Society History

On the 5th February 1976, four local poets held a meeting in Dawley Bank in the County of Shropshire with the intention of founding a poetry society. All four placed £2 on the table and formed themselves into a committee. As the common name for Shropshire at that time was Salop ( the old Roman name), the society was named ‘The Salopian Poetry Society’.

It was decided to advertise for local people with an interest in poetry to join the Society in order for their poetry to be published in a poetry magazine. A name for the magazine was considered and the first suggestion - SALOP-POET - or Salopoet - was rejected as it did not ‘trip easily off the tongue’, so the strange name ‘Salopeot’ was coined and so it still remains. The annual subscription, for which members would receive four quarterly magazines, was set at £2-00.

The first copy of Salopeot, a magazine of 28 stapled pages, appeared in June 1976, by which time Society membership was sixteen. Current magazines average 75 pages of members' poems and four pages of 'Snippets', (excerpts from letters to the editor, commenting on poems in the previous issue of Salopeot.) Current membership is around 150 and we have members living in all corners of the UK and abroad.

In 1976 the poems were typed on a stencil, duplicated on a Gestetner at the Dawley Information Centre and stapled together on the kitchen table of our then Chairlady Violet Yapp’s home in Lawley Bank.

The first Annual Open Poetry Competition was held during the first year and attracted 92 entries, by which time membership reached 31. A competition for members only was also held.

As membership numbers increased and more poems became available for each magazine, a panel of four society officers was formed, known as the poetry panel. Four ring-binders, each containing a number of plastic files, were used to keep all poems submitted by members, each member having his own file. The panel members received a different binder each quarter from which they chose poems for the next magazine. The poems were then handed to the Poetry Panel Secretary (now known as the Magazine Editor), for collation into a suitable sequence for the magazine. This method is still used today as it helps to ensure that no bias creeps in and all members are given equal prominence in the magazines.

As the Society grew and technology moved on, stencils, ink duplicators, staples and the kitchen table were replaced by computers and professional printing. The ethos remains unchanged however and the present committee of four members have between them given around 100 years of voluntary service to the Society.

We are a non-profit making society as all surplus funds are ploughed back into the society, keeping the annual membership fee as low as possible.

New members are always welcome - see 'How To Join'.

Both the editor and membership secretary can be contacted on 01952 587487.

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