Poetry Group

A meeting of the Poetry Group, in the Oak Room of the Fox and Hounds

An introduction by the Poetry Group’s leader, Annie Freud, to her recently published fourth collection of poems, Hiddensee

‘In the five years it took to write these poems, I was conscious of an unexpected upswell of desire to live my life as intensely as possible and do things I’d never done before. I was sustained by the words of the great American painter Alice Neel, “Everybody Wants Everything”. 
In the writing of Hiddensee, the elaboration of its themes and forms, journeys back to my youth and to more distant pasts, trials of illness and aging, homages to other authors and escapes into the French language, I became embodied by that desire. Sometimes, the poems seemed like racehorses fidgeting in their stalls for the steeplechase to begin. 
The translations of Jacques Tornay’s poems went through many stages, from literal interpretation to syntactical despair, and later a more archaeological approach, always with the sense not to let their medicine for the soul pass me by.
More than at any time before, I am grateful for the love and support of  my fellow-poets, in particular the Cattistock Poets, my friends and family, and those dear departed from this world.’
A review of Hiddensee can be found here.


Aim: the aim of the group is to support and encourage each member to write poems towards publishable standard

How organised:
This group has been active nearly 10 years. Many members have had poems published in magazines, anthologies and pamphlets, have performed at festivals of national importance and have been shortlisted and/won prestigious awards. Poems from the Oak Room, an anthology of members’ poems was published by Flagon Press.

Anyone wishing to join should contact Annie Freud. Currently there are 11 members. However it unusual for so many to be present at meetings.

The group is tutor-led and usually starts with a reading and discussion of a published poem by a recognised author. Members bring (typed) copies of their own poem so that the rest of the group can read it, make notes etc. After each one is read aloud, this is followed by a discussion on whether, and how, the poem succeeds in finding its ‘mark’, and ideas are put forward to help the author make it work better.

The meetings are quite informal. Care is taken by the tutor to ensure that the atmosphere in the group is one of respect, safety and good humour.

The tutor regularly gives advice by email on routes to publication, such as magazine submissions, competitions, websites, useful organisations and publishers, as well information about newly published collections.

Members are asked to contribute £5.00 per session.

Cattistock Poets regularly holds public readings, welcomes guest poets and members also organise writing workshops and readings in the local area.

The discussions are always lively and exhilarating.

Name: Cattistock Poets

Contact Name: Annie Freud

Contact Number: 07759033471

Contact email: anniefreud7@gmail.com

Activity Details: we meet regularly on a Tuesday evening to share and discuss new poems by group members



Tim Cumming reading his poem 'Saturn'
Annie Freud reading one of her poems

Imbolc is a traditional Celtic festival, celebrated on February 1st and celebrates Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of poetry & smithcraft. Brigid is a triple goddess with maiden, mother & crone aspects. Her maiden form is known as Bridie (origin of Bride). Brigid is a sun goddess with fiery arrows to reignite the sun, her totem animals are wolf, swan, snake and red cow.

Imbolc means ewes’ milk, for it is lambing time. Its emblem is the snowdrop, whose milk drop flowers and early green shoots indicate spring is on the way, if not quite here. Celtic festivals mark the seasons and Imbolc is like the quickening in the womb after winter’s dark. It is a time for seeding our hopes for the coming year.

Christianity incorporated pagan festivals into feast days, to get the locals on board and so Candlemas celebrates St Brigid (draw your own conclusions) one of Ireland’s patron saints. Around 480, Brigid founded a nunnery at Kildare on the site of a pagan shrine to the goddess and served by a group of young women who tended an eternal flame. It’s remains can still be seen. Bridgettene nuns still have a sanctuary in Kildare with a perpetual flame and St Bridget’s well close by. There is evidence that St Bridget visited Glastonbury to found a nunnery here. Bride’s mound commemorates her stay and she is carved, on the tower that tops Glastonbury Tor, milking her cow.



Tim reading, accompanied by BJ Cole and Emily Burridge with their arrangement of Gnossienne No3 by Eric Satie
One of the beautiful table dressings created by Annie
Annie reading, accompanied by Emily
 BJ Cole and Emily Burridge accompany Tim Cumming
Tim reading, accompanied by Emily and BJ Cole playing an arrangement from his 'Indian Willow'