Review: Zoom extravaganza of pictures and poetry

Audience members and poets during the online Kaleidoscope of Poetry event hosted by Arts Destination South Molton

Audience members and poets during the online Kaleidoscope of Poetry event hosted by Arts Destination South Molton - Credit: Gill Stoker

The Kaleidoscope of Poetry hosted by Arts Destination South Molton on January 11 blew the winter blues away for a large online audience of almost 200, drawn from across North Devon - and the world - with its evocations of atmosphere, places, people and events.

As one of the poets taking part said: 'it started the year with a warm glow'.

This Zoom-streamed evening was inspired by – and organised with - the Mary Evans Picture Library, London (an extensive treasure trove of all types of illustrations, past and present), for whose poetry blog many poets have created evocative and touching poems linked to their chosen image.

At the event, 15 of the poets introduced their image on-screen and explained the inspiration behind their poems, before reading them to the large, appreciative audience.

South Molton daughter and father poets Sarah Westcott and retired GP Richard Westcott

South Molton daughter and father poets Sarah Westcott and retired GP Richard Westcott - Credit: contributed

Another poet remarked: “Numbers like that at a poetry reading are not something to be met with every day, Zoom or no Zoom”.

The images chosen took us from everyday nature, featuring couch grass and ragwort, to exploits on the Titanic and derring-do in World War 1 aviation, from a child playing in a broken-down car to The Nativity, barometers and oysters. 

The gathered audience were full of praise, commenting on the boost, and the emotions, the event created: 'a real tonic in these Covid times' 'the evening brought joy to everyone at this difficult time'; 'I was brought to tears by some of the poems'. Additionally, poets and audience alike remarked on the 'fantastic organisation', 'wonderful technical skills' and 'meticulous work'.

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Gill Stoker, the curator of the Mary Evans Poetry Blog and co-organiser said: “It has been enormous fun, and a huge sense of achievement coming from all the hard work."

You can find the poems alongside their related images on the Library’s website, The collection of poems is added to on a weekly basis. Why not try your hand at poetry using that one image that speaks to you?

Arts Destination South Molton is planning several exciting events over the course of the next 12 months and would love you to join in with these mainly free events. 

To see up-coming events, why not follow Arts Destination South Molton on Facebook:

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