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Our Last Playlist

For the record and those who weren’t able to make it, here are the poems that we shared at our last readaround. We also had a chance to reflect on our time in the Poetry Room and everyone agreed that it has been a great pleasure, a very special space indeed.

Many thanks to you all.

Anna & Linda

Frau Baumann, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwarze – Theodore Roethke
Refrigerator, 1957 – Thomas Lux
The Norbert Dentressangle Van – Sophie Hannah
Topography – Sharon Olds
The Tree – William Scammell
Day of the Tiger: Presented to Three Friends – Yi Tongmu
The Subway Piranhas – Edwin Morgan
Apartment Cats – Thom Gunn
My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose – Robert Burns

The Grand Finale

The July session of the Poetry Room will be our usual summer readaround – a chance for you to bring a poem you particularly like to share with the group (about 10/12 copies would be helpful – thanks). These are always popular and enjoyable sessions and this one will be extra special as, sad to say, it will be our last. Because of funding cuts, the Poetry Room will no longer be running after this final session. Yet another reason to come along and say hello and goodbye to us all.

Very much looking forward to seeing as many of you who can make it on Tuesday 2 July 6pm-8pm, upstairs in the City Library, Newcastle.


NB: Deryn Rees-Jones reading on 21 May

At the June Poetry Room we’re planning to look at Deryn Rees-Jones’s Burying the Wren (Seren 2012). Deryn will be reading with Julia Copus at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab on Tuesday 21 May at 7.15pm. Both poets were shortlisted for this year’s TS Eliot Prize.
Do go along in advance of our session to hear these powerful poems of love, loss and the changing world. The poems we’ll be concentrating on will be posted before our meeting on Tuesday 4 June.

Happy New Year!

It seems fitting to start a New Year in the Poetry Room reading the wonderful Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie’s inspiring collection The Overhaul (Picador, 2012). These are poems of reflection and review, repair and reorientation. Jamie’s voice comes to us as if carried by the wind – finding a place for itself, the human, among the elements, land and seascape, the vast reaches of time and space and the quotidian concerns of the domestic. She catches what she sees in few words and unerring rhythms, resisting anything that doesn’t accord with the truth of what lasts and what is lost. The poems we’ll be focussing on include:

The Beach
Hawk and Shadow
The Stags
The Gather
The Overhaul
An Avowal
The Galilean Moons

Make it your New Year resolution to come along and read Kathleen Jamie’s poems with fellow poetry lovers in the City Library on Tuesday 8 January 2013 (third floor, at the back). This session is a week later than usual because of the immoveable feast of New Year but we’ll be back to the first Tuesday of the month for subsequent sessions: put those dates in your diary.

Warm wishes to you all – looking forward to another vibrant and exciting year of poetry

Anna & Linda

Carol Ann Duffy

Bees are the batteries of orchards,
gardens, guard them…

After last month’s wonderful visit from Read Regional poets Christy Ducker and Anne Ryland, in October we will be returning to our usual format of meeting a poet on the page. We are fortunate in anticipating a visit from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy to Durham Book Festival to coincide with a the premiere of her new version of Rapunzel, specially written for balletLORENT. Carol Ann will also be giving a reading at the Gala Theatre, Durham, on Friday 19 October at 6.30pm. If you come along to October’s Poetry Room, you will be entitled to a free ticket for this event.

We will be looking at Carol Ann Duffy’s latest collection – The Bees (Picador 2011). It is a tour de force, evoking diverse instances of loss, captured in the powerful image of the world’s vulnerable bee population. As well as the destruction of the natural world, the violence of war also provokes sorrow and a longing for poetry to act like a spell and unwind the various unwelcome events the poet must bear witness to.

These are poems that make new myths out of old – about love and the land, time and the child, death and the mother. It crackles with dazzling wordplay, intense pleasure and virtuosity with the language itself, and the palpable, utterly human, tension between holding-on/celebrating and letting-go/mourning.

Poems that we will be reading include:

Last Post
The Female Husband
The English Elms
The Woman in the Moon
Cockermouth and Workington
A Rare Bee

You’re in danger of missing a chance to discuss one of the finest books by one of our finest poets in advance of her visit to the North East if you miss the Poetry Room this month. Do come along to the City Library (third floor, behind the fiction section) on Tuesday 2 October, 6pm-8pm. We looking forward to seeing you.

For those of you who are going, Carol Ann Duffy’s reading in Durham will take place at the Gala Theatre (before Rapunzel) at 6.30pm on Friday 19 October. There will be musical accompaniment from John Sampson and the event will last approximately one hour.

See you there.


Making Love and Poetry

Love, ain’t it grand! Or not as the case may be.  Whether you’re starry-eyed and spooning or fed up to the back teeth with all things February, The Picador Book of Love Poems (Picador 2011) has something for you.  From the first flush to the last gasp, there’s a poem about it in this anthology. Editor John Stammers couples a contemporary poet with an older counterpart throughout to allow the generations to talk across the centuries about love and loss.

Poems we will be looking at in particular are:

True Love by  Sharon Olds

To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

Arab Love-Song by Francis Thompson

After Making Love We Hear Footsteps by Galway Kinnell

Prayer by Hugo Williams

A Private Bottling by Don Paterson

Nevers by Colette Bryce

The Farmer’s Bride by Charlotte Mew

The Voice by Thomas Hardy

(Time allowing!)  See you from 6pm-8pm on Tuesday 7 February on the third floor of Newcastle’s City Library:  walk straight in front of you as you leave the lifts and keep going until you reach the back wall!  Looking forward to seeing you there, especially if you have never been before.

Snakes, Mothers and Desperate Men

We’re rounding off this year at the Poetry Room with the wonderful Martina Evans, whose poetry collection Facing the Public (Anvil, 2009) received the Ciampi International Poetry Prize and was named by Bernard O’Donoghue as his book of the year.

We will be focusing on the following poems:

Two Hostages
Omar Khadr
Desperate Men
Facing The Public
The Australian Rug
Boa Constrictor
The King is Dead
Bloody Mary

For more information on Martina see

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday 13 December from 6pm-8pm at the usual place, Level 3 of Newcastle City Library.

And if you’re wondering why we’re a week later this month, it’s to allow you to attend the unmissable Bloodaxe Lectures given this year by Sean O’Brien: for more information see

You’re especially welcome at the Poetry Room if you’ve never been before: make December the month!

Poetry with Body

Michael Symmons Roberts’ fourth collection Corpus embraces the body in all its mess and gloriousness. The book, which won the Whitbread Prize, includes poems that explore both the living body and the corpse in religion, art, science and myth.
We will be focusing on some of the following poems:

Ascension Day
The Hands
Carnivorous I
Carnivorous II
The Razor
To John Donne
Last Things

So come with your hearts, heads, hands and other body-parts to Level 4 of the City Library, Newcastle between 6pm-8pm this Tuesday 4 October. All are very welcome: looking forward to seeing you in particular!

Read Regional (and a little further afield)

This month at the Poetry Room, we’ll be looking at poems from writers involved in this year’s Read Regional campaign (some very close to home) and more far-flung voices who have provided inspiration for local poets.

Photocopies of the poems will be available on the night but, for a taster, do look at the following:

I Go Back To May 1937 by Sharon Olds

The Linen Industry by Michael Longley

In a White Town by Daljit Nagra

(both of the above poems should come up on a google search)

For information on the Read Regional Campaign see

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday 6 September between 6pm-8pm on the third floor of Newcastle’s, City Library. All are very welcome whether you’re a first-timer or an old-hand. See you there!

This month at the Poetry Room, you decide…!

 What are you in the mood for this month:   Keats or Cope, Shelley or Sylvia?  It’s your choice at this month’s Poetry Room where we’re asking you to bring along a poem of your choice (plus ten copies).

Old or new, rhyming or non-rhyming, ballad or – you get the picture.  The only rules are that you should love it, and it should not be written by you.

So come along, even if you’ve never been before, to Level 3, Newcastle City Library between 6pm-8pm on Tuesday 5 July.  It’s our final Poetry Room of the season and it’s going to be a good night!

And in case anyone missed the recent radio adaptation of Christopher Reid’s wonderful collection The Scattering (a Poetry Room favourite when we looked at it last year) do check out