Posted on May 23rd, 2018


Our new Blog page – we will post matters of interest, sometimes about poetry, sometimes more general.


12 October: word on the street has it that Alex Toms’ launch at the Wivenhoe Bookshop of Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher was a runaway success; I’m sorry to have missed it but hope to have some details soon to share with you.


11 October: I enjoyed my visit to Bournemouth and last night’s launch of SOUTH 58 – a nice hospitable crowd, particularly organisers Patrick Osada and Peter Keeble. As a small boy I lived in Basingstoke in Hampshire, and I capitalised on this to prove my credentials as a southerner even though I’ve now been in East Anglia for 47 years (and before that 17 years in Edinburgh)! I read my three poems which seemed to be well received. Back copies of the twice yearly SOUTH magazine are available from


10 October: so I’m off today to Bournemouth, to attend the launch of the twice-yearly collection of SOUTH, this current one being SOUTH 58, in which I am privileged to have had a poem accepted – more news later … Sorry, however, to be missing Alex Toms with her launch at the Wivenhoe Bookshop tomorrow of Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher and I hope it will be a real success!


28 September: last night’s event was a humdinger! It was an opening event of the Essex Poetry Festival and it all went so well. Guest reader Michael Bartholomew-Biggs treated us to excerpts from his new book POEMS IN THE CASE – beautifully read, strong character pictures, and poems in several different voices. “Two poets found dead: someone should investigate”. And Alice Goss introduced the soft launch of WITHOUT WALLS. There were readings from that collection by Melanie Wright, Brian Ford, Sylvia Sellers and Stewart Francis. A number of books were sold and all proceeds will go to local charities in support of Colchester’s homeless.


22 September: met with Alice Goss and David Canning today to discuss the two launches of Alice’s poetry/prose compilation ‘Without Walls’. I am really enthusiastic about the book, it is beautifully produced and I sincerely hope it will sell well and will support several organisations for the homeless in Colchester. The ‘soft launch’ is on Thursday 27 September at Poetrywivenhoe.


15 September: for those of you who have been following this blog it may seem that we have been asleep for a couple of weeks – the fact is I have been away and off line, so I am now getting through all the post and emails and Powiv-based items that were awaiting my return. I am looking forward with anticipation to this year’s Essex Poetry Festival and as you will know by now the Festival opens with our Poetrywivenhoe Big Evening the week after next on Thursday 27 September (see our Home Page).


31 August: I am really pleased that, under my poet name of Peter Ualrig Kennedy, I have had a poem, ‘Tom’s cummerbund’, selected for the next number of SOUTH magazine. I hope to be able to share that with you later on, once it has been published in SOUTH 58.


26 August: there’s an interesting workshop coming up on 13 October with the intriguing title ‘Using Cinematic Techniques to Improve your Poetry’ … for details go to our WORKSHOPS PAGE


21 August: well, the blog has been a bit quiet during the past week – so here, as a small recompense, I give you a short verse on the wages of idleness, ‘Lines Written While Hanging by a Thumb’:

It is a most uncomfortable way
to spend the latter half of waking day;
I would advise you never to succumb
to the idea of hanging by a thumb.
……..::Peter Kennedy


14 August: my copy of the North No.60 arrived this morning, and even before I opened it I saw the name of Grevel Lindop on the cover (Grevel will be our guest reader in February). So the first thing I looked at was his article on Kim Addonizio, which made interesting reading. More of that later perhaps. Also I have updated the Competitions page, if that’s your bag.
….. ::Peter


that great indie band SALAD – reconstituted this year – laid down a very upbeat performance last night at the ‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ mini-festival which takes place at the legendary Concorde 2 venue in Brighton every August. (Paul Kennedy is Salad’s songwriter and guitarist) … ::Peter


GOSH – more absolutely amazing diving, and today in the Women’s 3m Springboard GB has come away with both Gold (Grace Reid) and Silver (Alice Blagg). Huge poise and skill, great result.


10 August: “dolphins dive in their turnturtle dust” wrote Dylan Thomas in ‘Poem On His Birthday’ … and today I have been enthralled by the Men’s Synchronised 3m Springboard Diving in the European Championships – boy have those lads been turning turtle. Nothing dusty about their performance of feats to make one gasp, like an inward 3½ somersault, or a forward 4½ somersault with tuck, or a dive of many twists, and with of course perfect sync and perfect entry. Just amazing. GB was pipped to gold by the Russians, a very close-run thing.


09 August: VALE MARTIN
“Vale” in the Latin sense, of course, to Martin (M W) Bewick, who is leaving the Poetrywivenhoe Team – Martin has been a true stalwart, and we wish him and Dunlin Press well. Thank you Martin for all your input to the running of Poetrywivenhoe.


To add to the adrenaline buzz of this afternoon, I’ve been glued to the televised Women’s 10 metre Platform Diving – an absolute thrill. The highest board I ever dived from was the 7.5m and that was high enough even without the twists and somersaults, which I never mastered (although the trampoline was invented as far back as 1934, we didn’t have any access to trampolines when I was training). I was comfortable off 5m. So I totally admired the nerve and skill of these young women hurling themselves off the 10m board today. And it made me think of Tennyson’s poem ‘The Eagle’ which I remember learning at school: short, easy to memorise.

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

……Alfred Lord Tennyson

O those tumbling girls! Aerial gymnasts!
….. ::Peter



I was watching the swimming in the European Championshipson on telly again today. So exciting. Britain’s Adam Peaty set a new championship record to retain the 50m breaststroke title and win his third gold medal. Such a strong and stylish swimmer, Peaty has won 11 European titles, making him the most successful British swimmer yet.
Brit Duncan Scott from Glasgow (go Scotland!) – swimming in the outside lane – won an unexpected gold in the men’s 200m freestyle. He gave it all he’d got. Thrilling stuff.
. . . . . . ::Peter
Matthew Sweeney, Irish poet, died on 5th August. He was 66 and had been suffering from motor neurone disease. He was one of our earliest guest readers at Poetrywivenhoe, in September 2017, and he was represented in our contemporary compilation ‘Days begin…’ (Wivenbooks 2015) having generously donated his poem ‘The Rock’ – a lovely poem which also appeared in The Poetry Review Winter 2014. Sweeney wrote poems invoking an “imagistic narrative” that “strays beyond realism” to a mode he called “alternative realism.” He did tell me he would love to come back to Poetrywivenhoe for another reading, but sadly it didn’t happen, and now it’s too late.
A good guy…. R.I.P. Matthew Sweeney.

The Rock

Maybe there’s a rock – no, a very small island
with a cave on it, that we could land our raft on,
and run with the seeds to plant vegetables.?
The hope of one small tree would be too much

but there might be some edible tiny creatures,
some maritime, some not, and wild samphire –
and, leaving the foodstuff aside, butterflies,
crow-cousins, puffins, multi-coloured jellyfish,

and maybe even bees, with their wild honey?
(see, the food is back!) that we’d have to steal,
though we’d have forgotten to bring wheat-seeds
and couldn’t return for them now. Still, perhaps

some seeds of the island grass could be ground
between big pebbles, and a kind of unleavened
bread might be slowly baked in stone ovens,
overseen by a half-naked, barefoot hopping me.

I’d like also, ideally, to find banks of coloured clay
to finally try to be a painter, using my fingers,
?of course, and I’d endeavour to sketch picture
after picture of you all over the walls of the cave.

…….Matthew Sweeney


I have just posted a new review for London Grip Poetry on the Reviews page, and perhaps this may be of interest as it’s the first of my reviews where I have not been entirely enthusiastic. To be true to his/her craft, a reviewer should be honest; anyway I wrote three drafts of this particular review, improving it and trying not to be too condescending; London Grip editor Michael Bartholomew-Biggs has kindly put up with my vagaries and has posted the final version. See what you think …

London Grip Poetry Review – Matt Nicholson



I’ve just been watching the swimming in the European Games on TV up there in Glasgow (Saturday 28 July). It featured a totally new event, the 4x200m mixed freestyle relay – what a great idea and what real excitement when in the final leg the Brits pulled up to a Bronze finish, a fraction behind Germany (Gold) and Russia (Silver). Plus the below surface camera showed all the grace of the tumble turn and the fly kick in the underwater push. Sheer poetry in motion.
…… ::Peter Kennedy


A POEM IN ORBIS (not in orbit, although it could be stellar …)
Pete Langley is published in Orbis #184 this month with his poem Stavanger, Andalesne et al. Good work, Pete.


Being published three times in The New European is no mean achievement. Tim Cunningham has had his third poem for Europe – Axis – in The New European of July 12-July 18.


Hearty congratulations to Pam Job who has been placed second in the prestigious Magma Poetry Competition 2017/2018.


Peter Kennedy‘s poem Rapscallion was published in the recent number of South. I was invited to read at the launch in Winchester in May.


Peter Kennedy was chuffed to be Colne Radio’s (FM 106.6) ‘Colne Castaway’ for the month of July. The hour-long programme can be found on “Listen Again” at


Bryan Thomas has won first prize in the Pen to Print: Poetry and Short Story Competition 2018 under the aegis of Barking and Dagenham Joint Councils with his story East End Chiseller.


DESERT ISLAND POEMS (acknowledgements to the late Roy Plumley)

The hot summer evening was most appropriate for a desert island, but I was apprehensive, not knowing whether we would have an audience for our Desert Island Poems. I need not have worried. As we opened proceedings I found myself looking over – not over an ocean, but over a fair-sized pond of faces – and so we got going, with Martin giving a well-considered welcome to newcomers and a resumé of what Powiv is all about.

Dave W got us off to a really good start with John Betjeman’s A Subaltern’s Love Song (Miss Joan Hunter Dunn). Harriet read us a poem written by her grandmother. Steve L produced some hardbitten work by Daphne Rock. Phoebe read a couple of nice short poems, and Phyllis read one of her own. Stephen N excelled with beautifully enunciated poems of birds by John Clare and W Shakespeare. Stewart read three delightful short poems of his own, Paul D thrilled us with poems of Osip Mandelstam translated from the Russian, and Candyce charmed us with a poem by a Minnesota poet (whose name escapes me) and then with a heartfelt one of her own about unrequited love. Phil concluded the first half with a highly amusing “Potter’s Wheel” discourse. A talking potter’s wheel is an unusual phenomenon.

Several of us went out during the interval for a bit of cooler air. The moon was full in the south-east. I came back in for the second half to tell those inside:
The full moon is caught
in the rigging of the yachts
that swing on their moorings
on the incoming tide …
and after that little bit of swooning doggerel we heard some more proper poetry from Paul D reading Emily Dickinson and Cesare Pavese, Stewart quoting from RS Thomas, and Dave W with a highly polished poem of his own – as highly polished as his shoes. Steve L came back with Daphne Rock again, and Phil recalled Elvis McGonagall and his neoliberal austerity measures. Stephen reprised his bird poems, with Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules. When we finally had run out of the Hat, Martin came up with Street Musicians by John Ashbery (one of the greatest 20th-century American poets), and then Jeannie wowed us with her “old-fashioned rhyme”: Ode to Phyllis and Flower Show, both self-penned. I brought up the rear with a couple of crazy poems from past issues of The Poetry Review: I wish I loved lawnmowers (Mark Waldron), and one by Luke Kennard concerning a pig that fell from the sky (it landed poorly, but it was not wounded … “teach me about satire and upper body strength” said the pig) which was from one of the many copies of The Poetry Review that we sold at Bargain Basement prices. We finished the evening with a brief Q&A session and I am emboldened to say that everyone thought it had been a really successful evening. We’ll do it again some time – maybe in the Spring.



Shore 2 Shore

I always enjoy a visit to Aldeburgh, and I was fortunate to get a ticket for the Shore 2 Shore event there on 19 June, but when I arrived at the venue – Aldeburgh Church – it was absolutely full. I managed a good seat in the south aisle however, next to a loudspeaker and with a view of the readers. And what readers! We were treated to Scottish Makar Jackie Kay, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, the Poet Laureate herself Carol Ann Duffy, and poet Daljit Nagra. Alongside this constellation of poetic talent, Rebecca Goss was the special guest poet for this Suffolk based evening. Rebecca as usual read exceptionally well – and although she is still, and always will be, a bereaved mother, reading from her book-length sequence of poems Her Birth, she had poems about the rest of her family as well. All in all an excellent evening.
::Peter Kennedy


The day that Colchester’s Stanza Group Mosaic came to Poetrywivenhoe

At our Poetrywivenhoe event in June our guests were Colchester’s Stanza Group Mosaic, who brought with them their recent ekphrasis project. Twenty-eight partnerships had been involved in the project and at Powiv the final four partnerships presented the results of their creative exchange. Stanza Rep Sheena Clover had invited artists, including some from Cuckoo Farm Studios in Colchester, to take part with poets from Mosaic. Each artist prepared a painting to present to their poet, and each poet wrote and proffered a poem to their artist. The artists then made an art work in response to the initial poem, while the poets expressed in words their reaction to the initial artwork – so at the end of the process each partnership had four pieces of work: new artwork responding to an initial poem and a new poem responding to initial artwork. The last four partnerships of the Colchester Stanza Mosaic project presented their finished work to the audience; this made for some really interesting revelations. At the end of the evening a robust Q&A session helped further to unravel some of the mysteries of the ekphrastic experience.
All the work has been compiled into a beautiful book “Stone’s Throw – art from poetry, poetry from art“ realised by Karen Dennison and which was launched at the Essex Book Festival.

::Peter K

* * * * * * * * * * *


Sorry, comments are closed on this article.