Poetry at Clapham Book Festival 2018

Planning the Programme for Clapham Book Festival 2018 is well underway, with only the slight hitch of a royal wedding and the FA Cup Final to over come ( we did – we changed the date – we’re not proud ). It will now take place on 12th May and the countdown has already begun.

Nothing is finalised yet, but we hope to have the Programme settled by the end of January, then our promotion and marketing activity will commence. To that end we have, this year, advertised on Reach for a volunteer to help with the digital marketing. If anyone knows of a likely candidate do point them towards this notice.

One of the sessions to be included this year will be on poetry. The very first Clapham Book Festival in 2016 included one such by local poet Michael Glover, which was very well received. This year we hope that Daljit Nagra, until recently Poet in Residence at Radio 4, will host a session talking about the writing and performing of poetry today, with some other practitioners of the art. His Look We Have Coming to Dover! won the 2007 Forward Poetry Prize, his second collection Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-man Eating Tiger Toy Machine was short-listed for the 2012 T.S.Eliot Prize.

In the meanwhile and in celebration of yesterday’s Poetry at Work Day, I include here a mini-selection of poetry by writers in a Writer’s Circle to which I belong, none of whom are published poets, though all are published writers, of one kind or another. More to come on the Reader’s Page later.

The Dying River

Every evening of that hard summer,

The interminable summer of the great drought,

After the town had lain aghast all day

Pinioned by the sun, I would go out

Down to the river bed where the water lay

In brazen pools under the sunset’s hammer.

There the ebbing stream would glimmer

Threading past random sand-bars

Carelessly shaped by the spring flood,

The receding waters barely quenching the embers

Of the day, where beyond the parched mud

I watched the dying river simmer.

In the dusk glow and soft murmur

Of approaching night I paced the cracked

And hardened strand, discovering clues

That told of distant cities sacked,

Their treasures and their dross the only news,

Sifted through time, of that ancient clamour.



We came to a small clearing

Now wait here he said and listen

I sat on a fallen trunk

Feeling the rough bark

And looking up I was alone

Here the wind lightly fingers the leaves

Earth firm beneath my feet

Now between receding regrets

And the web of hopes and fears

Waiting for the unknown is

More an expectant abiding

Listening for the unheard

Deep notes of an under swell

In that space my openness

So raw and stark

Breath and heart keeping company

Thought vacant

Only the here in the waiting

Listening for the now

In the eternal return to the clearing

Is my homecoming.


On Meditation

I sat

I felt





Forces opposing left and right

Then, aha, the neutral came in sight

I sat

I dreamed

By the way Tippoo Sultan’s wonderful automaton can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, which has featured elsewhere on The Story Bazaar – see              All of this belongs to you – it’s free!                   The Real Thing

If you want to know more about the Clapham                               Book festival see      South London Festivals 2018                   Clapham Book Festival The Programme 2017                      Omnibus Edition – Clapham’s Literary Festival


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