Staffordshire poetry collection
Staffordshire Library and Arts Service has worked closely with Bert Flitcroft to create a Staffordshire Poetry Collection. The idea is to help create a cultural identity for Staffordshire by creating a picture of the county in words and art. The poems come from whole range of different people from former poet laureates to ordinary people all over the county.
The full collection of 50 poems are available to read and download from our website:
Fun with Fergus
‘The Reminiscence Group at Newcastle library had a great time when Fergus McGonigal joined them for a fun packed entertaining session of his own poetry on the 17th Jan 2017. The room echoed with laughter as Fergus energetically recited some incredibly humorous poems and anecdotes which all encouraged the group to reflect upon subjects such as children, grandchildren and their weight! Fergus pitched it perfectly and was immediately able to engage with the whole audience. Two members of the group specifically referred to wanting to investigate more poetry as a result. Thank you Fergus!’ - from Terry Heath, librarian.
Christmas collaboration at Clayton library
On the 13th Dec 2016 we were delighted to welcome Emma Purshouse to Clayton library as part of a Christmas collaboration which also included a festive reminiscence event. Emma was able to gather ideas and thoughts from people’s recollections in the earlier reminiscence event and was able to ‘crowd source’ a poem from the comments to produce a fantastic Xmas themed poem which she subsequently shared with the audience members.
The whole event was fabulous and all the audience members were thrilled with the concept and how cleverly Emma was able to piece together the individual comments. One lady said it will encourage her to read more poetry over Xmas and another lady commented on how clever Emma was to compile a poem from people’s recollections.
It certainly got the audience talking and thinking about poetry. A great day.
Terry Heath, the librarian, added: Sorry I forgot to take photos of the event! I was enjoying it too much :-)
Pop-up poetry in Stafford library
Jonny Fluffypunk spent a happy afternoon in Stafford library on 26th January. Jonny says, "We managed a gig, a workshop to make a group poem AND mini Poetry on Demand all in 2 hours!"
Here's the poem Jonny wrote, using contributions from many visitors to the library:
It is like going into a church.
As a child
the library moved next door
and that was a wonderful feeling;
It's free and it's warm
And it is my place.
It's quiet and the noises
in my head can escape
Reading is the only hobby that is free
When I want a book I come and have a look
Reading a book is a gateway
to other people's lives
Reading a book is like
riding on a wave…
By Stafford Library Users, 26th January 2016
Poetry for a visually-impaired painting group
On 13th October, 2015, Mandy Ross ran a poetry workshop for a painting group for visually-impaired people in Staffordshire. Jean Glavey reports:
The session involved a group who meet regularly at the library, together with three volunteers and a member of staff to help with scribing; everyone worked in pairs. They looked at communication and using visual arts/poetry/braille to convey meaning using the theme of ‘Come with me’.
Using tools used for painting and drawing such as a sponge, paint brush, acrylic paint as a starting point and thinking about ideas around the sounds they could hear at dusk each pair came up with some wonderful ideas, imagery and poetry.
The session was extremely successful – and the poems produced will form the basis of a display which I hope will include some of the poems translated into braille. I also hope that we can use the poems and some of their art work for a display.
Here is one of the poems:
Memories of a Pencil
I was taken from the packet
to write a beautiful song
to write down all the melodies,
the notes, the tunes and the chords.
I remember the breeze, the sun, the rain
and the snow covering once when
I was alive and growing tall.
The melodies I think of are the sounds
of the wind rustling through my leaves .
The tunes I remember are the
early morning song of the birds
nestling in their nests.
My insides quiver like the ground
that they were dug from,
beneath my earthly roots.
Together we write a song of life, of death,
of unity, of joy, of love
but remaining forever in our song.
Pop-up poetry with Spoz and Emma Purshouse
Spoz's session took place as part of our regular monthly New Editions coffee morning when we display new stock and encourage people to browse over a cup of coffee. Spoz sat with participants round a coffee table and chatted to them and with them created a poem about Tamworth. Some people came and went – others stayed and chatted and listened to Spoz reciting his poetry. It was a lovely relaxed session. Greatly enjoyed by those who took part – and the whole thing had a lovely feel to it.
Comments included – Very interesting and entertaining; great morning, “brill”; very enjoyable; lovely man, wonderful poet, very entertaining.
Here's the group poem:
We're the fat capital of the Midlands, they say -
We love a good pasty from Greggs.
we could do with losing a pound or two,
If we knew how to use our legs.
Mothers are young. We've got kids pushing kids,
Some of them barely out of school.
Growing up quicker than perhaps they should,
With a burger in hand, looking 'cool'.
Dodging mobility scooters,
Down the paths of Royal George Street,
You may end up with the 'Tamworth limp',
If you don't keep an eye on your feet.
Make your way to the miracle library,
Where there's more than a book on a shelf.
Based on the left behind sticks and zimmers,
That place can transform your health!
Bucket lists, post-it notes, Wetherspoon's pubs,
Where the Tame and the Anker meet,
Looking down from the castle - the capital of Mercia -
Making wishes from the wet wishing seat.
Double helix staircases in St. Edither's church,
A monument to pre-Raphaelite glass;
The origins of the P.C.s as the Peelers were here,
To give a kick to the criminal... bottom.
So raise a cheer for our colourful heritage,
This jewel in the Staffordshire crown.
Our flower is blooming marvellous,
In our beautiful Tamworth town!
By Giovanni 'Spoz' Esposito and a cast of thousands from Tamworth library
Emma Purshouse worked with people in Cannock library. Everyone contributed a line for their Cannock poem - and here it is:
a visit to the library,
the best market around,
a pint in the Royal Oak
(must be the oldest pub in town).
where I’m happiest
walking dogs on the chase.
It’s friendly obliging people,
a very pleasant place
A variety of shops,
fun, a working life,
a cup of tea at Taylors,
it’s where I met the wife.
a wedding at the registry office
43 years ago,
a visit to Aunty Elsie’s,
a film at the Danilo,
Platt Street, Ash Grove,
a bus ride away
down the Pye Green Road
a great place to come back to
no matter where you roam.
Cannock’s a warm welcome.
Cannock is our home.
Mal Dewhirst, who is about to retire as Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate, has been running workshops based on things of interest in the nearby area. In Lichfield Library, the workshop explored some of the artefacts held in the library. Two workshops in Tamworth library, celebrated Tamworth’s 1100 year anniversary, and involved exploring the town through maps, books and a walking tour.
Young Poet Laureate
This year, the city council and county council have joined forces to recruit a new city and county-wide Young Poet Laureate, who will hold the post for a year.
The prestigious competition aimed to showcase the excellent skills of 14-18-year-olds across the two areas. Natalie Cotterill was chosen from a strong field, and will read some poems at an event in Baswich Library on 3rd October.