Come and celebrate the “2nd anniversary of OPEN BOOK readings with Neil Fulwood .


Tony Challis has been writing poetry since the 1980s, as well as short stories and memoir. He has had poems published in magazines local to Nottingham, has had a poem commended in a national poetry competition, and is Chair of Nottingham Poetry Society. Tony is also keen on performing his poetry at spoken word events and at poetry gatherings. He is a member of a number of poetry writing groups within which he hones his skills. He now has a substantial  body of poetry written which he is keen to share with the world.

A Quick Queerbashing

It was only a five minute walk
across the main road to his ex.
Well-coiffed, in leather jacket,
fresh, smart and bouncing.
It was on the way back that it happened.

Times come when the search for words is dry,
when it is hard to maintain a dribble of chat.
He could not reply, only smile with his eyes.
The frame firmly placed over his face prevented
replies; bolted in place to help his jaw heal.

I had to keep a conversation going, talk
about my doings, mutual friends, shows….
He could write brief notes on paper, just.
If I had had a companion there might’ve been banter,
cross talk, jokes shared to liven his time.

I had read reports, how he had walked
in amongst a group of five, innocent,
blind to their baseball bats, uncomprehending
of their anger, of how they had failed to find
a victim at the hill-top water tower.

He would do; he was clearly queer.
They gifted him a metal plate in his leg,
a problem kneeling to unhelpful gods.
Did their own hearts scare them as they struck?
I recall the gratitude in his warm gaze.

A Year in Normandie 2020-21: David Hockney

Enter, leave the sun to shine on Saltaire.
Stroll around imagined time beside a frieze.
90.75 metres and you have walked a year.
The slower your step the more slowly time passes.
Winter to winter, from bare wind-braving trees
back to snow-protected branches.
Bright blossoms, more here than in Yorkshire
the artist says. He wants that.
He now knows the trees as individuals,
scoffs at, “When you’ve seen one tree
you’ve seen them all.” Every tree is unique.
Eye-spangling ipad art
gives a sugar-rush of colour,
sweetening the retina.
Uplift and joy, even in fallen leaves.
Walk outside, breathing deeply, smiling;
see the sun putting on evening clothes of pastel clouds.
Also mud and black puddles.
The day’s residue dropped into car boots,
the muffled drum of car doors closing.
Nose no friend to fumes.

Nottingham Poetry Society


Shaun Belcher is a multimedia artist and poet, originally from Oxford, now a retired teacher in Nottingham.

He has written poetry since his mid 20’s,  influenced by his rural upbringing as well as wider themes of dislocation and global technologies.