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.

Last meet-up - Thursday, 26th March - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
meetings suspended for Covid-19 'Social Distancing'.

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.

Mirth and Verse - a book of poetry by Johnny CrookIn early 2019, marking another stage of his creative journey, Johnny Crook had his very first book of poems published - My Tinnitus Created Mirth and Verse: a collection of poetry that Johnny wrote to distract him from the discomfort brought by his tinnitus.

Johnny's book is now available on Amazon.

You can also now listen to Johnny online as he hosts 'Johnny C's Poetry Corner', Wednesday afternoons 2-3pm on local community radio station Howfen Radio.

Poem of the Month

AND SO IT CAME TO PASS


And so it came to pass
As my mind rebelled against my tinnitus
That poetry came to my mind
Which at first i thought; oh, so kind
So many words
In so many rhymes
I could fill a book with them
And they’d all be mine
Time after time
And
So, it came to pass
Twelve years on
I still have my tinnitus
Plus a book filled with rhythm and rhyme.

by Johnny Crook (May 2020)

Download

Previous 'Poems of the Month'

Covid-19 by Ted Morgan (2020) | A Wind Of Folly | Christmas Poem 2019 by Ted Morgan (2019) | I'm Never (2019) | Impress The Lady You Love (2014) | If You Lend Me Your Ears (2018) | Nativity by Ted Morgan (2018) | 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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Community Events

  • Social Distancing (Covid-19)
    In light of arrival of virus and advice given by Govt, all WCN groups and community orgnisations are having to suspend meetings and activities for time-being. Summer events programme hit.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market street focus) reaches public consultation stage. Drop-ins at Library took place on 12 & 15 Feb. Closing date for feedback 23/3/20. Significant investment and changes proposed inc. Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. Final meeting conducted via Microsoft Teams (18/8). Final report pending.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    League season TERMINATED due to Covid-19
    Decent season for 'The Cutters' brought to an abrupt end in March. Now back in training and playing pre-season friendlies. WCN given opportunity to provide community news and features for home game programmes.
  • Civic Awards 2020
    Westhoughton Town Council Civic Awards for service to the local community. Presentation evening 25/1/20
  • Tribute to Tony
    Tony Berry Tribute Concert at St. Bart's 22 Nov 19 - . £2,716 raised; shared between Cancer Research and St. Bart's Tower Fund.
  • Library Schedule
    Westhoughton Library
    Did you know as well as books, computers and newspapers, your local Library provides Council One-Stop Shop services and is a base for many community groups and special events!
    Library closed as part of Covid-19 measures. Meetings and activities suspended.
  • 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. Centre currently closed.
  • Rotary Christmas Float
    Rotary Club of Westhoughton is very grateful for public support with donations of £6,253 received during the run-up to Christmas. More raised will help support local charities. Presentation Evening postponed.
  • Bolton College Survey
    Adult Learning Provision in Westhoughton
    Bolton Council and Bolton College consulting with WCN and other partners to reintroduce Adult Learning Provision to Westhoughton. A survey is launched, with follow-up events planned.
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