For the Record

Poetry Cafe Refreshed at Smokey Joe’s in Bennington Street, Cheltenham, ran monthly on a Wednesday evening from August 2015 to February 2020, when it was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sharon Larkin arranged the programme of guest poets for each of the 54 events, and the evening was hosted by Roger Turner.

Here is a list of the 60 guest poets that performed at Poetry Cafe Refreshed:


August – John Alwyine-Mosely

September – Tom Sastry

October – Nina Lewis

November – Avril Staple

December – Brenda Read Brown


January – David Clarke

February – Sue Johnson, Bob Woodroofe, Joy Thomas

March – Paul Canon Harris

April – Matt Duggan

May – Rachael Clyne

June – Lesley Ingram

July – Ben Banyard

August – Patrick Osada

September – Deborah Harvey

October – Kathy Gee

November – Claire Walker

December – Anna Saunders


January – David Calcutt

February – Stephen Daniels

March – Jennie Farley

April – Sam Loveless

May – Michael W Thomas

June – Stuart Nunn

July – David J Costello

August – Jeff and Dan Phelps

September – Angela Topping

October – Matthew Stewart

November – Kate Noakes

December – Ann Drysdale


January – JPDL

February – Ash Dickinson

March – Gareth Writer Davies

April – Gillian Allnutt

May – Robert Walton

June – Keith Chandler

July – Ziggy Dicks, Jason Conway, Nick Lovell

August – Deborah Alma

September – Angi Holden

October – Sarah Leavesley-James

November – Pat Edwards

December – Peter Wyton


January – Stephen Payne

February – Holly Magill and Brett Evans

March – Melanie Branton

April – Maggie Harris

May – Philip Rush

July – A F Harrold

August – Oz Hardwick

September – Julia Webb

October – Luke Palmer

November – Sarah L Dixon

December – Phil Kirby


January – Jinny Fisher

February – David Briggs

Countless Open Mic poets during the 54 months of events!

It’s impossible to mention by name the scores of open mic poets who attended during the period ‘Refreshed’ was running. However, honorable mentions must be made to a handful of the ‘regulars’ including Michael Newman, Gill Wyatt, Catherine Baker and Annie Ellis who seldom missed an event.

Open mic regulars Michael Newman, Gill Wyatt, Catherine Baker, Annie Ellis with guest poet Sarah L Dixon and Refreshed’s organiser Sharon Larkin and host Roger Turner.

Photos and e-posters to complete the record of Poetry Cafe Refreshed


A unique venue! Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Cheltenham
Refreshed’s first guest poet, John Alwyine-Mosely, August 2015
Tom Sastry, guest poet in September 2015
Nina Lewis, guest poet in October 2015

Advert for Avril Staple’s guest appearance in November 2015
Brenda Read-Brown’s guest appearance for Refreshed’s first Christmas Special
Some guest poets and regulars at the open mic: David Ashbee, David Clarke, Miki Byrne, Annie Ellis, Jennie Farley, Robin Gilbert, Organiser Sharon Larkin, Michael Newman, Stewart Nunn, Belinda Rimmer, Host Roger Turner, Gill Wyatt.


Matt’s performance as guest poet
A summer evening at Refreshed, Patrick Osada the guest poet




Sharon and Maggie
Julia and Sharon


It was fun!

Thanks to all the guest poets and open mic poets that came to Poetry Cafe Refreshed. And special thanks to Vickie Godding and all the staff for their excellent service over the four and a half years of ‘Refreshed’ at Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Cheltenham.


Poetry Cafe Refreshed with Guest Poet Sarah Leavesley


Sarah Leavesley

We had a fantastic Poetry Café Refreshed at Smokey Joe’s in Cheltenham on 17 October,  with guest poet Sarah Leavesley aka Sarah James, whose superbly read poems were a masterclass in making every word count and earn its place. We were treated to a rich variety of multilayered poems which spoke (in my interpretation) of disarming dress, listening to the landscape, remaining relevant across generations, net etiquette, art, love, myth, lessons from home and heritage … and, one of our British obsession, the weather. So much depth and so much to enjoy in terms of imagery, wordplay … and warm humanity.







The open mic was of a high standard with super contributions from:

David Clarke, Jennie Farley, Cliff Yates, Chris Hemingway, Belinda Rimmer, Ross Turner, Gill Wyatt, Michael Newman, Annie Ellis, David Gale, the host of Refreshed, Roger Turner.  I also read a couple.


Sarah with Refreshed’s hosts, Sharon Larkin and Roger Turner

Thank you to Sarah and all those at the open mic; a very enjoyable evening.

And thanks to the lovely staff at Smokey Joe’s for looking after us so well, as always.

Sharon Larkin



Click the link for a video slideshow of photographs taken at Poetry Cafe Refreshed, 17 October 2018

Video Poetry Cafe Refreshed 17 October 2018

Poetry Café – Refreshed, December 2016

We were pleased to have Anna Saunders as guest poet at our last Poetry Café – Refreshed of 2016, with her honed, image-rich poetry and delightful introductions. And the open mic was joyously eclectic!

Here is a photographic record of the event, Refreshed video including all the open mic poets on the night.  It features guest poet Anna Saunders, Refreshed’s host Roger Turner, Martin Lytton, Clive Oseman, Aled Thomas, Robin Gilbert, Jennie Farley, Dee Russell-Thomas, Belinda Rimmer,  Christine Whittemore, Najiba Mrakadeh-Keane, Michael Newman, Annie Ellis, Dave, Gill Wyatt, Chris Hemingway, Peter Wyton, Refreshed’s organizer Sharon Larkin, Howard Timms, Marilyn Timms.  With thanks to all friends and supporters in the audience too!

See you all in 2017.  Until then have a HAPPY CHRISTMAS and JOY-FILLED NEW YEAR!

With best wishes from Poetry Café – Refreshed.

Looking ahead

For our last PC-R of the year, we have Anna Saunders (Cheltenham Poetry Festival) joining us as guest poet on 14 December.



And we have the following exciting poets lined up for 2017, so please reserve the following dates in January and February:

18 January  – Guest poet David Calcutt


15 February  – Guest poet Stephen Daniels

Other guest poets who will be joining us next year (dates currently being confirmed) are:  Jennie Farley, Sam Loveless, Michael Thomas and Stuart Nunn.

In addition to a fabulous ‘back list’ of guest poets, our open mic has gone from strength to strength in the 16 months that Poetry Café – Refreshed has been running, with poets joining Cheltenham from the Oxford area, Bristol, Swindon, Worcester area, Evesham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester.  So we ask aspiring open mic poets …



Poetry Café – Refreshed update!

Claire Walker joined us as guest poet in November, for an engaging reading from her V Press pamphlet, The Girl who Grew into a Crocodile … and some tantalising and accomplished new poems, destined, we’re sure for her Claire’s collection.  A diverse range of voices for the open mic, with poets joining us from Gloucester and Swindon, as well as regulars from Cheltenham and district.


In October we were thrilled to have Kathy Gee as guest poet.  A thoroughly enjoyable reading from Kathy’s V Press collection, Book of Bones … and other poems.  Again, a strong open mic topped off a smashing night of poetry.


September’s Poetry Café – Refreshed in Cheltenham welcomed guest poet Deborah Harvey who gave us an unforgettable evening of powerful poetry.   A strong open mic was represented by David Clarke,  Michael Newman, Peter Wyton, Jennie Farley, David Ashbee, Belinda Rimmer, Sam Loveless, Gill Wyatt, Stephen Daniels, Chris Hemingway, Flash and hosts Roger Turner and Sharon Larkin.  We were delighted to welcome poets from Bristol and Swindon to Poetry Café – Refreshed, and looked forward to guest poets from Worcestershire during October and November.slide1On 10 August 2016, Poetry Café – Refreshed celebrated its first birthday. We were delighted to welcome Patrick Osada, who is on the management board of South magazine, as the guest poet on this special occasion.

We’ve been enjoying some superb poetry. Over the past year, we’ve had a succession of exciting guest poets come to read and perform for us:

  • John Alwyine-Mosely – August 2015
  • Tom Sastry – September 2015
  • Nina Lewis – October 2015
  • Avril Staple – November 2015
  • Brenda Reid-Brown – December 2015
  • David Clarke – January 2016
  • Sue Johnson, Bob Woodroofe and Joy Thomas – February 2016
  • Paul Harris – March 2016
  • Matt Duggan – April 2016
  • Rachael Clyne – May 2016
  • Lesley Ingram – June 2016
  • Ben Banyard – July 2016
  • Patrick Osada – August 2016

… and the quality of the poetry from the open mic poets has been high too!

At the ‘anniversary edition’ of Poetry Cafe – Refreshed  on 10 August 2016, at the open mic we had:  David Ashbee, David Clarke, Miki Byrne, Annie Ellis, Jennie Farley, Robin Gilbert, Sharon Larkin, Michael Newman, Stuart Nunn, Belinda Rimmer, Roger Turner, Gill Wyatt.

We’ve had many more poets join us at the open mic over the past year, including Kathy Gee, Sarah Bryson, Polly Stretton, Judi Marsh, Holly McGill, Anna Saunders, Howard Timms, Marilyn Timms, Kev Alway, Courtney Hulbert, Briony Smith, Chris Hemingway, Aled Thomas, Gill Garrett, Elizabeth Chanter, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, Samantha Pearse … and on one memorable occasion Dom Joly.

Smokey Joes – a relaxed, informal atmosphere

We look forward to the next year of Refreshed.  Guest poets for the next three months are:

  • 21 September 2016 – Deborah Harvey
  • 19 October 2016 – Kathy Gee
  • 16 November 2016 – Claire Walker

Please make a note of 16 November and 14 December, the last two Poetry Café – Refreshed events for 2016 … and we already have a number of exciting guest poets lined up for 2017!


Happy birthday, Refreshed!

Coming up with the Words

On 10 August 2016, Poetry Café – Refreshed celebrated its first birthday. We were delighted to welcome Patrick Osada, who is on the management board of South magazine, as the guest poet on this special occasion.

Poetry Café – Refreshed, a monthly event, organized by Sharon Larkin (yours truly) and hosted by Roger Turner, is held in the unique surroundings of Smokey Joes in Bennington St, Cheltenham – a unique café with an informal and relaxed atmosphere, an American diner-inspired décor given a British twist … and offering an irresistible menu

Smokey Joes – a relaxed, informal atmosphere

We’ve been enjoying some superb poetry. Over the past year, we’ve had a succession of exciting guest poets come to read and perform for us:

  • John Alwyine-Mosely – August 2015
  • Tom Sastry – September 2015
  • Nina Lewis – October 2015
  • Avril Staple – November 2015
  • Brenda Reid-Brown – December…

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