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New Home for Poetry with Friends 

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Three years ago I met Elaine Cusack, a local writer and poet and we found we shared a few interests, one of them being poetry. Poetry with Friends began soon after, meeting in North Shields on fortnightly on Tuesday evening overlooking the River Tyne. Since then we have moved a few times having been based in a shop, a church and now back to shop – The Big Local Shop, headquarters of the Big Local community organisation. Is this our final resting place? I hope so.

So what is Poetry with Friends?

Poetry with friends is a social group that meets to enjoy sharing poetry, the conversation those poems evoke in us, together with a cuppa and biscuits in convivial company. While some of us write, it’s not essential, although we encourage those who want to. We have shared poems by Pam Ayres, Pablo Neruda, Philip Larkin, D.H. Lawrence, Clive James, Robert Burns, Maya Angelou, to name just a few. We have as many female members as men and welcome anyone who wishes to join us – no age limits. For anyone who feels shy and may think they couldn’t possibly read out loud, worry not! If you are a little shy we welcome you anyway and if you don’t feel up to reading we can facilitate that for you. We have members who were just like that when they started and now we can’t stop Alan from writing and reading in the sessions.

Our evening group meet fortnightly on a Tuesday evening at The Big Local Shop, which is next to Bay Traders in Whitley Bay, opposite the Town House Pub.

Our meetings run from 7 pm to 9 pm, we provide tea/coffee biscuits and the cost per session is £4.50

The dates for Tuesday evenings up to December are as follows:

July 11 / 25, Sept 12 / 26, Oct 10 / 24, Nov 7 / 21, Dec 5.

We also run a daytime group which meets at Whitley Bay Library on alternate Thursday mornings from 11 am – 1 pm, in the St Mary’s Room on the first floor.

The dates for that group are as follows:

July 20th, Sept 7 / 21, Oct 19, Nov 2 / 16 / 30, Dec 14th.

If anyone would like any further information regarding Poetry with Friends or any other aspect of Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC, you can call into the studio at 3a Ilfracombe Gardens in WhitBay bay and speak to Gail or you can email

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