November 13th 2021 will see the official Zoom launch of the Open University Society of Poets‘ ‘Red Letter Openings’, an anthology to celebrate its 40th Anniversary.
The anthology features 52 contributions, one for each week of the year, from current and former members documenting in verse their own personal journeys with poetry and the OU.
The introduction to the anthology provides a fascinating insight into the early days of the Society by founder members Shirley Bell, Ted Griffin and Jim Lindop.
Shirley was the brains behind the Open University Poetry Society: she advertised in the OU “Sesame” magazine with a suggestion for forming the society and so it all began: a vibrant community of experienced and new poets, offering opportunities for feedback through its workshop magazine, publication through its annual anthologies, performance opportunities through its monthly Zoom events, and development through its workshops.
Ted Griffin, writes: “During its 40 years, the magazine has given light to many good poems, some even great. It has been useful to would-be poets in allowing them to assess their work alongside others and thus, I believe, done a great service to the great English art of poetry which is so often the most neglected of the arts.”
None of this could have happened, however, without the energies of members who have over the years filled the roles necessary to run and administer the society or without the OU tutors who have inspired and encouraged our poetic development.
What of the future? We’ve seen so much change over the past couple of years and have navigated it well.
We’ve had the introduction of ‘An Hour or More of Poetry’ on the last Thursday of each month, an addition that has been largely welcomed. We’ll continue with it as it gives a platform for us all to get together, wherever in the world we may be.
Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) last year may have been late but it happened online and was a success, giving many more members the ability to attend, we’ll continue to use that platform for future AGMs.
Who knows what the future will bring? Suffice it to say that whatever life throws at us, OUP will continue and thrive with some of the best poets around.