The Historical Birthday-Tea Party 9th February


Amy Lowell

February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925

the embodiment of the new liberated woman, … unlimited faith in her own capability

God made me a business woman, and I made myself a poet

Towards the end of her short life Amy had  a relationship with Ada Dwyer Russell, and wrote several poems for her.

The Temple
Between us leapt a gold and scarlet flame.
Into the hollow of the cupped, arched blue
Of Heaven it rose. Its flickering tongues up-drew
And vanished in the sunshine. How it came
We guessed not, nor what thing could be its name.
From each to each had sprung those sparks which flew
Together into fire. But we knew
The winds would slap and quench it in their game.
And so we graved and fashioned marble blocks
To treasure it, and placed them round about.
With pillared porticos we wreathed the whole,
And roofed it with bright bronze. Behind carved locks
Flowered the tall and sheltered flame. Without,
The baffled winds thrust at a column’s bole.
The Taxi
When I go away from you
The world beats dead
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?
Anticipation
I HAVE been temperate always,
But I am like to be very drunk
With your coming.
There have been times
I feared to walk down the street
Lest I should reel with the wine of you,
And jerk against my neighbors
As they go by.
I am parched now, and my tongue is horrible in my mouth,
But my brain is noisy
With the clash and gurgle of filling wine-cups.

Ada  edited posthumous collections of Amy’s poem, including this:

Sappho would speak, I think, quite openly
And Mrs Browning guard a careful silence,
But Emily would set doors ajar and slam them
And love you for your speed of observation

What’s O’clock 1925: The Sisters st2

Tell me
Was Venus more beautiful
Than you are
When she topped
The crinkled waves
Drifting shoreward
On her plaited shell
Was Botticelli’s vision
Fairer than mine
And were the painted rosebuds
He tossed his lady
Of better worth
Than the words I blow about you
To cover your too great loveliness

Amy would be good company I think, full of brio and delight. She gets her invitation, Ada too, obviously.

Lewisham Library LGBT Lesbian takeover


We had a great night at Lewisham Library on Thursday. A substantial crowd, a relaxed atmosphere and some great writers. The first of  many events for LGBT History Month, it was a diverse and entertaining evening.

V.A Fearon read from her novel The Girl With the Treasure Chest, about gang negotiator Dani, and her first meeting with lover Marie;

Kate Foley read us some varied poems from several collections covering everything from bedroom tax to first smoochy dance at the Gateways*

Cherry Potts stuck up for Helen of Troy in her story Behind the Mask, from Mosaic of Air

and V.G. Lee‘s heroine struggled to be a proper card-carrying lesbian in the teeth of straight friend Deirdre’s best attempts to scupper her.

*Anyone under the age of thirty may be mystified by the Gateways. If you want to know more, come along to The Story Sessions on 19th February and listen to Clare Summerskill.

The Historical Birthday-Tea Party 8th February


elizabeth bishopToday’s birthday girl is multiple award-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979) “one of the most important American poets” of the twentieth century.

Elizabeth was great friends with Marianne Moore who mentored her while she was studying at Vassar. Elizabeth  travelled widely, often with female companions, one of whom Marjorie Stevens, she lived with from 1943 until 1947.

All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper just running down the edges of different countries and continents, looking for something.

In 1951 a further season of travelling, on a fellowship, took her to Rio de Janeiro where she met  Lota de Macedo Soares with who she lived until Lota’s death in 1967.

I was made at right angles to the world
and I see it so. I can only see it so.

After 1970 she then travelled again this time with Alice Methfessel.

Close, close all night
the lovers keep.
They turn together
in their sleep,

Close as two pages
in a book
that read each other
in the dark.

Each knows all
the other knows,
learned by heart
from head to toes

Elizabeth was an alcoholic so it would definitely have to be a tea party.

Well, the cat is flourishing and gets more spoiled and more beautiful every day. His whiskers measure, from tip to tip, including his mouth and nose, of course, ten inches, pure white whale bone.