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Cheltenham Poetry Society release new anthology celebrating Gloucestershire

Cheltenham > Entertainment > Literature

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 28th February 2020, 09:00

Six of the 12 poets with poems in ‘Poetry from Gloucestershire’ (L-R: Gill Wyatt, Robin Gilbert, Annie Ellis, co-editors Sharon Larkin and Roger Turner and Catherine Baker. Six of the 12 poets with poems in ‘Poetry from Gloucestershire’ (L-R: Gill Wyatt, Robin Gilbert, Annie Ellis, co-editors Sharon Larkin and Roger Turner and Catherine Baker.

A new book celebrating the county of Gloucestershire through the medium of poetry has been published.

‘Poetry from Gloucestershire’ is an anthology of photographs and poems compiled by members of Cheltenham Poetry Society.

“We hold an annual writing retreat at Dumbleton Hall every May,” explained Sharon Larkin from Cheltenham Poetry Society (CPS), “a day concentrated on thinking about and writing poetry.

“At last year’s retreat, the poets took Gloucestershire as their theme and we decided to compile poems we had written on that theme into a book.”

Sharon has been a member of the society for more than 12 years and has previously been chair of the group.

The society itself has a long history, with one current member – Michael Newman – first joining in 1977.

Sharon continued: “We run a monthly writing group for experienced poets, where they comment on each other’s poems, helping each other to edit and polish them for submission to magazines or competitions, for example.

“We also run a workshop for developing poets, with writing exercises as well as constructive, mutual feedback.

“There is also a poetry reading group for people who want to explore poetry or get to know the work of specific published poets better, and to share poems that they have found to be interesting or enjoyable.”

Sharon, who was born in Cheltenham, explains that the society published a similar book to ‘Poetry from Gloucestershire’ in 2016.

That book was called ‘Cheltenham 300’ and was released in celebration of the 300-year anniversary of Cheltenham as a Spa Town.

‘Poetry from Gloucestershire’ features poems about places around the county, and Sharon – who edited the book alongside CPS chair Roger Turner – explains how they put the book together.

She said: “We asked the poets to send a selection of poems they had written about Gloucestershire, and selected poems for inclusion in the book – poems which gave good coverage of the county as a whole.

“We then worked with poets individually to polish the poems and sought out photographs to accompany some of the poems. There are some keen photographers in Cheltenham Poetry Society, so that wasn’t too difficult!

“It covers the length of the county from Alderton and Tewkesbury in the north to Berkeley and Chipping Sodbury in the south. There’s even a trip on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and a glimpse of the Severn Crossing.”

The book will be officially launched at The Suffolk Anthology Bookshop on Tuesday 24th March, where some of the poets involved will be reading their work.

Anyone interested in learning more about Cheltenham Poetry Society should email cheltenhampoetrysociety@gmail.com

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