'Goldfields' won the 2015 Hamish Canham Prize for the best Poetry Society Members' poem to be published in Poetry News.


by Tess Jolly

for Wol

When our children ask how we met, I’ll tell them
about the fork in the river, where a carpenter called James
found flakes of gold. I’ll tell them this all happened
long ago, before Great-grandmother was even born,
and how the story passed from mouth to mouth
to bind a seam around the earth. I’ll bring them
the shopkeeper striding through Californian streets,
holding a bottle of gilded dust before astonished eyes.
I’ll compare that bottle to a spinning wheel, an egg, a harp,
the way a child might open the door to a room
she didn’t know was there, reach beyond a wardrobe’s fur
and feel frost lapping her fingers. I’ll tell them
men travelled for months inspired by what they’d heard,
that there was violence, sickness, death – but hope
kept them moving. I’ll show them the valley where some
found what they were looking for gleaming on grassy outcrops,
others waded knee-deep sifting muddied water,
and many found nothing at all. I’ll explain what words
like prospect mean, and fever. I’ll say that in the end
it wasn’t skill or hard work or guessing the right name,
but luck that shone in those men’s grateful palms, as they stood
amidst the rocks and gravel, the glistening streams.

BBC Proms teamed up with The Poetry Society to programme Proms Extra Lates, a series of exciting late-night performances in the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall. The relaxed cabaret-format events showcase young talents from the worlds of poetry and music. This year’s featured poets are Sarah Howe, Jon Stone, Megan Beech, William Letford, Inua Ellams, Liz Berry, Jack Underwood and Holly Hopkins. Presenter Georgia Mann comperes. All events are recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Inua Ellams and Liz Berry
Inua Ellams and Liz Berry – both performing at the Proms Extra Lates soon.

Proms Extra Lates at the Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room are free events, but tickets must be booked in advance unless you have attended that evening’s Prom (visit royalalberthall.co.uk or call 0845 401 5040).

  • Thursday 23 July
    Sarah Howe performs poems alongside Modal Point
  • Thursday 30 July
    Jon Stone performs poems alongside The John Garner Quartet
  • Thursday 6 August
    Megan Beech performs poems alongside Vula Viel
  • Thursday 13 August
    William Letford performs poems alongside Bahla
  • Thursday 20 August, 10.45-11.45pm
    Inua Ellams performs poems alongside the Mark Pringle Trio
  • Thursday 27 August, 9.45-10.45pm
    Liz Berry performs poems alongside Project Jam Sandwich
  • Friday 4 September, 10-11pm
    Jack Underwood performs poems alongside Follow the Rats
  • Wednesday 9 September, 10.15-11.15pm
    Holly Hopkins  performs poems alongside Flea Circus
19 August 2015

Tweets @PoetrySociety

@PoetinthecityUK bringing poems to life with live illustration. Feat Declan Ryan & Kayo Chingonyi 12 Sept @KingsPlace bit.ly/1JuIlEX Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Teach This Poem seeks to make poetry accessible to schoolchildren lat.ms/1hRSWD9 Retweeted by The Poetry Society

“It's important to try to write when you are in the wrong mood or when the weather is wrong.” —John Ashbery bit.ly/1zg3fWI Retweeted by The Poetry Society

The Poetry Society Stanza comp closes 14 Sep. Poetry Society Member? Check; Stanza Member too? Check. Enter! fb.me/7ohQPDpMs

Scott Tyrrell took the crown at the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam Grand Final at the weekend fb.me/4O7btLXVy

Poetry@3 tomorrow, Thur 3 Sep - bring poems, sign up 2.30-3, read poems. Poetry Cafe. Free. fb.me/7sZve4Nwu

ONE session left with Colette Bryce, 19 SEP, Newcastle 10am - booking now fb.me/4ZLiNOMty

Help raise money for Blakes Cottage at an event with Deborah Levy, George Szirtes, Daljit Nagra, Richard Skinner,... fb.me/5jctKkDnQ

Writers! The @RSLiterature Brookleaze Grants are open for autumn applications! D/L Monday 2 November 2015 bit.ly/RSL_BG