The Poetry Group – Pam Kelly

A frequently published and well-respected poet herself, Pam Kelly runs the long-established Poetry Group. Here she reveals more about the talented members and the work they’ve produced over the years.

Q. When and where does the group meet?
A. We meet at The Centre, once a month, to share our poems, give feedback and critique. There are currently nine members.

Q. And what happens in your meetings?
A. A different member sets a theme each month and when we meet, we allow about fifteen minutes for each poet to read their homework, providing copies for other members. Nobody is allowed to say “this isn’t very good” before reading! The aim for each of us is to write better poetry and over the years we have all noticed huge improvements in each other’s work. So it’s vital that members feel confident in their work and more importantly all feedback must be honest, truthful and sometimes hard-hitting. There’s no place for mediocre words like ‘nice’ or ‘fine’.

Q. So would you say the group is exclusively for serious poets?
A. Yes, the group is for people who write poetry on a regular basis and who welcome criticism of their work so that they can improve it. It’s of a high standard mainly because we have an appraisal process that’s not for the faint-hearted. Currently we’re at full capacity, but consideration could be given to one additional, suitably motivated individual.

Q. Could you share some of the group’s achievements?
A. We have published two books of poetry about Shaftesbury, ‘Views from Shaftesbury’ and ‘Through the Year in Shaftesbury’. The books made a substantial amount of money for The Centre. They were widely read and praised and were certainly given a good mention in local newspapers and magazines. We deliberately chose to write on a local theme so we could sell them at locations such as The Tourism Office, the Museum, the Arts Centre’s foyer and many other local outlets.

Q. Is the group still operating despite the current situation?
A. Yes, all the poets are writing as usual but we’re sharing work and giving feedback online.

If you have any enquiries about the Poetry Group please contact poetry@shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk.

Meanwhile you can listen to the group’s Weekly Poem at https://shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk/wps2/the-weekly-poem/

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