Local poet/writer Geoff Marshall and other local poets rose to a challenge initiated by the Poetry Society, an opportunity for anyone to “pin” their poem on the map of England, online. It was very popular with over seven thousand poems sent in, each connected in one way or another with places in England.
The Poetry Society then felt compelled to put together their choice of these in an anthology called “Places of Poetry” which has just been published and is available in the Rye Bookshop as a handsome hardback at the reasonable price of £12.99. (Christmas is just around the corner)
When Geoff retired from his post as a doctor in a busy London teaching hospital he had not expected the writing skills he had honed over the years on lengthy clinical reports to be used in the service of poetry. However, retiring to Rye awakened his pre-existing interest in poetry which was influenced by his mother Heather, a popular novelist in New Zealand, and later by his British mother-in-law, a teacher. In his retirement, Geoff delved into many areas of research, including the nature of consciousness and poetic structures and after initially working alone he eventually became involved with the Poetry Society. Since then he has published a number of poems, (sad and joyous), in particular through the Reach Poetry Journal.
At the same time as the book “Places of Poetry” was put together, an eco-poetry workshop was offered in Rye Harbour in connection with the new Discovery Centre. It was taught by its writer in residence, the award winning poet Jane Lovell. The focus was on developing poetry connected with the area through writing walks in the Nature Reserve, completing a large volume of work using Jane’s ideas, and happily, afterwards feeding their brain cells at the Avocet gallery and tea room.
Several of this group also contributed to the collection of Places of Poetry and Jane is putting together an anthology of all the poems of her group which will be released next spring/summer to coincide with the opening of the Discovery Centre. As Geoff’s wife Lenka puts it: “Beneath the present grey and gloom, the life of the imagination still flourishes in Rye”.
Image Credits: Alan Dickinson , Heidi Foster .