Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

Westhoughton Poetry Group

About Us

The group was set up by retired police officer, John Crook. John was suffering from Tinnitus and was struggling with a way to cope with it; creativity, and in John's case, writing and poetry was one way of dealing with it. John's first poem 'Tinnitus' (below).

A few years ago, John went looking for a local poetry group at Westhoughton Library, to be told there wasn't one! Inspiring him to set one up himself. The library staff have been very helpful, making available space on the upper floor, and having given the fledgeling group a regular slot of 2pm on the last Thursday of the month; posters were put up to try to attract some like-minded people, who had a love of poetry and some free time…

At the moment the group is relatively small with a core few who attend each meeting. People come to read or hear existing poetry (Wordworth, Auden, Yates, Frost…); some of the group are published poets in their own right and will attend and read out their latest compositions.

During the 1½ hour session, there is discussion of favourite poets and poems, and any outings and cultural experiences in between the meetings. No pretensions, just the joy of the written word - the use of language, the rhythm, the imagery, the prose…

Some members have never written any poetry and just want to hear some poetry read out loud. Like music, a poem can be performed and can produce an emotional reaction. Some meetings are themed, and the group can choose - sometimes these themes will set in motion the creative process and new works will be the result.

After a brief hiatus in 2016, with an alternative group being set up and meeting at Bolton Central Library (Le Mans Crescent) the first Monday in the month (from 2pm) in the main central area, Westhoughton Poetry Group returned to Westhoughton Library early in 2017, meeting afternoons on the last Thursday of the month.

Next meet-up - Thursday, 31st January - 2:00pm to 3:30pm.

Community

As the group develops and word spreads, opportunities arise for involvement in community activities. In 2015, as part of National Poetry Day, five local schools had presentations, after which, pupils were given an opportunity to write a poem about the day. A great success - some 300 poems were submitted to Westhoughton Poetry Group for judging. A further event, organised by the Schools' Liaison Officer, was put on with entertainment and the presentation of certificates to the competition winners. Great to see creativity encouraged! Johnny is a regular guest reciting his verse at Senior Solutions social events and OAP Residents' Homes.

With a first book of published poetry in the offing, you can now listen to Johnny online as he hosts 'Johnny C's Poetry Corner' on Howfen Radio Wednesdays 2-3pm.

Poem of the Month

NATIVITY

Parents they all gathered to see the nativity play,
The school had worked so hard to make sure 'twas right today,
But the little junior players, were not sure of all their lines,
And Mary had the hiccups, and Joseph's laughter was unkind,
The angels they danced on stage, but then disaster struck,
The fluffy wings upon their backs, fell off, as glue became unstuck,
Poor little angel Gabriel, began to howl and weep,
Which startled all the little tots, who were all dressed up as sheep
The inn-keeper he took charge and yelled "you two had better scarper,
My rooms are all full you see, your room booking should be sharper,"
Joseph then got shirty "Mi donkey he is knackered, and Mary’s not much better,
We’ll sleep in yonder stable, though the straw will mess her sweater,"
Now William was the Bethlehem star, and held his stick up high,
But the heat on stage and all the din, made him start to cry,
The teacher rushed to comfort him, but tripped upon the stage,
And ended up upon the crib, where baby Jesus laid,
The three wise men viewed the scene and thought what should they do?
But then one said to Joseph "I’ve some Frankenstein for you"
The parents started laughing, the best line in the show,
But the crying chaos on the stage, dealt it a fatal blow,
WE all look forward to next year, for none of us can tell,
What mishap will befall the, Nativity Clientèle?

by Ted Morgan (2018)

Download

Previous 'Poems of the Month'

Autumn (2015) | You May Like To (2018) | The Fire On Winter Hill (Part 2) | Is There A Place (2018) | 70 Years N.H.S. (2018) | A Patient Reader (2018) | Can We 2015) | Why Am I Here by Ann Robinson (2015) | Autumn (2015) | Halloween (2015) | My Only Wish (2016) | My Time As A Town Crier (2016) | A Book Of War Poems (2017) | If Poetry Be The Food of Love (2017) | The Starling (2015) | Happy New Year (2016) | Christmas Day (2015) | And As The Poet (2016) | Robin (2015) | Tinnitus (2008)

Poems written by Johnny Crook (The Howfen Bard) unless stated.


Town Crier

Westhoughton Town Crier, Johnny Crook Westhoughton Poetry Group leader, Johnny Crook, took on duties of Town Crier during the summer of 2016, and now adds a touch of colour, tradition, and street poetry and verse to local events including Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festivals, School Fayres, community group special events and AGMS. In full regalia with his trusty scroll for his verse, the Town Crier has become a popular addition to the Westhoughton scene. He has even been asked to attend and open other events, such as at the East Lancashire Railway.

For information about the services of the Town Crier for community events get in touch, he is only too happy to help out, and can if required come up with a special poem for any occasion.

Getting in Touch

All are welcome to join the group - whether a poet or someone who just enjoys hearing poetry. We are a friendly group; it is always nice to see new faces.

The main contact is Johnny Crook - email | phone - 07867 747765.

Facebook: Westhoughton Poetry Group on Facebook Westhoughton Poetry Group | Twitter: John Crook - Westhoughton Poetry Group on Twitter @john4ann

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Useful Links

Community Events

  • Rotary Christmas Float
    Rotary Club of Westhoughton are out and about very grateful for public support and donations in the run up to Christmas. Last year £12,000 was raised for local charities.
  • Churches Over Christmas
    Information about Services 16th to 31st Dec at all our local Churches celebrating Christmas. All are welcome. Carols Services: 16th, 23rd, 24th Dec.
  • Pretoria Disaster Remembrance
    Fri 21 Dec (7:40am & 10am)
    Ditchfield Gdns / St. Bartholomew's Church
    Civic event to mark 108th year since coal mining disaster (344 lives lost). 7:40am, Act of Remembrance at Miner's Statue; 10am, Remembrance Service at St. Bart's f/b procession and laying of wreaths.
  • History Group Exhibition
    Now open! (Runs until year end)
    Westhoughton Library
    Coinciding with Armistice, new, fascinating and immersive exhibition: 'Westhoughton in the Wake of World War One' profiles post-war years - those lost, those returning, rebuilding after war years. .
  • Community Police
    Informal, confidential drop-ins held by Pcsos, chance to discuss local issues, seek advice on security & crime prevention.
    WH Market: Thurs 27 Dec (12-1pm)
    John Holt: Tues 15 Jan (9:30-11:00am)
    The HUB: Mon 7 Dec (7-8pm)
    Information about
  • Friends of Westhoughton Station
    Meeting Sundays from 10am, volunteer group undertake clean-up and ambient improvement work at Westhoughton Station benefiting local commuters. Excellent progress. Donation boxes at local shops.
    More...
    . Finalists 'Community Rail Awards' 2015. Town Council 'Certificate of Achievement'. Recent clean-up
  • Hope Community Centre
    Central Drive
    Programme. Group activities and events; available for hire for community groups - also parties. 'Grub tub' available for Foodbank donations - 9:30am to 3pm on Mondays.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:30pm
    Hope Centre (Central Drive) BL5 3DS
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. Updated programme.
    More...
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