Thursday, February 28, 2013

1976: THE POETRY YEARS, 1974 TO 1980

1976 was a big year for me. Via some kind of relationship, I moved to Ipswich. Got a bedsit just off Portman Road. I reforged friendships with Stef from my art school days. Think he became a manager at Sainsburys (amazing what graphics can do). Anyway, I was back in the town.

I got a job at Burton Son & Saunders for a month. Just a terrible factory. They made all kinds of sweets and were once famous for Waggon Wheels. I met a black woman who was still working the same machine in which she had lost her hand! And another older woman who had worked there 41 years and every year took her holiday in Rhyl! And after a run in with the forewoman, was out the door after four weeks!

However, I had plans to set up a poetry group in the town. The Eastern Arts Association couldn't provide me with direct funding but would offer me the opportunity to help run Poets In Pubs. I met Irene MacDonald, EAA arts officer after work in The Swan. Despite being covered in sugar, it was a good meeting. a bit of a spur.

Meanwhile, I began gathering names, contact details. John Row, performance poet; and Frank Wood, active in the Suffolk Poetry Society. Frank told me there was a published poet in Ipswich I must get involved, Keith Dersley. I had seen Keith's poems in Samphire and was keen to involve him. He worked in the main Post Office. I plucked up courage and went to his counter and, reluctantly at first, he was on board.

I also had contact via a friend in Sudbury with the director of the Drama Centre at Gatacre Road who was keen for a poetry group to hire  a room at the centre.

My memory fails me in how it all came together but the Ipswich Poetry Workshop was formed.

The next posting here will centre on the workshop, the poets, this exciting little venture which momentarily changed some of our lives.

No comments: