Poetry and Spoken Word Open-Mic Night at Trowbridge Town Hall – December 12

Bring a poem (or two) or a spoken word piece to read at the Open-Mic at Trowbridge Town Hall on Monday, 12th December, 7pm – 9.30pm.  More details at the Trowbridge Arts website

Trowbridge Town Hall
Market Street
BA14 8EQ

Box Office/Enquiries – 01225 774306

Email – trowarts@gmail.com

Tickets cost £3. Pay in advance at the Town Hall or on the door.

Come along to read a poem or relax and enjoy the evening. There will be a licensed bar and mince pies.

I hope to see you there!

Trowbridge Chapter: Candlestick Press

Poets enlisted for classes at Trowbridge Town Hall and members of the Poetry Society Stanza Group who meet there once a month have been selected to form the ‘Trowbridge Chapter’ of the Candlestick Press Collective.  This means that Candlestick Press sends us some of their pamphlets and in return we send them feedback.  I think that we have the best side of this bargain!

Ginny Saunders, who comes to poetry classes at the Town Hall, has posted her review at her blog and you can read what I have to say over at my blog.

More reviews coming soon, so please stay tuned!


latest titles from Candlestick Press



National Poetry Day & other news

National Poetry Day at Trowbridge Town Hall was a lively and enjoyable day and I’ve written about it here. I’m delighted to say that the Trowbridge Town Hall Poets Poetry Society Stanza group met again on October 10th. We looked at and discussed Simon Armitage’s tips for editing poems before reading and commenting on some of our own work in progress. This was the first time the group had done this so it was as much an exercise in trying to get the formula right, as anything else. I think that, next time, we should allow at least ten minutes per poem, even if that means that fewer people receive comments. There were some valuable comments from members and this was the first opportunity the group had had to discover each other’s work. Our next meeting will be on Monday, 14th November 6 – 8pm at the Town Hall.

My first set of weekly poetry classes are coming to a close. I’ve really enjoyed teaching them. Bookings are now open for the next set which start on Tuesday, 8th November. Details at Trowbridge Arts.

Poems by post and by email

In time for National Poetry Day which is on Thursday October 6,  Trowbridge Town Hall was delighted to receive in the post, a hand-written poem by Trowbridge resident Cyril, and a poem sent in by email from Joan.


It’s not every day the Town Hall receives a poem in the post!


Both poems will be on display in the Town Hall foyer on National Poetry Day, Thursday, 6th October.


Cyril’s handwritten poem – come to see it on display in Trowbridge Town Hall

In addition, children from eleven local schools will be working with poet Josephine Corcoran and artist Ben Midgley to write and illustrate their message-themed poems. Also, a team of friendly poets and artists will gather at the Town Hall to work on their own poems and encourage any visitors to do the same. The Town Hall will be open from 11am – 4pm. More details at Trowbridge Arts.

Thank you so much, Cyril!

Thank you, Cyril and Joan for your poems!


by Joan Hawkes

Supposing I wanted to contact you, I wonder what way would be best?
My carrier pigeon is ancient and is always demanding a rest.
Would smoke signals be visible from afar, or do you remember your morse?
A heliograph is a splendid device, but only in sunshine of course.
Your stickers are useful to give your address but a mobile text number is missing.
Could you manage transmission by thought, or should
I just imagine us kissing? (chastely, of course!).


A poem for National Poetry Day 2016

This post was originally published here.

The theme for this year’s National Poetry Day in the UK is ‘messages’.  As Poet in Residence at Trowbridge Town Hall, I’ve been working with artist Ben Midgley on a new poem which we will share with school students and other visitors to the Town Hall on National Poetry Day, October 6.

Local school students from primary and secondary schools have been invited to work  with Ben and me to write and illustrate their own message-themed poem.  Poets, artists and members of the public are also invited to take part in the day – more details here – and everyone’s work will be displayed in the Town Hall foyer.

Ben Midgley has recently collaborated with artist Isaac Okin on When I Close my Eyes, an innovative and thought-provoking art installation in the main exhibition space at Trowbridge Town Hall.  I’m fast becoming a huge fan of Ben’s work and feel privileged to be working with him.

My poem is site-specific so here are a few facts about Trowbridge Town Hall, some of which I’ve weaved into the body of the text:


Portrait of Sir Roger Brown at Trowbridge Town Hall

  • The Town Hall was commissioned by a local mill owner, Sir Roger Brown, and opened in 1889 by the Duchess of Albany, a daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria.
  • The building was used as a magistrate’s court and contains prison cells in the basement.
  • Suffragettes once smuggled themselves inside the Town Hall, dressed as local market women, to heckle an offical meeting.
  • The building was a place where people cast their votes in elections and a place where people enlisted for WWI and WW2.
  • There is a beautiful stained glass window at the top of the lavish staircase, and,  near to it, a portrait of Sir Roger Brown
  • There were many dances, concerts, balls and theatre productions at the Town Hall over the years.  Who knows how many couples found each other at a dance?
  • People gathered outside the doors of the Town Hall to hear important news.
  • The Town Hall was no longer in use in any civic capacity after 2012.  Its future was uncertain but since then has been developing into an arts centre with live theatre, music, dance, poetry, literature and other leisure events.  More details at Town Hall Arts.

Window at the top of the stairs in Trowbridge Town Hall

Here is the poem and a few of Ben’s wonderful illustrations.

Dear Trowbridge Town Hall
            A poem for National Poetry Day 2016

Dear Trowbridge Town Hall, is your roof leaking?
Or is it the tears of prisoners locked in your cells?
Dear Trowbridge Town Hall, are your floors creaking
or was that a suffragette, sneaking past to cast her vote?

Will you tell me the stories
you keep in your walls?
You’ve seen it all:
The jewels of the Duchess of Albany in 1889.

The shining eyes of boys and men who lined up here
to sign their lives away.   When they died in wars
were the skies on fire: blue, green and yellow
like your stained glass window?

Dear Trowbridge Town Hall, is your piano playing?
Are there dancers swaying across your polished floors?
Has a crowd gathered outside your doors
to hear important news?

What kinds of shoes have stepped this way?
Mill workers’ boots, dancing slippers,
winklepickers, stiletto heels –
how did it feel to learn a million dances?

And what about love? Do you know all the secrets
about who kissed who and who was let down –
what would Roger Brown make of you now?
                                                            And what about me?

Have you taken my fingerprints to add to the rest?
Are your best days over or about to begin?
Please reply. Love from
a visitor.




Town Hall Poetry Update

I thought I’d write a quick update about poetry at Trowbridge Town Hall.  So far, the new Poetry Society Stanza Group has met once and we’re meeting again on Monday, 10th October, 6pm – 8pm, and then on the second Monday of every month, same time, same place.  A suggested donation of £3 per person will be charged, which will include a drink.  Ideas for making use of any accumulated funds include paying for a guest reader, organising an open-mic event, and buying books and magazines for the group.

Town Hall Poets!

Town Hall Poets!

My workshops have started and it’s fantastic to be with two small groups of interesting, intelligent and open-minded people.  I’d forgotten how pleasurable and satisfying reading for and planning workshops is!  Details of times and dates of all my workshops are in the Town Hall Arts brochure and online at Trowbridge Arts – click on ‘Take Part’.

There is an opportunity for poets and artists to collaborate on National Poetry Day, October 6th.  I will be working with artist Ben Midgeley on two workshops for schools and the Town Hall will be open for poets and artists to work together to create and display poems with the theme of ‘messages’ (NPD’s theme this year).  I’m thrilled that several poets and artists have said they’ll be coming to the Town Hall to take part in this event, including short story writer, flash fictioneer and poet Tania Hershman, and recent Bath Spa graduate and current MA Poetry student Hattie Parker.  The event will be tweeted and shared on social media so do, please, come to join in and celebrate National Poetry Day! Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available and the doors will be open from 11am – 4pm.

Do leave a message in the comments section with questions or comments about any of the above events.

National Poetry Day at Trowbridge Town Hall

On National Poetry Day, Thursday 6th October 2016, 11am – 4pm, poets and artists will be “saying it with a poem” at Trowbridge Town Hall. The theme for NPD this year is ‘messages’ and poet and artist Sophie Herxheimer has designed the brilliant artwork which you might have already seen promoting the day.

Say it with a poem boy poster
Inspired by Sophie, poets, including Josephine Corcoran and members of a new Poetry Society Stanza which meets at the Town Hall, and artists are going to work together to make message poems and images to go on display. Poets and artists of all ages and abilities are invited to join in. Read on to find out how to be involved.

What ideas spring to mind when you think of ‘messages’? a message in a bottle? a letter? a postcard? a post-it note stuck to the fridge? a message to the milkman to leave an extra pint? a text message? a phone message left on an answering machine? a snapchat? a direct message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? a coded message? a secret message? a signal? a mixed message? a silent message? a wrong message? Bring all your ideas to Trowbridge Town Hall on National Poetry Day, 11am – 4pm

You can choose to write your poem in advance and bring it in on the day. Your poem will be displayed and you’ll be able to read everyone else’s. Or you might like to write and illustrate your own poem/s on the day. Or you could choose to collaborate with a poet or artist to make a poem image message. Whether you’re an artist, a poet, or both; whether you’d like to bring in a favourite poem which contains a message; whether you’d like to read everyone else’s poems; whether you’d like to pop in for a poetic lunchbreak (tea and coffee available); whether you’d like to meet and chat to other poets and artists; whether you’d like to help other people write a poem or illustrate a poem – you’ll be very welcome.

Say it with a poem cat poster
Poets and artists who would like their ‘messages’-themed work to stand alone (without an image or poem) are very welcome. It could be that poems and images created individually will complement each other. It will be interesting to see the different interpretations of ‘messages’ and we hope that poets and artists will inspire each other.


  • leave a message in the comment section of this post to let me know you’ll be there
  • email me josephinemcorcoran@yahoo.co.uk
  • tweet me @And_OtherPoems or @TrowbridgeArts
  • message me via my Facebook Page
  • contact me via Trowbridge Town Hall, Market Street, Trowbridge, BA14 8EQ. Tel 01225 774306. Email trowarts@gmail.com
  • come along on the day, National Poetry Day, 6th October 2016, 11am – 4pm.

Say it with a poem girl poster

Hope to see you there!

Trowbridge Heritage Open Days 2016

Trowbridge places to visit for Heritage Open Days, Thursday 8th – Sunday 11th September 2016

Katy Makes, 14 Court Street, Trowbridge – Saturday and Sunday 11.00 – 15.00
Exhibition of Quilts. Demonstration and exhibition of work by workshop tutors and students. Also a display on the history and weaving heyday of Brick Mill.

Trowbridge Museum, The Shires, Court Street, Trowbridge BA14 8AT: Reimagined – Exhibition of new paintings by Patrick Hallissey, based on photographs of Edwardian cycling from the Museum’s collections – Thursday – Saturday: 10.00 – 16.00 (16.30 Sat.)

The Impact of Cycling on Edwardian Fashion – Talk by Hanne Dahl – Saturday 14.00 – 15.00. Pre-book at hannah.lyddy@trowbridge.gov.uk or call 01225 751339.

The Blind House, Wicker Hill – Saturday 10.00 – 16.00.

Holy Trinity Church
, (church on the roundabout), Stallard Street – Saturday 10.00 – 16.00.

St James’s Church, Church Walk – Saturday 10.00 – 16.00 Bell tower tours 14.00 – 16.00.

St Thomas’s Church, St Thomas Road – Saturday 10.00 – 16.00.

Masonic Hall, Yerbury Street – Saturday 10.00 – 16.00.

Zion Baptist Chapel, Union Street – Saturday 11.00 – 15.30
Displays about 200 years anniversary of Chapel opening – refreshments, children’s quiz and Baptist history books for sale. Tours of chapel and grounds at 11.30, 12.30 and 14.30.

Trowbridge Town Hall, Market Street, Trowbridge BA14 8EQ, Tel 01225 774306. Frequent tours including the newly restored Boer War memorial – Sunday 13.00 – 16.00.
Take up the challenge and explore the treasures on your doorstep with Heritage Open Days this year. Take a snap and post it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @heritageopenday #TreasureYourTreasures #visittrowbridge

I don’t know about you but I’ll be carrying my pen and notebook during these Heritage Open Days. Historical details, facts and anecdotes often give me ideas for poems and this is a great opportunity to carry out research into places and people I wouldn’t usually have easy access to.