Poetry Workshop with Jean Fairbairn

01 Aug 2017

In Attendance:    Olive Cutting (chair), Denny Gaudin, John Cutting, Hazel Newton, Derek Newton, Mary Matthews, Patricia Burn, Jesus Reyes Rodriguez ‘Ray’ and Sally Runham

Apologies from: Sue Worthington and John Williams.



Welcome and notices

Olive welcomed Jean Fairbairn to the meeting. Jean kindly presented the poetry workshop and set the competition challenge.


Olive welcomed members to the meeting and news of members was shared. The group passed on good wishes to both Margaret Faulkner and John Williams.


The Evening's Event
Jean introduced the poetry workshop.
She also invited discussion throughout her presentation and this led to a lot of feedback and shared experiences.
Jean feels that poetry should have rhyme or rhythm.
Ray also suggested it should have structure.
Forms of poetry were discussed.

Jean asked Patricia to read William Shakespeare's sonnet ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds..’ and this led to the setting of the competition.


Jean set the poetry competition challenge.
This is to be submitted on 5th October.
Jean would like 40 lines of double spaced typed writing with a theme using the voice of a non-human - animal, bird or object.
This is to be in the 1st, 2nd or third person.

See the accompanying competition leaflet.


Further examples of poems read by the group were:


  • World War One Poems by Rupert Brook and Wilfred Owen were read by Ray.
     These showed contrasting approaches to war poetry, one based on patriotism and the glory of fighting for your country, the other based on the grim realities of trench warfare.

  • Denny gave a lovely rendition of Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth.

  • Mary read a poem about an Eagle by Jean Fairbairn that was admired by the members, who agreed that the rhyming helped make the poem both easier listening and more memorable compared with an example based on a hawk but which did not rhyme.

  • Olive read Colorado River by Jean Fairbairn which flowed beautifully and revealed the historical detail of the native Indians

  • Patricia expressively read her own composition, ‘Obsession.’

  • Olive read a short poem, ‘The Scientist.’ Olive had won an award of 5 shillings for this poem.


References provided by Jean:

  • Songwriter’s Rhyming Dictionary Jake Jackson

  • Two Centuries of Roman Poetry Edited by E C Kennedy and A R Davis

  • Stephen Fry The Ode Less Travelled

  • Concise English Thesaurus


Members enjoyed a refreshment break including scones and shortbread.


After discussion, Olive gave a vote of thanks and flowers were presented to Jean.


The meeting closed at 9.30pm.


The next meeting is on 5th September when the topic of Blogging will be led by Frank, with contributions from Mary, Patricia and others. Please bring any examples of this, or email Sally if you cannot present your experiences yourself. The Mini Saga competition will be launched that evening and the requirements discussed. Please also bring or send any outstanding annual subscriptions of £12.


Events Ahead and Sources of Support

Patricia encourages members to write for the website. She suggests blogs of about 500 to 700 words www.huntingdonwriters.com. On Any Theme.  Please visit the website frequently and create new links to the website through Facebook and other media in order to raise its profile. Email all website contributions to Patricia at u2trish@aol.com      


Hazel - Local Radio as a way of broadcasting our work.


Sally - Please refer to www.threeshirespublishing.com for help with self-publishing. I attended a course in February and found this source really supportive. Help with all aspects such as editing, proof reading, cover design and promotion can be sought. One person on the course is making superb progress with publishing a story based on his family history that has been on his agenda for many years. You no longer need to leave your bestseller to fester waiting for the right agent or publisher to come along.

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