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

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

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. 

Jane Williams

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.

Katrina Porteous

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

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. 

Stella Davis

Stella Davis moved to Somerset in 2007. She contributes to many poetry magazines and radio programmes, conducts workshops for adults and children, and writes poems on commission. Poems from her Arts Council residencies have been published in Watershot (Wanda 2001) and St Swithun’s Day (Friends of Winchester Cathedral 2003). Prizes include O.U. Open Poetry 2001, Spire Trust 2003, Feile Filiochta 2003, Torbay Poetry Festival 2004. Her first collection with Peterloo Poets, Last Boat to Avalon, was published in 2009.

Julia Copus

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.

There is something almost hypnotic about her style that keeps the reader captivated by the language of her poetry. 

Dawn Gorman

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 ran the Words and Ears poetry meetings. She is a presenter of Poetry Place on West Wilts Radio and is editor of Caduceus magazine.

Rosie Jackson

Born in Yorkshire and brought up in the Midlands, Rosie did her first degree in English & Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick, where she was taught by Germaine Greer. Her D.Phil at York was followed by a lectureship at the University of East Anglia, then various teaching posts in London, Bristol and Nottingham before she relinquished academic life, spent time in India and the United States, and pursued creative and spiritual practices. 

A passionate believer in the power of the creative arts to heal and transform, Rosie has worked in many community and health contexts. With artist Marc Yeats www.marc-yeats.co.uk she ran REACH Dorset, taking art and writing into healthcare. She wrote the Charter for the National Alliance on Arts and Health, and is a member of Arts and Health South West.

Fiona Sampson

Professor Fiona Sampson MBE, FRSL has published twenty-nine books, including seven collections of poetry. Her latest collection, Come Down (2020), received the Wales Poetry Book of the Year; in the same year she was awarded the European Lyric Atlas Prize and the Balkan Naim Frasheri Laureateship for her body of work. She has been published in thirty-seven languages, and received numerous other national and international honours.