Time to Vote Again

Yes, it’s that time of the year again and the Saboteur Awards are up and running. For the second year in a row, one of our members, Nigel Kent, has been shortlisted for the Reviewer of Literature category.

He began a blog in August 2020 to help publicise debut collections of poets, published by small poetry presses which do not have the marketing budgets of major publishers. This blog features a two week cycle of drop ins and reviews. In week one the author of the collection reflects on a poem from the collection and in week two Nigel publishes his review.

Since starting the blog, it has attracted 10,000 views and approaching 4,000 visitors. Click here to check it out.

If you’d like to vote in the Saboteur Awards (and anyone can!) click here. He would love to have your support!

Competition success for OU poet, Kate Young!

Kate Young was one of two winners of Hedgehog Poetry Press’ Stickleback Competition and will see her micro collection published in the coming year.

She was also commended for her entry in Hedgehog Poetry’s prestigious A Slim Volume of One’s Own Competition and with fellow OU poets, Julie Anne Gilligan and Kimberley Pulling, was shortlisted in its January Challenge, ‘When the Blue Bell Tolls’.

That’s some start to the year!

Well done to all of them!

End of Year Successes for OU Poets

Today sees the publication of new OU Poets’ Society member, Patricia M. Osborne’s poetry conversation with Maureen Cullen, Sherry and Sparkly (Hedgehog Press, 2021). The pamphlet records their reminscences and reflections upon their common experiences, starting with growing up in the fifties and sixties. Click here to read Patricia reflecting upon a poem from this collection and here to read a review.

Patricia M. Osborne is a published novelist, poet and short story writer. Her short stories and her poems have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies, and the final instalment of her House of Grace family saga trilogy was published in March 2021. Taxus Baccata and The Montefiore Bride (pamphlet) were published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2020. Click here to checkout her blog and to buy a copy of Sherry and Sparkly. All proceeds from copies bought directly from the poets will be donated to Cancer Research.

We also heard recently that Kate Young, no stranger to competition success, was shortlisted for the 2021 Waltham Forest Poetry Competition. The organisers received over one thousand entries from poets young and old from across the globe.

Congratulations to Patricia and Kate. What a way to end the year!

Dialect poems find a home

A collection of writing inspired by an online creative writing workshop, facilitated by Geraldine Green, is the perfect home for OUP member, Kathy Finney’s dialect poems. She admits to being ‘reet’ pleased that her poems are a feature of this beautiful anthology, published by the Quaker Tapestry Museum, which celebrates the environment, community, discourses and traditions which shape our sense of identity

If you want to read Kathy’s stunning poems then you can download the anthology for free from the Museum’s website. Click here.

Kathy Finney was born in Blackpool and is actively involved in preserving the folk traditions, history and dialect voices of her home county of Lancashire. She has a Master of Arts in Poetry & Creative Writing with the Open University in 2018. Her work has recently been shortlisted in a number of national competitions including ‘A Dialect Poetry Pamphlet’ competition 2020, run by Hedgehog Press, the ‘Frosted Fire First’ pamphlet competition 2021, run by Cheltenham Poetry Festival and the Lord Whisky Sanctuary poetry competition both in 2020 and 2021. Her work has also been published online at Words for the Wild and The Broken Spine, and in anthologies, including the Places of Poetry Anthology, Red Letter Openings, the Open University Poets 40th Anniversary Anthology. Kathy has now become a serial studier by day, poet by night and tweets @GradelyLass.

Anniversary anthology earns fabulous review

With three days to go to the official launch, Write Out Loud’s Rodney Wood reviews our fabulous celebratory publication, Red Letter Openings, the 40th Anniversary Anthology, capturing both its flavour and quality:

This is special all right; 40 years and still going with a wide range of styles. You can tell it has been put together by clever Open University students because it can be roughly split using the principle of thirds. One third is made up of poems about being an OU student and discovering poetry, one third about the experience of being a member of the Open University Poetry Society, and the final third saying “sod your theme My personal journey: poetry and the Open University. I’ll just write what I want”.

He goes on to explore many of the wonderful poems exploring the poets’ personal journeys with the Open University and with poetry.

To read the full review click here.

To purchase a copy of the Anthology click here.

Forty Years and Counting!!!

Saturday November 13th sees the official Zoom launch of the Society’s ‘Red Letter Openings, an anthology to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. It features contributions from current and former members documenting in verse their own personal journeys with poetry and the OU.

The introduction to the anthology compromises of fascinating insights into the early days of the Society by founder members Shirley Bell, Ted Griffin and Jim Lindop. Their reflections are followed with an overview from our archivist, Phil Craddock.

Here’s to the next 40 years. For details of how to purchase a copy click here. For details of membership click here.

The contributors: Denis Ahern; Jane Avery; Pru Bankes Price; K.J. Barrett; Liz Beber; Shirley Bell; Mark Bones; Ali Chakir; Sally Charnock; Cate Cody; Phil Craddock; Barbara Cumbers; Olivia Dawson; David Dennis; Tim Field; Kathy Finney; M.C. Gardner; Ginette Gibson; Julie Anne Gilligan; Adrian Green; E.F. Griffin; Jenny Hamlett; Alice Harrison; Lem Ibbotson; Sally James; Susan Jarvis Bryant; Eric Karoula; Nigel Kent; Jim Lindop; Robe Lowe; Mick Lyons; Karen McFarlane; Samantha Mansi; Ross McGivern; Hilary Mellon; Peter Meredith-Smith; Judi Moore; Vicki Morley; Nigel Pearce; Liz Power; Kimberley Pulling; Rebecca Pyne; Abigail Rowland; Dave Sinclair; Sue Spiers; Julie Stamp; Polly Stretton; Eve Stripp; Julie Stuart; Paul Williams; Rodney Wood; Kate Young.

Stirling Makar Competition Winner!

The OUPoets’ Community has some serious talent amongst its ranks! Kate Young, no stranger to competition success, has chalked up yet another triumph with her haiku, ‘Sycamore Seed’ that was placed joint winner of the Stirling Makar ‘Tiny Things’ competition. This was a project set by Laura Fyfe celebrating nature and the environment in preparation for COP 26.

Kate Young’s poetry has appeared in various webzines/magazines nationally and in Canada. It has also featured in the anthologies Places of Poetry and Write Out Loud. Her pamphlet A Spark in the Darkness is due to be published with Hedgehog Press. Find her on Twitter @Kateyoung12poet.

Congratulations Kate!

More publication success for OUP members!

Extreme Formal Poems showcases over 150 expertly crafted poems by nearly forty of the best poets writing today, many of them multi-award winners. One of these poets is our very own, Susan Jarvis Bryant, who has eight poems represented in this wonderful anthology that demonstrate the command of form and versality of language that we know is so characteristic of her writing. Find out more by clicking here.

Unmuted is a collection of 32 ekphrastic poems by Nigel Kent. Each artwork acts as a frame in a storyboard which he unfreezes and unmutes to reveal the narrative he imagines lies behind it. Even for those who have no interest in art these direct, accessible and moving poems will stand alone and engage with issues that truly matter. To find out more click here.

Congratulations to both of them!

A New Collection from Society’s Chair!

Congratulations to Polly Stretton, Chair of the Open University Poetry Society on the publication of her latest collection, Growing Places (Black Pear Press, 2021).

In Growing Places Polly reveals her talent for creating a vivid sense of time, place and character. As Gary Longden, Staffordshire Poet Laureate, 2014-2015, writes: ‘This work of reminiscence connecting memories of Worcestershire warms with pieces around Malvern, its hills and Droitwich. Yet you need not have visited to appreciate the landscapes Polly evokes, so carefully are they crafted, so profoundly do those echoes resonate.’

Polly works in education; her poems have been widely published in previous collections, online, and in anthologies. Polly’s first collection, Girl’s Got Rhythm, was followed by Chatterton, a series of poems about the tragic young poet, Thomas Chatterton. Between 2016-2018 she collated and edited four anthologies of WWI poems and The Alchemy of 42, a collection of poems written to prompts for the spoken word event ’42 Worcester’, published in 2020.

For more information click here.