Author Archives: Robbie Burton

Our webpage is a Good Thing


I’m a Facebook fan…. I check in several times a day to see what chums are up to, poetry chums in the main. Yesterday, for example, Facebook was full of Heaney poems posted by sad poets mourning his loss. Facebook, used wisely, is a good thing. Not, perhaps, an opinion shared by all of you. However…

Our Stanza webpage could be as informative as Facebook and less of a hot potato. All we need do (and I’m including myself in this good-talking-to) is check in every day, make comments when moved to, and keep each other informed of poetic thoughts, words and deeds.

That’s all. For now. The now that is 09.09  31 August 2013.


Robbie Burton

Seamus Heaney Poems

Some time ago we spent a wonderful stanza evening discussing the poetry of Seamus Heaney.  Here’s a couple of favourite poems brought by members that evening:


From ‘Lightenings’:

The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.

The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,

A crewman shinned and grappled down the rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
‘This man can’t bear our life here and will drown,’

The abbot said, ‘unless we help him.’ So
They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
Out of the marvellous as he had known it.


The Rain Stick   


Up-end the stick and what happens next

Is a music that you never would have known

To listen for. In a cactus stalk


Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash

Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe

Being played by water, you shake it again lightly


And diminuendo runs through all its scales

Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes

A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,


Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;

The glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.

Up-end the stick again. What happens next


Is undiminished for having happened once,

Twice, ten, and thousand times before.

Who cares if all the music that transpires


Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?

You are like a rich man entering heaven

Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.





September Meeting

Our next meeting will take place at 7.00pm on Monday 9 September 2013 in the Haydn Rees Room, Clwyd Theatr Cymru.  It will begin with our AGM and be followed by a read&feedback session. Please bring c.15 copies of a poem that you’d like to have critiqued.

You will find a copy of the AGM agenda on the Members’ page.

August Meeting

Our next meeting will be held on Monday 12 August at 7.30pm in the Haydn Rees Room, Clwyd Theatr Cymru.

It will be a read-and-feedback evening, but this time the poems won’t be submitted anonymously. Please bring c.15 copies of the poem you’d like to air… it will be especially useful for poets who are participating in the poetry/music collaboration – Diana, who will be composing the music, will be able to hear the poet’s work in his/her own voice.

However, the evening isn’t restricted to those poets/poems, it is for everyone who’d like useful comments on their work.

For newer members, the rules are a little different from the anonymous sessions (but not much). A few guidelines are detailed on the Workshop page.

A few feedback guidelines

The purpose of giving feedback is to provide constructive criticism to enable the poet to produce a final draft.  Making sure that feedback is constructive not only benefits another poet but also helps us to become more thoughtful readers. Treating other people’s work with the respect we’d like our own to receive is always a good starting point for making the feedback workshop a constructive exercise.

Things to consider:

– What do you like about this poem?

– Describe parts of poem that work really well. 
(Consider imagery, originality, rhythm, title, language use)

– Technical matters – have you any advice re. line lengths, stanza/line breaks, suitability of form, consistency etc?

– Are there any areas that are a little unclear, or could be tightened up?

Submissions Opportunity

The Poetry Of Shropshire

Offa’s Press is publishing an anthology of the poetry of Shropshire, edited by Simon Fletcher and Jeff Phelps, in October 2013. We intend to include heritage material by A.E.Housman, Wilfred Owen and Mary Webb plus other well-known ‘Shropshire poems’ as well as a strong selection of contemporary voices from Shropshire or using Shropshire as a subject.

To support this anthology we shall be running writing workshops on ‘the poetry of place’ at Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth and Oswestry libraries in the coming months: July 6th, Bridgnorth library, 2-4pm; August 3rd, Oswestry Library, 11am-1pm. Tickets for all workshops cost £7/£5.

Poets interested in submitting work should send up to 4 poems (max 50 lines each) including extracts from longer poems (max 50 lines also) plus a brief biographical note (max 40 words) to Offa’s Press, 2, Ferndale, Pant, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 9QD between June 1st and August 31st. Submissions outside this window will not be considered.

Poets might like to consider the following topics: landscape, history, geology, flora, fauna, local history, characters, childhood memories, folklore, legends, sacred places, rivers and so forth.

Please include an SAE if you want your work returned. We are unable to enter into any correspondence and the editors’ word is final. If you haven’t heard anything from us by the end of September you can assume your submission has been unsuccessful.

Please watch out for the launch events in October/ November. There will be no fees but all successful contributors will be sent a free copy of the anthology and invited to one or other of the launch events. Copyright remains, of course, with contributors.

Any queries please email: