Poetry Critique and Awards Night
with Jean Fairbairn

07 Nov 2017

In Attendance:   

Patricia Burn (Chair), Hazel Newton, Derek Newton, Mary Matthews, Rodriguez Reyes ‘Rey’, Olive Cutting, John Cutting, John Williams and Sally Runham

Guest speaker: Jean Fairbairn

David Seaton who phoned Hazel to pass on his best wishes and Peggy Chaffe who had seen Hazel recently. Our good wishes are passed on to all members who are unable to attend for various reasons.


Welcome and notices

Patricia welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked for any notices.

  • Mary thanked everyone for their donations at the Table Top Sale on 14th October at St Ives Corn Exchange and reported that the event had raised £81.60 for HWG funds. Stock unsold at the end had been donated to local charity shops. Hazel and Mary were thanked by members for their hard work.

  • Patricia requested blogs for the HWG website and suggested that members write book and poem reviews as an easy way of contributing to the site.

  • There is a new Facebook page for HWG at the following link  https://www.facebook.com/HuntingdonWritersGroup/


The Evening's Event:
Poetry Competition Results and Critique with Jean Fairbairn.


The entries were read by six people.


‘A Rhythmic Renewable Rhyme’ was read by Rey, written by Sally

Jean thought this suitable for secondary education age children. It spoke of four forms of renewable energy that would save our planet from the effects of climate change. It was well researched and quite technical.

‘Pusskin’ was read by Hazel, written by Olive.

Jean said she liked this poem and considered it suitable for a wide audience. She particularly enjoyed such verbs as ‘swish’ for the cat’s tale. This cat was a Jekyll (by day) and Hyde (by night) character. It was amusing and well-executed.

Patricia read a sonnet poem from the voice of a tree in Hyde Park.

Jean really liked this poem ‘fabulous and clever’ but thought it suitable for an adult audience only.

Mary read ‘Glory Days’ which narrative voice was a former race horse, now enjoying retirement and rest. Those who saw him now were totally unaware of his past achievements and fame.

Jean considered this suitable for a wide range of audiences. John particularly liked ‘foam flecked flanks’.

Sally read ‘The Forth Road Bridge’.

This told of the building of the bridge by the Victorians striving for industrial expansion and the terrible loss of human life.

Jean thought this had taken a lot of time to write and research. Some people suggested it was a useful history lesson as each line included factual information.

Each line was felt to be a bit too long and should be shortened. (This would have made the poem too long for this competition, though!).

Olive read ‘Song Of The Wind’ about the strange and sometimes devastating impact of something invisible and ephemeral. Jean loved the phrase ‘I am wind’.

Everyone enjoyed this. Olive had taken quite some time to write this, making infinitesimal changes each day until she was happy with it.


Jean then announced the winners:

First prize: Gold Award and £15 to Olive with ‘Song Of The Wind’.

Second prize: Silver Award and £10 to Mary with ‘Glory Days’.

Third prize: Bronze Award and £5 each to: Patricia with ‘Things I Have Seen – A Sonnet’ and Sally with ‘The Forth Road Bridge’


John then read one of Jean’s poems, ‘Rippling River Great Ouse’ which was appreciated by HWG group. Jean is a Bridge Poet and they meet next on Tuesday 21st November 7 – 9pm at the Dolphin Hotel in St Ives. Jean said the meeting was open to other poets.


There was a refreshment break and coffee/ tea and buttered homemade scones were enjoyed by all. There was lots of networking and exchange of ideas.


After the interval, Patricia presented Jean with a gift card, to applause from all members who thanked her for the incredible time input into the highly detailed and constructive critiques.


John was invited to read an entertaining poem about his stay in Hinchingbrooke Hospital.


Rey read a short story, entitled, ‘The Basket’ about a husband and father grieving the loss of his family in a car accident. Everyday items collected in the shopping basket reminded him of his considerable loss. This was felt to be heartfelt and poignant.

The meeting closed at 9.15pm.


The next meeting is on 5th December when the 50 word -Mini Saga competition entries are to be submitted. There is a maximum of three entries per author. Maximum of 16 words in the title.


Please also bring some nibbles, savoury or sweet, to share. Christmas Consequences on a writing theme will be played.






Patricia encourages members to send in examples of their favourite poems etc together with a short ctitique (not obligatory) for the blog section of the website. 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.       


Ongoing competitions are:

  1. The Mini Saga with entries on 5th December. There is a maximum of three entries per author. Also please remember the on-going biography/autobiography project for submission in April next year.

  2. Short story 1,000 words entitled ‘Folded’ for submission in March and

  3. The biography/autobiography project for submission in April next year.

Please see the programme at the end of the newsletter.


Please note that Mary has a new novel out under the name of Georgia Rose ‘Parallel Lies’, available from Amazon.

Noel K Fletcher, who left HWG recently, has a Kindle book of short stories entitled ‘And I Don’t Even Have An Uncle In Australia’.

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