Portsmouth Poetry Society Programme 2023 – 2024
Portsmouth Poetry Society marked their 50th Anniversary with a reading, a cake and a gathering at St. Francis Church, Hilsea, on July 19th. Cutting the cake are John Dean, Denise Bennett, Mrs. Sheila Wells, who read a poem by her late husband, Brian, and Pauline Hawkesworth.
The Portsmouth Poetry Society Summer Outing in Old Portsmouth was well supported and recorded for posterity.
Brian Wells, Howard Wood and I were at the very first get together of people who might like to form a society. We met at David Palmer’s house, along with his wife for a number of times, then at the Harvest Home in Copnor Road, in a small bungalow building, and Doris Bealing came along shortly after that. Denise (Bennett) was pretty soon afterwards. David invited me after publicity surrounding my book, Dust and Dew – and a short film produced by Southern TV with Christopher Wain plus an article in The News.
David taught my daughter Ruth, at the old Northern Grammar School. The Palmer family were very talented. I think the first meeting at David’s house in Mayfield Road would have been in the early 1970s. as my book came out 1969. I seem to think that Denise joined when we were meeting at the Shearer Arms. At the very first meeting David’s lounge was crammed full, mostly with young students. Brian and Howard were friends due to their stamp collecting hobby.
Jos was one of the early members, but she went away for some years and re-joined us when she returned. Connaire Kensit also was an early member as well as Joan Lister, who became chairman. I think both Brian and Howard were chair at some time. And, of course, Trevor Clark, was one of the very early members and much loved by us all. I became his ‘next of kin’ and when he died produced his poetry. John Roberts was very early, too, and I off-loaded boxes of Trevor’s poems to him. Big Boxes. Trevor died around 1994. Joan Lister would know of many more, and there was a very talented Sen Gupta, who both drew and wrote.
Yes, I was an early member joining in 1973 when the group met at The Shearer Arms. I was introduced to the society by Brian Wells who I met at Winchester when I was receiving a poetry prize. I have been secretary for over 30 years and still have a members book dating back to 1972. I have seen many comings and goings.
We held meetings in the WEA/Adult Education Centre, New Road for a few years.
Members of the group have, at various times, read on Radio Solent, in libraries and at Portsmouth Museum. We have also produced a number of anthologies of members’ work including a past and present one.
The cup which is presented to the winner of our competition each year is affectionately known as The Rummage Cup since Howard Wood, one of the founder members, bought it at a rummage sale.
Please use this contact form to get in touch with our Secretary, Denise Bennett.
For urgent matters she can also be contacted by telephone on 023 9248 0577.