Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.

Present:  MicheleJonathan, KazPip, Adele, Fiona, Gill, PeterIan (chair).

Apologies: JennyLesley.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.

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Matters Arising

Peter drew the group’s attention to the Crossing The Tees Book Festival, 11-17 June, 2022, and circulated a booklet.

Adele drew the group’s attention to the Books By The Beach 2022 Scarborough Book Festival this Saturday and Sunday, 11-12 June, 2022.


Members’ Readings

Adele — read more of her Covid Diary, starting on Friday 16 July, 2021. Mum and William continue having extreme, absurd difficulties with hospital appointments for his procedure. One night the ward has an intruder who is subsequently found to have covid, which meant that everyone on the ward now has to isolate.
Difficulties with hospital transport. Anomalies surrounding nightclubs. The ping-demic. Only 48% of Middlesbrough have had their first jab, compared to 96% in more privileged parts of the country.
Visitors from amber and green countries no longer need to quarantine. The Tokyo Olympics goes ahead (in empty stadiums) in spite of the number of covid cases rising in Japan.

Fiona appealed to the group for help over the problem of getting her poems to scan. Much advice was offered, the group largely agreeing that a tedious apprenticeship of counting syllables was unavoidable before a feeling for scansion emerged. Ian revealed the existence of a genre he called Bad Poetry, which invariably rhymed but didn’t scan. A genre it was good to avoid, which could be done by abandoning rhymes. But if determined to write in that genre, strive to be exceptionally bad, in order to be at the top of the game. William McGonagall was mentioned, as was Pam Ayres, both of whose controversial poems sell in quantity.
Fiona then read her poem People call me “Princess” – which despite the author’s apologies for any shortcomings in scansion was well-received.

Peter read his Teesside dialect poem I lost my plimsoll in the mucky owd river, due to be featured in Crossing The Tees mentioned above.
Peter also commended the book A Gentleman in Moscow.

Kaz read two poems:
1940: a war poem structured in numbers, 1, 2, 3…
What’s in a name? The poet describes a chance meeting on Lendal Bridge in York, leading to a romantic obsession with a (transsexual) twist in the tail.

Michele — read a further instalment of her novel: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902.
Anna has just shot a soldier who has raped a woman. She creeps back to the encampment and rejoins her family. The escorting Khakis (British soldiers) take fright at the shooting of one of their number and start firing at random in the dark. In the ensuing chaos, Baby Jurgen is shot dead in his mother’s arms, the mother being Anna’s cousin. They bury the baby.
Anna gets into conversation with a khaki who reveals that, unable to get home, he was pressed into the army by the British.

Gill — continued reading her new YA novel. In his granny’s dementia ward, Tommy is called over by the strange old woman with green eyes. She sends him on an errand: to retrieve her ebony box from the storeroom upstairs. Tommy manages to do so without being seen by the staff. The old woman draws out a teapot and crockery from an impossibly small space and proceeds to make green tea for them both. But this is no ordinary green tea.

Ian read a short poem: Cosmic Clog-Dance, flippantly hinting at an apocalyptic cosmological disaster on its way to engulf our unsuspecting world.

The meeting closed at 1.05 PM.