning. You can hear them on sound cloud.

My next gig is in less than a week’s time at North Shields’ The Ballarat on Tuesday October 22nd. I am helping to organise a Writers’ Opening Evening. The first half of the evening will comprise of short sets by myself, Ettrick Scott and Jane Burn.

During the break we’ll hold a conker championship and then it will be open mic for writers of all persuasions: poets, novelists, playwrights. Kick off 7pm ish. Free entry. Refreshments on sale. For more information visit

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