On Tuesday 24th November Alex Gray, (our own Sandra McGruther), took us from the leaden skies of Erskine on a wondrous journey into the land of poetry. She challenged us to think of what poetry is, by means of some quotations, from Wordsworth’s ‘emotion recollected in tranquillity’ to Poe’s ‘rhythmical creation of Beauty’ and reminded us that poetry enables us to come to terms with the world around and the universe within.
Sandra pointed out that the making of poetry requires no qualification other than the urge to communicate, but that its creation requires practice, care and nurturing. The poet must be a craftsman of ideas or new insights, but also of words and rhythm: of words, as in this sparse form, the reader’s eye will rest on every word written, and of rhythm as this carries the poem from writer to reader (or speaker to listener). The rhythm also applies tone, cadence, emotional effect, and signals when the poem comes to an end.
There followed a delightful time as Sandra read to us from some of her favourite poems, among them Burns’ Ye Banks and Braes, Tam O’ Shanter (what fun that was!), an excerpt from TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, poetry from Matthew Fitt and Kenneth Steven, Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill with its imagery of the innocence of childhood and Norman MacCaig’s Hotel Room 12th Floor and Visiting Hour. Sandra finished with a moving reading of Carol Ann Duffy’s The Christmas Truce.
The entries for the Betty Munnoch Memorial Award for Poetry covered a variety of forms and topics. The winners were –
1st Reborn by Kate Gordon
2nd Carpe Diem by Myra Duffy
3rd Late Learner by Kate Gordon
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to Sandra for such a magical afternoon.