A successful move from physical to virtual appreciation.

The Thomas Hardy Poetry Group Goes Online

A successful move from physical to virtual appreciation.

By Dr Faysal Mikdadi

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The Thomas Hardy Poetry Group has been meeting every second Wednesday of the month at either Max Gate or The Old Tea House in High West Street. The group has always had up to about twenty participants; well kept in good order and all behaving in an exemplary fashion under the leadership of Helen Gibson. Those present shared poems by Thomas Hardy and other poets on the month’s theme. Themes have been agreed for the next three months to allow those interested to do the necessary research. The themes for the last three months have been ‘New Beginnings’, ‘Old Age’ and ‘Letters’. Over the years, we have become very familiar with Hardy’s much loved poems.

On the day that Prime Minister Johnson announced the beginning of the Lockdown, Jasmine and Peter Metcalfe and Mel Lane suggested that we should temporarily migrate our group into the virtual world of the Internet. Those wishing to do so would simply circulate a chosen poem occasionally adding comments. Many would respond to poems posted giving a context to the work or commenting on whatever they deem worthy of commentary.

The highest number of poems shared have been by Thomas Hardy who tops the bill so far. Further poems by a total of some forty six poets have also been shared. These included Maya Angelou, W H Auden, William Blake, Mahmoud Darwish, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, T S Eliot, Khalil Gibran, John Keats, Siegfried Sassoon, Sir Walter Scott, William Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, W B Yeats and many others. Many participants have been introduced to previously unknown poets such as Martin Bell, Kathleen O’Meara, Olivia Moune, Kit Wright and others.

Participants also sent in their own poems. These included works by Dorchester based poets Susan Walpole, Julian Nangle and Faysal Mikdadi.

The Group has shared a total of 79 poems by Sunday 7 June 2020. This gives an average of one poem a day since the beginning of the Lockdown.

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12 June 2020


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