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My name is Jayne Kurowski and I have been coming to RYG Wednesday art group for 11years. Roger Young our art teacher since long before I joined the group was an inspirational and kindly gentleman who taught the group up until the autumn of 2016 when he sadly passed away in his mid 80s.Brenda took over organising the group after Roger’s death much to the relief of the members who wanted to continue with the art. Carol Francis was invited to tutor us once a month and has found great favour in the group and is a welcome addition. The group is essentially self directed, using a variety of media and subjects to paint and it is a very up beat and social group contributing to social well-being also. Of course a break for coffee and cake is always welcome!

PENfro Poets arose from what was conceived as a single, poetry writing workshop offered by Brenda Squires and Peter George at the PENfro Book Fair 2012. The members of that original group enjoyed the experience so much that Brenda and Peter continued to run the workshop throughout 2012-2013, before offering a further poetry writing workshop at the PENfro Book Fair 2013. Here a further group of members were recruited and a stable core group of poets was formed that has remained remarkably consistent over the past few years. In the first year, a publication was compiled by Brenda and Peter, edited by Jackie Biggs, with an introduction by Dave Urwin. [PENfro Poets 2013, Menter Rhosygilwen, 2013]. Since then, members of the group have continued to produce poetry that has been published in various media; so, it seems a good time to start to publish a selection of work by PENfro Poets that will exemplify the diversity of voices and range of themes and preoccupations contained within the group. Undoubtedly, every PENfro Poet has benefitted from the formal workshop element that forms a part of each session and the informal, feedback on writing in progress that we also undertake each time. Furthermore, the warm atmosphere of trust that has developed over time has proved encouraging and enabling. At the end of 2015, Brenda and Peter suggested that PENfro Poets were more than ready to become peer-led, and we have now transitioned to being completely peer-led, which has led to a further sharing of skills, knowledge and poetic expertise and, by the by, lots of ludic fun, games and inspiration.

As well as one pamphlet publication, PENfro Poets have participated in events at Rhosygilwen Mansion, most notably the annual Schubertiade, which takes place each autumn. So, it seems appropriate that we begin by sharing some poems by PENfro Poets that take their inspiration from Schubert’s song cycle, Winterreise.

Helen May Williams

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the PENfro Book Festival

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