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pevensey-ve-day1

Poet, Philipa Couglan who lives in the community launched her poetry competition on Sunday 1 March

The competition is part of the local VE Day 75 celebrations that are to take place in the locality.

POETRY PLEASE FOR PEVENSEY:is a competition which will be showcased with winners receiving their awards at an event hosted by the Bay Hotel in Pevensey Bay.

The VE Day 75 celebrations will mark the moment when the guns fell silent in Europe at the end of the Second World War. The new Bank Holiday weekend is designated by the Government between 8-10 May this year. Winston Churchill on VE Day said “”My dear friends, this is your hour.”

When VE Day dawns on 8 May 2020 it will be 75 years since the guns fell silent. Years of carnage and destruction had come to an end and millions of people took to the streets and pubs to celebrate peace, mourn their loved – ones and to hope for the future.

A new government website says, “it will be an opportunity for us all to remember the enormous sacrifices that were made at home and abroad and to joyously celebrate as people did 75 years ago, the arrival of peace in Europe.

“Friday 8 May 2020 will see licensing hours extended to enable as many towns, parishes, district, community and other councils, along with individuals, voluntary organisations, the holiday and hospitality industry including pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels, to join in the VE Day 75 celebrations”.

Here in Pevensey Bay, Pevensey, Westham, Normans Bay,, the homegrown response planned will see a variety of events.

Philipa writes, “as part of the forthcoming VE Day 75th Anniversary Commemorations a Poetry Competition is taking place. It will culminate in the winning poems being read as part of an event ‘Pevensey at War’ – poetry evening and dinner at The Bay Hotel, Pevensey Bay beginning at 7pm on Friday 8th May 2020″.

She adds, “the competition is open to all residents in the area with the theme: PEVENSEY AT WAR”.

There are three categories:

• Children up to the age of 11 involving the local school
• 11-18 years olds
• Adult

Any form of verse is welcome with a maximum of 50 lines. Entries now open from today,  Sunday 1st March 2020. The closing date is Monday 20th April 2020

Entries can be emailed to info@pevenseybaylife.co.uk

Two of the judges are University of Sussex alumni. The third is a University of Sussex undergraduate.

The first judge for the competition is poet, Philipa Couglan. She was an MA Postgraduate student in English Literature (1700-1900) from the University of Sussex.

Poet Philipa said, “thanks to everyone for the support with this competition, particularly Maria Snow at the Bay Hotel”.

The second judge is, University of Sussex English and Philosophy student, Liam Harper. Twenty one year old Liam, whose favourite writer is Albert Camus said, “what a fantastic honour to have been chosen as one of the judges for the competition – I’d be glad to! I’ve been reading a lot of poetry of the Great War lately. I also bought my housemate a collection of Siegfried Sassoon war poems for his birthday yesterday”.

Albert Camus was born in Algeria to French parents. He spent his childhood in a poor neighbourhood and later studied philosophy at the University of Algiers. He was in Paris when the Germans invaded France during World War II. Camus finally joined the French Resistance where he served as editor-in-chief at Combat, an outlawed newspaper.

The third judge is editor of the Pevensey Bay Journal, Simon Montgomery.

Simon said, “I studied the ninety thirties poets for my final dissertation at University of Sussex as an undergraduate, and have been an English teacher for 44 years”.

He added that he “hoped to be able to look at the poetry with interest and that what he was looking for was two things,” simplicity and originality”.

Poet Philipa Couglan is a recent resident in the locality. Her previous home in Nottingham saw her adopting a role in the Nottingham Literature Festival in 2018 at which she organised an original  “D.H. Lawrence cream tea”.

Her involvement in the planning of the VE Day 75 local celebrations is already being seen as adding a novel dimension to proceedings.

Philipa explained that “winners and highly commended entrants will receive certificates” and also that “there will be prizes for the three main winners”.

She added “winners will hopefully be available to attend the event on the evening of Friday 8 May”.

Philipa explained, “I have been inspired to read some poets from World War II, many previously unknown to me, and many, who also tragically died very young whilst serving their country.

“Such a loss again of potential talent. I am a poet/writer who has returned to the area and have instantly been inspired by the sea and the surrounding countryside.

“Now thinking of the war that was taking place in the sky above here during those years, there is much again to inspire poets of today.

Philipa Couglan can be contacted for any further information that is required about the competition.. pcoughlan@btinternet.com or telephone mobile 07519 143770.


VE DAY 75 LOCAL CELEBRATIONS —POETRY PLEASE FOR PEVENSEY—NOTES
Entries open: Sunday 1 March 2020 Closing Date: Monday 20 April 2020. There are to be three awards (one in each category). each award will be a £40:00 book token from Waterstones Book Shop in Eastbourne. Sponsors for the Children up to the age of 11 category, involving the local school, are to be Harper Hair Co in Pevensey Bay. Sponsors for the other two categories will be announced closer to the competition closer to the clsing date. date.

HARPER HAIR CO: SPONSORS POETRY PLEASE FOR PEVENSEY:


To celebrate the opening of the competition, ‘Poetry Please for Pevensey’ we are delighted to be given the opportunity to publish two moving war poems by Philpa Couglan. Philipa has dropped off a poster at the tourist information centre, She plasn to walk around with posters on Monday (2 March). She will be chatting to shop owners/the library etc.

To kickstart the competition, talking to the Pevensey Bay Journal on the eve of the competition launch on Saturday 29 February, Philipa said, “I attach two of mine which relate to war and am happy for them to be printed now to set the thing going.

The inspiartional poems by Philipa Coughlan are published here. Good luck to everyone who is about to enter the competition, open from 1 March..

SQUADRON COLOUR

In grief by the vase in the church,

The full blush of scarlet and yellow rose

Are flowers raising their heads to heaven

And candles lighting their trails to tears.

Another widow of war and sky grave,

Here, where the church lays out its tablets

Of stone reminders of the distant past,

Of lives laying, looking skyward to the lost world.

He once flew in the floating clouds,

Airman proud and high

Till he fell into the sacred soil

From the heavens of the swarming sky.

Whirls of propellers catching death

When, for her, new life began

Forever without the earthly touch

And the reach of blue sky love.

Philipa Couglan


BARK SOLDIERS

Lines of men awaiting orders
Bending to authority in the trenches
The fading greens are not in regimentation
Whilst wind rocks branches,
upright trunks break
We approach November recalling the fallen
Not in gentle mounds on grassy slopes
but on muddied, bloodied fields,
stripped back, burnt and twisting
Sharp winds snapping twigs
where legs and arms of bodies fell
turning toil to soil
There is the shifting light
Winter through the gaps,
trees standing stark, unclothed
in all their disrobed, human bark
Small animals, birds and we people
can hibernate away,
safe in looking forward
to a brighter, lighter spring day
Yet, where the poppies grew
no buds or growth or bloom
Can restore the nature of lost men
to draw any succour from the sap,
keeping green alive and budding forth
Not blown away, dead in ground
Never growing back

Philipa Couglan