Save the date April 8th, Special Loose Muse Open mic!

Loose muse profile picture

Dear All,

The next Loose Muse will be on Monday 8th April at the Discovery Centre, 7.30pm – 9.30pm, £6 on the door.  It will be a Special Open Mic as I will be away at Kim Moore’s Poetry Residential in St. Ives.  Louise Taylor will be my guest host and men will be able to read this time, so please bring along your poems, short stories and flash fiction to share as there will be plenty of time to hear more than the usual one from each!

I am registering our ‘Loose Muse Poetry Performance’ for Heritage Open Days and hope to acquire St. Lawrence in the Square for this like last time.  I will keep you informed about this and in the meantime poet, Hilary Hares has kindly offered to run a Poetry Workshop to help kickstart inspiration on the theme of ‘Writing Poems on Food and Drink’ which is the Winchester theme for Heritage Open Days alongside the National theme of ‘People Power’. 

The Poetry Workshop will be on Sunday May 12th, 11.15am – 1.30pm  in the Tower room at the Discovery Centre.  The price is £18 and a deposit of £5 payable at April’s Loose Muse is requested this time.  This is because people have put their name down for workshops in the past but then not turned up on the day.  This is disappointing especially as the last few workshops have sold out and so it prevented others from joining us.  These workshops are fundraisers for Loose Muse and help to cover the costs of booking the best poets so please come along if you can.  Hilary will be making a list of names and taking your deposits at Monday’s Loose Muse.

There is, of course, no need to go to the workshop in order to send me your poems to be chosen for our performance.  The only qualification is that you must have read your work at one of the Loose Muse Open Mic sessions.  I look forward to receiving your poems and expect great things – like last time!

Winchester Poetry Festival are undertaking market research and have asked me to involve Loose Muse as we are important to the local poetry scene.  This means that at April’s Loose Muse there will be a researcher who will talk for a few minutes to tell you their plans, hand out questionnaires and ask for your help.  There will be a follow up to this in May at Loose Muse when I’m back.

Looking forward to seeing you again in May.

Warmest wishes,


Be broadcast on Love Andover Radio on National Poetry Day 2018

National Poetry Day 2018 is on Thursday 4th October 2018 and the theme this year is ‘Change’.

Expect an explosion of activity nationwide, thousands of amazing events across the UK – in schools, libraries, bookshops and hospitals, on buses, trains and boats – all celebrating poetry’s power to bring people together. Just look at our events listing to see what’s happening near you.

Andover Radio’s Poet Laureate Daniel Hooks (“The Alien Poet”) is asking budding poets from around Andover to take part.  “I would love to hear from people who want to get their poems broadcast.  

“Poets will be given the chance to submit poems for broadcast on Andover Radio.

“We will broadcast one poem every hour during National Poetry Day”.

Poems should ideally be 40 seconds long when reading out loud and they must have the theme of ‘Change’.  Poets are welcome to come to the Andover Radio studios on Andover High Street to record their works.

For further information or to submit a poem please send an email to

Author Dan Hooks
From Love Andover Radio

Winchester Poetry Prize announce the long list for the Winchester Poetry Prize

Winchester Poetry Prize 2018 celebrating the best in new writing

We are pleased to announce that the following poems have been selected by our judge Liz Berry as the longlist for the 2018 Winchester Poetry Prize.

Eric Berlin – Futility the Beautiful
Isabel Bermudez – Serenade
Alan Buckley – Clocks
Sue Chamberlain – Remember those lessons you made me go to
Rachel Curzon – Jardin Des Tuileries
Harriet David – Eelcakes
Hugh Dunkerley – Rite
Alan Dunnett – Witch
Inua Ellams – Plight / Fantasy
Inua Ellams – Solider / Ants
Richard Evans – Murmuration
Niall Firth – Faith
Clifford Forde – The Letter Writer
Michael Fraser – Mary Fields
Nicki Heinen – Three Short Poems for Music
Rosie Jackson – An Anchorite Laments the Destruction of her Cell in Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the  Monasteries, 1537
Stephen Keeler – Imbolc
Joanne Key – The Dream Life Of Mr Woodbine
Ruth McIlroy – A Meant Thing To Tell
Paul McMahon – The Night-Birds
Margot Myers – 29 Ratcliffe Highway
Laurence O’Dwyer – Garage League
James O’Hara-Knight  – Lessons With Lilith
Cheryl Pearson – Collecting The Eggs
Katrina Porteous – Cubby
Mara Adamitz Scrupe –  A Birder’s Cacophony
Ellora Sutton – Remains

The winners will be announced at a special prize-giving event at the Winchester Poetry Festival on Saturday 6 October 2018. Tickets for this event are free and can be booked via the Theatre Royal Winchester Box Office.

Winning and commended poems will also be published in a competition anthology to be launched on the day.

Thank you to everyone who entered their work, and for supporting the Winchester Poetry Prize 2018.

Find out more about The Winchester Poetry Festival here 

Poetika are calling for poetry submissions for 2 different poetry festivals.

Salisbury Fringe Festival and Salisbury Literary Festival are both calling for poetry submissions.

 Poetika at the Salisbury Fringe: Call for Dramatic Poetry (closing date 30/9/2017)

Salisbury Fringe – the established festival of cutting-edge drama by local writers performed in a variety of informal venues during the first weekend in October. Poetika’s mission at the Fringe is to bring poetry to the drama. Poetika are seeking works of ‘dramatic poetry’ for the event, where they will be performed by professional actors.

Submissions close on  Saturday 30th September. E to email your pieces (5 mins max) to .

To find out more about the Salisbury Fringe follow this link

City of Poems’ (Salisbury Literary Festival ): Call for Poems about Salisbury (closing date 30/9/2017)

New this year- The Salisbury Literary Festival is  taking place over the last weekend of October it will be a feast of readings, talks and workshops, celebrating the best in literature by writers with a local connection and some from further afield.

Poetika has an event – City of Poems – as part of the festival, where in addition to presenting some of the best known poems written about the city, Poetika will be reading a selection of works specially written for the Festival by local people. Send Poetika Salisbury poems (max 5 mins) to be read at the event. Poetika is also creating a pamphlet of chosen poetry which will be on sale at the event and at other venues in town (all sale proceeds going to Poetika’s adopted charity, Childrens Chance).

You have until midnight on Saturday 30th September to email your pieces (5 mins max) to

More about the Salisbury Literary Festival here:


Bobbie Coelho inspirational poet.

Bobbie Coelho winner of the Andover section

Bobbie Coelho winner of the Andover section

When Bobbie was 11, she wrote a poem about a cowboy. Her teacher said, “There’s real feeling here.” Bobbie comments “I got a good mark for it.”

As she enters her third age, Bobbie’s poetry is helping her educate people about another passion, Parkinson’s disease.  In her poem ‘Control Freak’ she says;

She comes and goes when she pleases
and never makes life easy
It’s usual for hijackers to be jailed
Mrs P not easy to curtail

Bobbie was working in Tidworth Library as a library assistant when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2002. Parkinson’s disease is progressive neurological condition.

People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died. The chemical dopamine is produced naturally in the body and functions as a neurotransmitter. It is part of the pleasure and reward pathway of the brain and is involved in memory and motor control. Symptoms of Parkinson’s include depression, shaking, moving slowly and stiffness.

Bobbies first reaction to her diagnosis was a private prayer of “God don’t make me bitter,” She decided to become a good finder. Bobbie is adamant poetry has helped her retain a sense of who she is and it has not let the Parkinson diagnosis eat her away.

At a difficult time where a lot of people would be afraid to go out in public Bobbie became a staunch crusader for people suffering from Parkinson’s. She has written two poetry books “Finding the light” and “Reflecting the light” to raise money to fight the disease.

Bobbie’s poetry crusade started in 2003, when an intuitive friend said ‘I’ve a vision of you as a poet.’ Bobbie went home, wrote a poem and just left it on the computer.  But after writing her second poem ‘Freak’ she realised life had changed.

“I’m quite proud of the book. The best part of putting the book together was choosing the cover. I write when I feel like it, so it’s not every day or every week. I tend to write about things that inspire me.”

Bobbie’s poetry is accessible, connecting with her audience at a visceral level.  She is very good at capturing emotionally charged moments in time. Her poetry is easy to understanding, using rhyming schemes that her fans enjoy. Bobbie’s audience can read her poems and immediately connect with the subject or character she is writing about.

“I started showing people my poetry and the more I showed, the more I wrote. Then I did some little booklets and handed them out. But I wanted to reach a wider audience.”

Bobbie has been through a major change and acknowledges she’s gained as well as had things taken away.

“It’s given me a deeper insight into human nature. I’d like to think I’m more compassionate. When you met someone all you see is their clock face, you don’t’ see the real person. People are very quick to judge but don’t know the whole story. I have seen people look at the blue disabled badge on my car, and they watch me step out in high heels. I can see them thinking ‘why does she get a badge if she’s got high heels?’ but they don’t see the days I’m crawling around the house because I can’t walk.”

Andover and Hampshire audiences enjoy her poetry. She is a regular speaker at WI groups. You can find her books in many varied places around Andover as diverse as Beaker Button wool shop in Weyhill Fair to the Vine Trust Christian bookshop in central Andover as well as Amazon.

“It’s important to promote the books but it’s a double edged sword. I’m raising money for Parkinson’s and spreading awareness. I hope I’m not too pushy but on the other hand it’s the most important thing in my life.”

Bobbie has been a consistent supporter of the Andover Poetry competitions when it ran from 2011 to 2014. In the first competition she placed second overall and in the last she was 1st in the Andover section. You can still buy her 2011 winning poem as a post card on the Travelling Bookstall.

Bobbie will be performing at Andover Poetry Cafe on February 14th at the Rendezvous Cafe, 8 Union St, Andover SP10 1PA. The cafe starts at 1.30pm. She will also be performing at Books and Words at The Lights Andover on February 14th between 12 and 12.30 pm.


Over All winner of the Andover Poetry competition Graeme Sandford


Graeme Sandford Over all winner of the competition

Graeme Sandford Over all winner of the competition

 A Recipe for Sautéed Shakespeare

Take one Puck and griddle the Earth, mid-simmer, for forty minutes, with acorns to taste.
Add a pound of flesh, take arms, end them, use every man after his dessert, without waste
Insert your Guildenstern and your Rosencrantz heads first, as you must;

Ingrate a little Lear of Corn., preferably wind-blown from the heath, for the crust;

Sieve a freshly blooded Montague and a young Capulet into the mix, checking expiry dates.

Blend in, if you can, one ripe Caliban with water and berries, or if unavailable a Trinculo or Stephano (Caliban’s ‘mates’)

If the flavour seems somewhat sweet to you, a pinch moor of Othello’s handkerchief can be folded in

Dust nightly with a spot of Lady M. to garnish, or cheat by using leaves from Dunsinane.

Serve i’ the heat, accompanied with Caesar salad, Dogberry sauce and I pray you watch

How a rich and full-bodied Malmsey will accompany this nicely – but don’t serve with Scotch!

A few words about Graeme Sandford, by Graeme Sandforld

I ‘love’ words! I get great satisfaction from arranging and rearranging them to form exquisite poetry (in my opinion) and the performance of many of these poems has brought me (and others?) a great deal of pleasure.

I also ‘love’ Shakespeare – and any chance I get I purloin a phrase from the Bard to improve my works tremendously – He has said nothing on this – therefore I assume he approves.

 my words (or at least some of them) are available to taste on

Second place in the Andover section: Sharon Vennall

Second place in the Andover section: Sharon Vennall

Sharon Vennall 2nd Andover  prize winner BUW poetry 2014 The Table

Food at the table
Not enough to share
United together

I have been writing poetry since I was about 20, alongside songwriting. I work at The Lights theatre and also perform as the lead vocalist of a Jazz group called JazzInc

I studied music and composition before I came to work at The Lights.

Winner of the Andover Section of Andovers Poetry competition 2014

Winner of the Andover Section Bobbie Coelho


The tongue that speaks a thousand words
Also tastes as many dishes
But the latter needs no words
Just the look says it’s delicious
So many happy faces
And ingredients from many places That’s why I love baking
Not just any undertaking
But many other lessons
If you wish to take them
Tomatoes and oranges warmed by Mediterranean sun
With herbs that tingle the senses of everyone
Hot spices for every occasion
Together with the story
Of their journey to our nation
It is also a culture lesson
For you only have to think of a dish
And the country pops before you
Most of all, baking is a loving thing
Which gives pleasure to a loved one
Where the journey begins

Bobbie Coelho was born in Norwich and has been writing poetry for many years.  She has produced 2 anthologies of poetry. Finding the Light in 2010 and more recently Reflecting the Light. She is married to Steve and has two stepson’s and 3 grandchildren.

Reflecting the Light is available on the Travelling Bookstall.