This page contains news and information about some of the poets who have presented their poetry at a meeting of the East Coker Poetry Group.
Catherine Simmonds' poetry has been published in journals in the UK and USA. We Have Heard Ravens (2008, Flagon Press) is her collection of prose poems drawn from the diaries of Dorothy Wordsworth.
Catherine has read new poetry inspired by Thomas Hardy at several venues including Max Gate in Dorchester along with Paul Hyland, Kate Scott and Pam Zinnemann- Hope. This was part of the Poetry Society's Centenary, the event being called 'Who’s In The Next Room?' Catherine read from a collection of her own poems at the Brympton Festival 2012.
Jo Waterworth lives in Glastonbury and is regularly involved in local poetry events and readings. She performs with the trio 'Strange Sisters', whose collection on climate change and transition is still available for bookings and in booklet form. Jo has been published in a number of small press magazines and has won prizes in poetry competitions. She runs courses in Glastonbury called Poetry for Personal Growth, and a monthly Poetry Workshop at the Library of Avalon. She gets excited about accessible modern poetry.
Jane Williams lead the 'Poetry at the Fountain' meetings in Wells for many years. These still take place and are an opportunity for local poets to read their own work in the relaxed atmosphere of a group. Meetings are now held at other venues in Wells, during the Autumn, Winter and Spring months.
Jane also brought together the poetry group 'Dragon Poets' to read several times at Wells Cathedral School.
Paddy Hughes is a published and recorded poet. From being a Fast Jet Pilot in the RAF, Paddy went on to become a freelance writer and film director making over 600 corporate and government programmes, TV commercials and documentaries.
Many of his poems are about Richmond Park in London and have been published in two volumes as Richmond Park Reflections. Now living near Wincanton in Somerset he has read at events all over the South West of England and in London and can be contacted on 01963 370323 or 07785 263037.
Katrina was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and grew up in County Durham. She graduated from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, with a double first in History in 1982, studied at Berkeley and Harvard Universities in the USA on a Harkness Fellowship, and has lived in her grandparents’ house on the Northumberland coast, working as a freelance writer, since 1987. Her poetry has won many national awards, including a Gregory Award (1989), an Arts Council Writer’s Bursary (1993) and an Arts Foundation.Northumberland and the local inshore fishing communities has provided much of the inpiration for her poetry.
Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for about 36 years. He has had many poems published in magazines and anthologies in addition to three published collections: Strange Gold (KQBX Press, 1991), The Talking Horses of Dreams (Iron Press, 1999) and Steart Point and Other Poems (John Garland, 2009). He has won many poetry competitions and also ran the Fire River Poets in Taunton for many years where he is still a member. Rural Somerset has been his home for most of his life and he has no plans to leave it. His main interests in life are poetry, music, thinking and doing nothing in particular outdoors. Anthony was the adjudicator in the 2009 East Coker Poetry Competition. Two of his collections are currently on sale at the Brendon Bookshop in Taunton.
There are few poets who can claim to have invented a new form of poetry, but the specular poems of Julia Copus are just that. Her poetry is intimate, gripping, sometimes claustrophobic, but modern poetry at its best. Winner of the most recent Forward Prize for a single poem, Julia Copus is a rising star of poetry, and a radio dramatist for the BBC. Now living in Somerset, we were fortunate that she came to East Coker to read some of her poems and take part in a 'question and answer' session afterwards.
Julia has just published another collection, ‘The World’s Two Smallest Humans’. There is something almost hypnotic about her style that keeps the reader captivated by the language of her poetry. Even what you think is going to be an obscure or ‘difficult’ poem manages to ensnare the reader - ‘The Particella of Franz Xaver Sussmayr’ is just such a poem. Here the poem unfolds to speak across generations situations that are familiar and will touch a chord with many. The second half of the collection deals with her very personal experience of IVF treatment - and being personal, has that extra ‘weight’ of feeling. But it is the restrained, yet powerful language in this collection that raises this far above the ordinary ‘book of poems’.
Dawn Gorman believes poetry should be everywhere. She uses it to work with people with memory loss, facilitates writing workshops, organises poetry events and runs international poetry competitions. She is widely published, has performed on radio and in New York, Paris, London - and lots of smaller places in between including Bradford on Avon where she runs the Words and Ears poetry meetings.