Portsmouth Poetry Society

Portsmouth Poetry Society Programme 2023 – 2024


The Portsmouth Poetry Society meet at 7.15 – 9.30 on the 1st Wednesday of the month at St
Mark’s Church Derby Road, North End Portsmouth PO2 8RY. We meet in a small room at
the back of the church. The following programme has been arranged for 2023 – 2024.
6th Sept:
Poems about climate change or the environment. Find or write.
This session to be introduced by Pauline Hawkesworth.
4th Oct:
AGM plus Free For All. Please bring any poems you wish to share
with the group. Your own work or anything that interests you.
1st Nov:
Unrequited Love. Find or write your own poems. This session will
introduced by John Dean.
6th Dec:
Christmas Party venue TBA + Favourite modern Christmas poems, (1950 onwards).
3rd Jan:
Contemporary Female poets. Please bring copies of the poems that interest you.
This session will be introduced by Margaret Jennings.
7th Feb:
‘I come from …’ autobiographical poems which start with this line.
For example: I come from Portsmouth … hand me down clothes …
Introduced by Brian Shipman.
6th Mar:
The poetry of Michael Donaghy introduced by David Green.
Please bring copies of poems for discussion.
3rd Apr:
Letter Poems introduced by Denise Bennett. Please find or write
letter poems/research history of this format etc.
1st May
The Poetry of Grace Nichols and John Agard.
This session will be introduced by Liz Neal. Please bring copies for discussion.
5th Jun:
Summer Outing to be arranged. Ideas please.
3rd July
Outing poems + Free for All. Your own or poems that interest you.
The meetings are open to anyone with an interest in poetry. You don’t have to write to attend.
We have not yet set the charges for this year as we now meet monthly. This will be decided at
the AGM. If you have any questions please contact Denise Bennett, Secretary on 023 9248
0577 or email denisebennett1912@gmail.com


members of Portsmouth Poetry Society celebratity at the 50th Anniversary Event

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.

Portsmouth Poetry Society Summer Outing 2022

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.

Contact details

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.

Contact Form

Website contact David Green, email at  dg217.888@ntlworld.com