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Last Night – A Seasonal Slice of Poetry & Storytelling at the King Edward Street Chapel

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It was another great night at the King Edward Street Chapel, really well attended. Also, even more of the Maccwriters were on the floor this year, with an eclectic mix of poems, stories, light and dark.

We started off with compère Sandy, newly back from adventures in Oz, who gave us a story with a dog’s eye view and a poem about a butterfly in winter. Margaret, who always does us proud organising these events and sorting out the finances, had a mix of poems, including every mother’s view of the dreaded school Nativity play. Joy Winkler’s poems about childhood are always acutely and poignantly observed, and touch on memories within us all.

It was, as expected, a wintery mix of subjects – sheep lost in snow drifts (Jean), a lovely piece of prose from Abby about a child born in Winter, Mike’s cautionary parrot tale, Patrick regaled us with a humorous Santa Claus story that managed to explain how he really gets around the world (though is not possibly the cheery soul the Coca Cola adverts would have us believe).  Simon’s sensuous exploration of cake (you had to be there) contrasted nicely with Ernest’s cosmic Christmas piece.

Jackie looked at winter from a different angle and gave us an historical viewpoint from J S Bach.  Howard reminded us about the difficulties of being homeless with some true observations, whilst Rob explored the macabre theory of ‘the weight of the human soul’, and just how curiosity and experimentation can backfire, a subject reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe (I do like a bit of darkness at Christmas!)

There were many other great pieces, which will quite possibly feature in the next Maccwriters’ compilation.

Many thanks to the staff of the chapel for allowing the occasional irreverence and the creative chaos that usually accompanies these events, hopefully someone remembered to do the washing-up!

Till the next time, enjoy another poem below from our own Speakeasy regular Phil Poyser…

Barnacle Geese, a Wing and a Prayer

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The voice is unmistakeable:
warm; caring; thoughtful; knowledgeable.
The voiceover caresses the telespectator,
pied-pipers us into the real world of Life or Death:

That tilt of the head, the eyes, that tuft of rebellious hair,
immediately identifiable, indefatigable,
eternal as the earth around us,
committed, yet non judgemental. Indestructible.
And Life is harsh, yet resilient.

Unlike the little fluff bundles.
We see them hatch in their “eery”,
atop a sky high rock stump,
teetering above the scree, and
2 days later, watch them leap into the void
or slide rather, slip, tumble, stumble,
trip, fall and, yes leap,

and then it’s a gravitational lottery,
an air resistance, terminal velocity,
a ping pong, pin ball, bagatelle.
We can almost hear the scores ratcheting up:
1000, 2000, 2500, 4000 ……..
At last, the scree slope. Then all is still.
Game over.

Mum and Dad Barnacle Geese honk their approval,
and, miraculously, of the five goslings,
first one, then two and finally three,
somehow shake the scree dust from their proto-feathers
to waddle dazedly towards the sea
where they slip into that soothing parental wake,
ready for the next step, the next great leap forward,
the next leap into the unknown.

© Phil Poyser, 9th. November, 2014

It’s That Time Again…

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MaccWriters @ Christmas

The Macclesfield Creative Writing Group presents a festive evening

of stories, poems and music

Friday 12th December,

7.30pm onwards

Venue: King Edward Street Chapel, Macclesfield

Tickets £4 including refreshments

01625 871426 or pay on door

Yes, it’s true, the year is speeding faster than Jeremy Clarkson in a Lamborghini towards Christmas, and again, the Maccwriters will be hosting an evening of festive cheer at the lovely King Edward Street Chapel on Friday 12th December, doors open at 7.30pm. This will be an opportunity to hear original works specially written for the occasion to get you in the mood for that time of good cheer and reflection. We look forward to meeting new faces, munching mince pies to music and downing copious amounts of Sandy’s wonderful tea.

Work from Maccwriters

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This term has featured some great sessions at the Library, the Maccwriters have been busy and creative, despite being exiled to the IT suite last week instead of our usual room, thanks to those pesky Arts people! In true wartime spirit we rallied well, despite the rude interruptions from the constantly boiling tea urn (I might have had something to do with that – me and technology, you know)
This week Patrick has sent in a dark piece for the Showcase, please read and enjoy.

…and what’s more

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Hello again

I received an email from a group member today about smartphones. Let’s just say, it involved people using their thumbs on their beloved communication devices (as they do) and a current urban myth involving this and theft. I will remain cryptic in the interests of good taste!

However, in an effort to be politically correct, I thought I’d better research it and did find this article in the Telegraph online-

Please play the 4G video halfway down, hopefully you will find it as amusing as I did.

This got me thinking about our obsession with technology. I have recently finished another Phil Rickman book ‘The Magus of Hay’ which touches on the subject of books versus technology, because, as we know, Hay on Wye is famous for its second-hand and specialist booksellers and its literary festival.

Of course, many booksellers must hate the emergence of those pesky Kindles and the like, and we have probably all noticed the demise of the small high street independent bookshop, though this is probably also to do with the giant chains and online selling. Ah, the world is changing, for better or worse.

Personally I’ve never bought a Kindle, if only because I know as soon as you buy technology it’s obsolete, and I can see the treadmill of sales pressure it involves, or am I just a meanie? (could be)

Who says you can’t learn from fiction – I had never heard of the King of Hay (Richard Booth) previously, what a wonderfully eccentric place Hay must be, I am now thinking I really must visit it one day.

Rickman’s books are a great mix of unusual characters, spookiness, who-dunnit and that essential element of the British countryside, in Rickman’s case the Welsh borders where he lives, that is the ideal reading material for log fires and big comfy chairs – what’s not to love?

This Week

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Hi Everyone

Sorry I’ve been out of it recently, been a bit poorly and am currently grounded, stuck using crutches, so working up arm muscles like David Weir, and unable to drive around, which is not ideal. Not sure if I will make the group again this week, but Abercrombie’s workshop sounds brilliant.

To explain to any newbies out there who are thinking of coming – members can volunteer to take sessions using a literary/poetic theme.

I received an email from globetrotting group member Phil Poyser this week, now in Australia, thankfully he hasn’t cycled there this time, but knowing Phil, I’m sure it’s not the distance that would put him off.

“Hi Jan,
We’re in Perth, Australia, at the moment after an epic 4100 km journey from Broome in a camper van the size of a tea caddy. Apart from a momentary attack of incompetence on my part, resulting in a gentle van/brick wall contretemps, we handed the van back pretty much in one piece.
I’ve just read Charlie’s e-mails (for last week?) and am sending you some odd odes inspired by the Australian wildlife we’ve seen since we got here (other than in the pubs). Please add them to the blog if you think they’re suitable.
Hope Joy’s book launch goes well. I’ll have to arrange something like that for “Eric Bloodaxe? And Other Verse” which is now published on Createspace thanks to Charlie’s efforts.
We take the train tomorrow for Adelaide.”

Hopefully we’ll see Phil some time in the future, once his wanderlust is satisfied no doubt. Please check out his new verses in the 2014 Showcase. I’ll get the details of Phil’s new book when provided and add that to ‘Members’ Publications’.

Joy’s launch event for Stolen Rowan Berries takes place on Thursday 2nd October at Macclesfield Library from 7pm for the cost of £2.00. This includes refreshments. Please see our ‘Events’ section for more details.

An Evening with Maccwriters

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Excellent evening at the King Edward Street Chapel, and also many thanks to the Alto Sax Quartet who were in fine fettle. What a great place the Chapel is, full of history and atmosphere, and a fitting venue for the trading of tales and poems. We learnt that Simon has an interesting relationship with his car, and that Jean is in possession of a rather unique mirror, plus many, many other insights about group members, but that’s the thing about writing, it’s like opening a box of curiosities – we never know what we’ll find.

Whilst the readings unfolded, I found myself looking around and came up with the concept of the poem, ‘A Life in Shadow’, so I’ve put that in the Showcase. I was busy with work and competitions at the time ‘Cloudbursts’ was being compiled, so this is kind of a postscripted contribution. If the evening inspired anyone else, send it along to me for the Member’s Showcase (click on the tab above).

Very impressed with ‘Cloudbursts’, which is available on Amazon, full of mood pieces, humour, nostalgia and some wonderfully eerie stuff, check it out –

Charlie kindly reminded us as we left – Christmas, and the next bash, is on the way.


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