The Bucks Mills Poetry Festival 2019

- 'A Weekend Gathering of Poets' - 

at: The Bucks Mills Poetry Gallery

Bucks Mills, Devon EX39 5DY

An Exciting Blend of Live Poetry Readings by our fantastic Line-Up of multi Award-Winning

much-published and radio-broadcast regional, national and international Poets

- Plus - 'The Cabin & Quay Poetry Workshop - at 'The Cabin' in Bucks Mills (courtesy of The National Trust)

- Live Poetry Readings at 'The Cabin' - and -on the Bucks Mills Quay and Seashore

- Plus - Poetry Talks  - Lively Poetry Discussions - and - Fun Poetry Events!

Admission is By Invitation Only - For An Invitation Please Contact Festival Director: Merlynda Robinson

Meet Our Festival Poets ...

The Festival Director - Merlynda Robinson - is Delighted to Announce the Absolutely Fantastic Line-Up of multi Award-winning, much-published and radio-broadcast regional, national and international Poets performing their hugely entertaining and highly accomplished poetry at this inaugural year of:

The Bucks Mills Poetry Festival 2019 - A Weekend Gathering of Poets:

Shelley Szender

Deborah Harvey

Dominic Fisher

Tamara Miles

Maria Bojanitz

Pete Cummings

Jonathan Spurling

Sarah Adams

David Dixon

Clare Chitan ('Glynn Sinclare')

Judy Blee

Poppy Blee

John Gallas

Merlynda Robinson

A Poet's Biography & List of Awards, Appearances and Publications for each Poet appears below:

Shelley Szender

Shelley has been performing since July 2016. Shelley’s poetry style has been described as 'Beryl Cook in prose'. She has performed her poems at various venues such as:  The Barnstaple Fringe, Barnfield Theatre, Glasgow Comedy Festival, The Duplex Club in New York, as well as various pubs, art galleries, Dartington Literacy Festival and on Radio Devon.

She also hosts The Stanza Extravaganza in Torquay.

Deborah Harvey

Deborah Harvey is a Bristol-based poet and novelist. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies, and broadcast on Radio 4's Poetry Please, and several have won major prizes, most recently The 2018 Plough Prize Short Poem Competition.

She has three poetry Collections: Communion (2011), Map Reading for Beginners (2014), and Breadcrumbs (2016), published by Indigo Dreams Publishing, while her historical novel, Dart, appeared under their Tamar Books imprint in 2013. Her fourth collection, The Shadow Factory, will be published in summer 2019.
Deborah is co-founder of The Leaping Word poetry consultancy. She is currently writing towards a collection of poems that seek to explore her native West Country through the lens of mythic time.

Dominic Fisher

Dominic Fisher is from the Bristol/Bath area. He was the winner of the international Bristol Poetry Prize 2018.
He has been published in a wide range of poetry magazines including: Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Magma, Brittle Star, Raceme, South Bank Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, and, Under the Radar, and also broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

His collection The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead was published in March by The Blue Nib -

And sometimes there are goldfinches on his Bristol allotment.

Tamara Miles

Tamara Miles teaches college English in South Carolina.

Her writing has appeared here and there, including in: Fall Lines, O’Bheal, Pantheon, Tishman Review, Animal, Obra, RiversEdge, Feminine Collective, Thistle, Riggwelter, ELJ and Apricity.

She is a former administrator of The Curiosity Salon and host of an audio literary journal called: Where the Most Light Falls at
She was a 2016 contributor at Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a 2017 resident at Rivendell Writers Colony, and her favourite poetry adventures include two readings at O’Bheal in Cork City, Ireland and the one upcoming in Devon, England at Bucks Mills!

Maria Bojanitz

Maria was brought up in a Devon village. A trained teacher, she taught Music and English in Hampshire & ran music departments in private schools. She has worked as a peripatetic teacher of voice and piano. She was trained as a soloist by former Glyndebourne principal soprano Rae Woodland, and has encouraged pupils in music, stage performance and public speaking. Inspired by her mother’s artistic and literary talent and her father’s perseverance, Maria focussed on her writing when she became seriously ill at eighteen. Maria appreciates all the encouragers she has come across.

Published work has included poetry in: Autumn Anthology, Regency Press 1970’s, Cruse Anthology 2007, United Press Anthologies from 2016, The Sign Christian pamphlet. Poems and stories have been printed in parish magazines. Various articles have appeared in newspapers, particularly the former Unity News Paper. A self-published local history book: Alfred the Great; A Story of Prisoners of War and Locals, is listed on the bibliography of her first novel: Shades of Indigo. Whilst this novel is available outside Britain, it is not available in this country and awaits a publishing deal with a reliable publisher. Maria chairs Plymouth Writers’ Circle whose members regularly offer each other critique.

Maria is a member of The Playwriters Organisation and Moor Poets, and through such memberships her writing experience has been widened and enriched.

Pete Cummings

Pete is an OAP who likes writing nonsense and happy verse (his own words).

He has been writing poetry since 2016, although he became a playwright with The Playwriters Organisation before that. He also collaborates with other poets and authors within the Organisation.

Pete claims "Each poem is different but has a meaning".

Jonathan Spurling

Jonathan is a singer songwriter and community activist who has worked both in Mental health and disability settings, but also has worked with many community groups in general. He performs regularly with a band line-up, and often solo at various poetry spoken word events. He enjoys taking words and putting them to song, and he also has a collection of songs inspired by peoples experience of mental ill health.

Although officially retired Jonathan is an active Community Volunteer and currently is an active Director for a local community centre in Plymouth and Chairperson for Freedom Community Festival Group. They organize the Freedom Community Festival that is held each June in their local Park. This event is now in its 19th year and has become one of the most popular events in the community events calendar for Plymouth.

Sarah Adams

Hi, I’m Sarah Adams. I moved to Plymouth in 1983, to study Literature and Philosophy at Marjons. After I finished my degree I decided not to return to my native Surrey, but set up home here, to be near the moors and the sea. I met my partner Jonathan in 1990. We have 2 children. I spent a number of their school years home educating, which took up a big part of my life. I think I learnt as much or more during that time as I did when I was at school! With my partner I have worked at many camps and festivals. In past years we gigged at these and locally, and I'm still involved with lots of community music events, with my new love, the ukulele! I also work with local charities to redistribute surplus food, drink, and toiletries etc.

Other great loves in my life are horses, and walks in our beautiful countryside and in Plymouth’s green spaces, both of which inspire my long-held pagan beliefs. Throughout all of these years, of course, has been books and writing. From straining my eyes to read under the bedclothes with a torch as a child, to my degree, to more recently becoming involved with various writing groups in the city. I wrote and produced a poetry booklet in the 1990s and have had several pieces published in the Plymouth Herald. I have work in several Plymouth Writers' Groups, and a number of other, anthologies. The first of a series of children's books is now being illustrated, and I plan to publish more of my poetry in time.

David Dixon

For many years I made my living as a shellfish diver, diving for crayfish off the North Coast of Cornwall and later diving for scallops off the West Coast of Scotland. I’ve also spent time salvaging shipwrecks off Cornwall and Northern France and had bouts of employment in the North Sea, and then (based in Singapore) I spent 6 years in South East Asia, diving for various diving company’s connected to the oil industry. After 20 years I decided I’d had enough of being pushed around, and after drifting for a couple of years set myself up selling glassware and end of brewery promotions on the independent and massive Saturday Penrith Market, and the privately operated gigantic Sunday Market at Morecombe.

In 2010 I retired, and since I’ve always been a big reader, (and now had plenty of time on my hands) I decided to enrol on a creative writing course which introduced me to poetry. Since 2012 I have been lucky enough to have received acknowledgments and mentions from various short stories and poetry competitions, listed below:

The Bucks Mills Highly Commended Poetry Award (awarded 3 times)
Poetry Box Halloween Poetry Competition 3rd prize
Bordertown Press Poetry Competition (Honourable Mention)
Fish Poetry Competition 2 Poems (Long Listed)
Multistory Poetry Competition (Highly Commended)
Multistory Short Story Competition (Honourable Mention)
Sunpenny Poetry Competition (Highly Commended)
Pendle War Poetry Competition (Highly Commended)
Wordhut Poetry Competition (Long Listed)
Hammond House Poetry Competition (Short Listed)

Clare Chitan
(‘Glynn Sinclare’)

Writing poetry and prose has immersed me in occupation. I have no time to grow old; I am too busy, now that the floodgates have opened. I have dipped my toe in the waters of creativity. I can see creativity all around. The one who paints the nails in imaginative ways, styles hair in exotica. Groups putting the world to right, craftsmen in their trade. Dentist creating a new smile. We are all creative; some have not recognised it, as yet.

My heart soars, I have found an outlet for my creative being, I ask myself, could I be a poet a writer? My writing has made me walk tall, be proud to own my work, call it work. That which fills my every thought, absorbs every fibre in my being.

I love the rhythm and music in a poem, the ebb and flow of verse. Descriptive words painting a picture. The way words portray love, anger, sadness, or voices my opinion, spreads the word and says what I feel in the gentlest or strongest way possible. Words like sparks exploding in the dark. Words back and forward like a bouncing game of volleyball played on the beach. Words strung together that satisfy and comfort my soul.

Judy Blee

I wrote some poetry about nature when I was a child and had it published in school magazines but then I began to fear getting it ‘wrong’, bought into the western ideal of the supremacy of left brained academia and neglected my creativity. Many years later, in my 40s, whilst training to become a psychotherapist I stumbled across the healing power of poetry in my therapeutic journal writing.
When I can’t get to grips with an emotion, when I can’t route back to its origin, when I can’t effectively process and lay the discomfort to rest, I now follow the instinct to write a poem. The healing is in the rhythm of the poetry and the surfacing of the words enabling expression of emotions arising from a non-verbal place. Suffice to say that most of my poetry is therefore about emotions. I do not write for an audience but I would feel honoured if it were considered interesting enough for publication.
My influences are those who believe in the healing power of the engagement of the whole brain such as the psychotherapists Carl Jung and Peter Lavine rather than poets per se.  “The creation of something is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.“ - Carl Jung

Poppy Blee

I’m new to writing.
It started with song writing around a year ago and I generally write about fictional people’s lives.
I always aspire to have a deeper message behind the stories/poems/songs I write, and my aim is to affect everyone who hears my work, and make them think.
My inspirations are singer-songwriters such as Ed Sheeran and Eminem.
I have not had my poetry published but I aspire to telling these stories though my singing, as well as my reading. 

John Gallas

NZ Poet.  18 Books Published By: Carcanet (mostly) Agraphia Press, Magpie, Cold Hub (NZ), Indigo Dreams, Five Leaves, Gerolstein (NZ)

Including:  The Song Atlas, Star City, 40 Lies, 52 Euros - and most lately:  Mad John's Walk, The Little Sublime Comedy, 17 Very Pacific Poems

Translator, Librettist, St Magnus Festival Orkney Poet, Fellow of the Englosh Association

Latest Collections:  The Extasie, Here They Come! 200 Loaded Tankas Bringing Goodness Fresh to Your Doorstep! - with Carcanet and VUW Press (NZ) respectively.

Presently having a poem-rest, and writing a reimagined collection of Pacific tales, myths and legends, and completing The Blood Book, the story of my family from 10,000 BC to me. Retired after 25 years teaching excluded schoolkids. Recently completed walking John Clare's 125 mile journey from his asylum in the New Forest to Northborough.

Lit: Donne, Beckett, Sterne, Fielding, Don Quixote.
Travel: Central Asia, Mongolia, biking coasts of Britain and Ireland, the Pacific Islands.
Doings: Tramping, Biking, my Caravan, Cinema, Herb-growing.
Plans: Probably depends on the Runes ... or the state of my walking boots.


About Festival Director & Poet-Cartoonist:  Merlynda Robinson (LLAM)

Born into a theatrical family, Merlynda trained with LAMDA for 10 years (becoming an ALAM and LLAM of LAMDA and awarded 4 Honours Medals in Speech/Acting) - and successfully completed ‘The Mastery’ at The Actors Institute, in London. Her childhood was spent almost entirely performing in operetta, musicals and dramatic plays - and - creating poetry, satirical/comical monologues and songs. Later, she added ventriloquism and Punch & Judy Puppetry to her repertoire and Founded: The Ventriloquist Club of Great Britain.  She has performed her satirical and romantic poetry, monologues and songs as themed ‘One-Woman Acts’ at Festivals and Events in a variety of theatres and venues across the south of England.  Merlynda's Poetry Awards, Songwriting Awards, Poetry Publications, Other Publications, Radio-Broadcasts, Live Performances and professional Columnist/Scriptwriter/Author roles are Listed Below.

She became a professional Cartoonist - ‘Kitty Pigfish’ - after studying Fine Art at Winchester School of Art, The OCA and Goldsmiths in the early 1990s. Her artworks are exhibited in commercial London Galleries, regional Galleries, in France, the USA and Sweden, and are commissioned internationally. An Exhibitions/Client List is available on request.  In the 1990s, she owned and managed ‘The Barley-Brut Art Gallery’ in Hampshire and ran regular Exhibitions and Art Workshops within the South Downs National Park region and won The Leaf Bookjacket Award.

In addition to being an award-winning and much-published poet and cartoonist, Merlynda became a regular Astrology Columnist with: The Observer Newspaper & Magazine Series - a Subs Editor with: The Financial Times (FinTech) - a professional Scriptwriter with: Q International - assisted The Chief Barker of The Variety Club of Great Britain - and - the Managing Director of Columbia-EMI-Warner Bros Films - both in Wardour Street, Soho, London - starred in AV Presentations for Polaroid Cameras and others - and became a model for RFD.   She was the Founder-Editor of the hugely popular printed and illustrated monthly Gothic and Horror Poetry Magazine: The Poetry Box Magazine.

She moved to Bucks Mills in 2017 and in 2018, after many requests to create a new printed and illustrated poetry magazine, she launched: The Bucks Mills Poetry Magazine. She was the ‘Poet-In-Residence’ at ‘The Cabin’ in Bucks Mills (by courtesy The National Trust) in Autumn 2018.  She opened her Studio-Bookshop-Gallery: ‘The Bucks Mills Gallery’ to visitors regularly from Spring 2018 and was a participating artist with: MADHurst Art Trek, DAN Trek and the ND Art Trek organisations. In 2019 she launched a brand new mini poetry festival: ‘The Bucks Mills Poetry Festival: A Gathering of Poets’ - bringing together poets regionally, nationally and internationally.

As both a professional poet and cartoonist, Merlynda is happiest of all creating Gag Cartoons - and although popularly known for her Comical Poetry and her Poetry For Children (as: ‘Merlynda Jelly-Jaws’) - she is happiest too, creating Romantic Love and Bereavement Poetry.

Merlynda’s Awards Include: The Forward Press Golden Grove Poetry Award, The Leaf Book-Jacket Award, The Poetry Rivals National Poetry Slam, The PIM Poetry Award, The Serendipity Poetry Prize, The Portico Poetry Prize, Library Book-Jacket Award, The WM Composer’s Award For Song, The UK International Songwriter Contest - and - Selected Songwriter: MiDEM, Cannes, France. Over 100 of her Songs and Keyboard/Piano Instrumental Compositions are published and her Keyboard Suite: The Toys In The Attic was choreographed by The Royal Academy of Dance and premiered at: The EQ International Festival of Dance, in Ireland.

Merlynda’s 16 Solo Poetry Collections Published To Date: The Romance of Bucks Mills, War Poems: A Collection For Remembrance, Naughty! Naughty!, ACT! Alone Monologues, Naughty But Nice!, The Bucks Mills Funny Times!, Merlynda: Poet-In-Residence in The Cabin, 6 FairyTales & Verse-Fables 4 You!, Tale of The Goat & The Wolf (also an Audio Book), Jolly Rhymes!, Tiggee Tatter & Ticklee, Flight Or Fight!, The Scarlette Book, Horror Poetry, Kitty Pigfish’s Astrological Canines, Merlynda Requests The Pleasure (Audio Book).

Merlynda’s poems are also widely published in a variety of Poetry Anthologies - including: Poets Ensemble, Prime Time Poets, Poetry Rivals 2009, Poetry Rivals 2012, Poetry Rivals 2014, Forward Poetry: A World of Verse 2011, Forward Poets 2008, Forward Poetry Poets 2012, Poetry Now 1997, Poetry Now 2013, The Great British Write Off, My Regards To You, Endless Love, Happily Ever After, The World At War, Spring To Life, Diamond Jubilee, Womanly Thoughts, Poetic Destinies, Inspired, Essence of Love, Animal Antics, Echoes of Life, The Gift of Prayer, Into The Shadows, Wasn’t It Funny When, It’s The Way They Tell ‘Em, A Royal Century, Joyful Thoughts of Christmas, United In Inspiration, In Those Days, Words In Praise of Ned Ludd, A Little Book of Serendipity, Cold Shivers: A Collection of Short Stories, The Bordon Reflections War Poetry Collection, The National Library, The Royal Naval Poetry Collection, The Poetry Society.

Merlynda’s Poetry Festival & Other Live Performances Include: The Chichester Festival, The Havant Literary Festival, The Lanesborough Hotel, Hyde Park, London, The Milford Festival, The Ripley Festival, Elvetham Country Estate, Civic Hall-G-Live, privately for Baroness Golding and The Law Lords, Port Solent, O'Connors, The Secret Garden, East Hill House, Greenbanks, Milkwood House, WordBox, The Wheelwrights, The Bear Hotel, on the London Fringe Theatre circuit and headlining/participating at a variety of Poetry Open Mics/Spoken Word Events across the south of England.

Merlynda’s Poetry Radio Broadcasts and Interviews, to date: BBC Radio Solent, BBC Radio South, BBC 3 Counties, Radio Delta, Spirit FM, Radio Lion (the recording of this live poetry broadcast is frequently re-broadcast).  Merlynda was regional BBC Radio ‘Poetry Expert’ during the BBC’s ‘Functional Poetry Initiative’.

For Further Information - Please Visit Merlynda's websites:


© Copyright The Bucks Mills Gallery