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Portsmouth in Poetry | 22-Oct-08

Portsmouth in poetry
Tongues&Grooves, one of Hampshire's leading poetry networks, is planning an anthology of poems about Portsmouth. It aims to produce the first collective poetic definition of the city. 
'Other British cities have a distinct poetic personality,' says Maggie Sawkins of Tongues & Grooves, 'think of the poetry of Liverpool, Glasgow, Hull, Brighton. Portsmouth doesn't have this presence - as yet.  We want to change that.'
Sawkins believes that now is the time to do it. 'For years,' she says, 'our city lacked self-esteem. But the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf and, most notably, Pompey claiming the FA Cup and a role in Europe, have given our city a new and dynamic sense of itself.'

Tongues&Grooves is looking for poems that bring Portsmouth to life by showing the city as it is and what it means to the people who live here.  'They can be about loving or loathing what Portsmouth stands for,' says Sawkins.

'They can be about any aspect of the city's character - life on a small crowded island, the sea and its moods, parking problems, the navy, the sense of community or lack of it, drunks, dogs, anything. The poems can have any main subject, but Portsmouth must be a strong presence.'
Anyone can submit poems. Tongues&Grooves wants budding poets as well as established voices, and will be running open workshops to help new poets sharpen their skills. The poems can be in any style; they can be serious, funny or sad - so long as they say something vivid and meaningful about Portsmouth.

Closing date for submissions is 31 January 2009. No charge for entry. Anyone interested should contact Tongues&Grooves at 22 Wimbledon Park Road, PO5 2PU for the submission guidelines (enclose sae), visit, or email

Notes for Editors

Tongues&Grooves meets for jam sessions of poetry and music at The Florence Arms, Southsea from 8.00 -10.30pm on the last Sunday of every month, and at other venues in the Portsmouth area. It brings nationally known poets to Portsmouth for readings, and holds poetry workshops. A series of workshops will be about Portsmouth.

For more information about Tongues & Grooves: visit or phone Maggie Sawkins at 023 9273 4180.


- Non profit-making poetry and music since 2003.
- Platforms for writers and musicians with special guests.
- Roadshows, Readings, Workshops, Recordings, Writing Days.
- Encouraging the 'quiet voice'.
- Welcoming under-represented groups.

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