Ormskirk Writers' & Literary Society - OWLS - was established in 1963 by Dora Doyle to promote local writers. Founder member Ron Bartholomew contributed to the Waverly Encyclopaedias and was widely published in Practical Mechanics Magazine. A successful playwright, he opened his house to us for weekly meetings and served us with tea and home made cakes for many years. As Otis lifts Chief Engineer he also designed the press button control boxes used in lifts to this day. ALT="Ormskirk Writers' & Literary Society">

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The minutes of the poetry evening

Owls 1st November 2010  Poetry Night

Present: Judy, Cec, Keith, Liz, Tim, Sarah, Saime, Tricia and Dave  Aplogies: Susan, Maragaret, Alex, Pat.

News and updates.

All OWLS encouraged to come to the next OWLS session on 15th November, which is the Jo Cowell Award night. Those who have entered are especially encouraged to come along. We will be welcoming judge Ron Ellis and enjoying light refreshments.

Waterstones have paid up for the copies of the recent OWLS anthology – a welcome boost to the funds.

Cec has some copies of past OWLS anthologies, and his own collections, which are available to purchase – all donations to go towards OWLS funds.

Sarah has agreed to take on the role of secretary for a twelve month period, beginning in January, with a short hand over period from Judy.


Judy shared ‘Our Venice Cruise’; a light-hearted poem about her recent holiday. Touching on colourful images – eating pasta, Gaudi and noisy Americans! Members especially enjoyed the smuggled Bacardi and Coke.

Tim read part of his novel in progress, ‘2173’, taken this time from earlier on in the story. The family are searching for a place to make home. Tim was aiming for more dialogue. Members enjoyed the beautiful outdoors descriptions and the lovely poetic opening, the quick movement into action, the emotional content and the taste and senses evoked. Brilliantly read. Tim is considering creating a very brief synopsis of the novel to help listeners place the action for future manusript readings.

Dave read us ‘Autumn’. A gorgeous spare poem creating a picture of the season. “A drop of just a few degrees…/ Sun hangs lower in the sky…” A reflective piece reminding us how the changing seasons makes us stop and reflect.

Keith read us ‘A View From my window on a Winters Morning’. A poem reflecting the frozen still bleakness of winter, and the feelings of hope inspired by a small robin visitor. A beautiful poem with lots of strong imagery that had us convinced it was a true tale.

Cec read ‘What a Wonderful Party’, a poem inspired by an OWLS Christmas party he was unable to attend due to illness, when a play was performed, including songs, involving lots of members – some who are still with us today. A lovely reflection back for those who remembered it, and a pleasant insight into OWLS past for those who were not there.

Tricia shared ‘Dresses For Life’ a poem written for a Writers Magazine competition. The brief was that the last line had to be “and so she wore her little black dress.” No easy task! We loved the poignancy of the poem Tricia created, and also the ambiguity of the final lines.

Cec read another poem, reflecting an encounter with a computer virus. Something others could relate to. ‘Sinclair Open Windows’ explored his relationship with his grandson, teaching him basic computer skills as a child, so he was then able, as an adult, to come and fix the computer when its malfunctioned! A poem that spoke to us all in different ways.

Judy read ‘Autumn Leaves’, which started as a word play on leaves, leaving etc. a gorgeous evocative piece, creating the images of scattered leaves. Initially, the poem was planned with a cyclic structure, autumn leading to winter and eventually spring. But seemed to work better as a single season. This led to interesting discussion about poems as stories. Keith shared that he will often leave out verses he has written that at the time helped form the poem but later are excluded. Or reintroduced in the drafting and redrafting process. Helpful poetry thoughts!

Tricia shared a poem with three possible titles… pick your favourite. ‘Autumn / 1st September / September Morning’ the poem was a series of stoccatto illustrations of an autumn day.

‘Swallows gather, geese glide in/ skin covered, tan forgotten, fleece found / back door’s closed, lamps lit, cosy corners…’

One member described the poem like an artists palette. Very evocative.

Cec read us ‘Harvest’ a visually atmospheric poem about harvest time, focussing on new versus traditional styles of farming and agriculture. A poem that sparked memories for lots of members.

Tricia read her next ‘Ted’ instalment. ‘Ted in Kennels’ a humorous and heart warming tale of Ted the dog, following on from the previous ‘Ted in Love’ and ‘Ted in Trouble’. The plot was tense and entertaining for all. The lovely believable animal characters were especially highlighted by members. Some members felt it would work best as a children’s story, especially one to be read by an adult to a child, proving entertaining and engaging for both.

Dave shared ‘Circles we Turn’, new lyrics he has created to go to the melody of ‘Send in the Clowns’. An emotive and poignant piece.
And ‘Upon a Hillside’ a beautifully formed poem about the cold season sheltering from the weather. It was inspired by a moment on Snowdon. Very atmospheric.

Judy read a touching poem ‘A Bee – autiful Kindness’ a heart warming poem about rescuing a bumble bee. A lovely way to end a great poetry night.

A fantastic night of poetry, and a couple of manuscripts thrown in for good measure, with a common theme of Autumn and winter. We all seem to have been inspired by the recent cold snap.

Keep writing! And hope to see all at the Jo Cowell night on 15th November in the usual place and time.

Minutes written by Sarah Scholfield

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