Spring/Summer 2022 Programme

Saturday 7 May 2022 – 2pm at Crowndale Centre (see the About Us page)

Kevin McCarron (formerly Reader in American Literature, Digby Stuart College) spoke on Modernism: “these fragments we have shored…” in recognition that this is the centenary of the year 1922 when UlyssesThe Waste Land and Jacob’s Room were all published.

Kevin discussed the roots of modernism, among them a wish to move away from the concentration on form shown by the neo-Augustan poets of the previous generation, and to represent a wider range of voices and experiences in a fresh way. We wondered together why so many of us still find “Ulysses” and “The Waste Land” so difficult and unapproachable nonetheless, and how to overcome this. We also considered Virginia Woolf’s new approach in novels compared with the 19th-century realists such as George Eliot and others.

Saturday 18 June 2022 – 2pm at Crowndale Centre

Mike Irwin, Professor Emeritus, University of Kent gave us a close reading of some groups of poems linked by subject or theme, calling his talk “… And a Half-Dozen of Another” and these are the poems which were discussed:

Five poets look at birds, both in their reality and as creative or poetic inspiration: Shelley To a Skylark, John Clare The Lark’s Nest, Wordsworth To the Cuckoo, Norman McCaig Sparrow, Hardy Proud Songsters, McCaig describing the blackbird’s beautiful song as “writing pretty scrolls on the air with the gold nib of his beak”.

Two poets look at their aging faces and contrast them with their still lively emotions: Thomas Hardy I Look into my Glass and Robert Graves The Face in the Mirror

Two poets consider the passing of centuries and man’s vain hopes to overcome it: Shelley Ozymandias and Byron “What are the hopes of man” (from Don Juan), the first solemn and awestruck, the latter definitely frivolous in tone though serious in theme – “rummaging” and “burglariously” making us all smile

Two poets even challenge death and consider God’s love for us: Herbert Love Bade me Welcome and Donne Death be not Proud and Batter my Heart, three person’d God


Saturday 16 July 2022 – 2pm at Crowndale Centre

Lindsay Martin (our Chair) will be giving the July talk called “Two Creative Circles: Ravilious & friends and Bloomsbury”, followed by the AGM. Members will know that our AGM is the speediest and most efficient AGM you have ever attended and papers to be discussed will be circulated in advance.

If you would like to know more about Ravilious, a documentary film called “Drawn to War” has just been released by Dartmouth Films and it can be seen at many independent cinemas round the country this summer.