Back in 1995 when I fell off a horse called Pandora and broke my back, I spent a long time in hospital and then recovering at home. Julia Darling, no stranger to illness and hospitals herself, wrote me a poem about the art of convalescence, later illustrated by Birtley Aris. It’s one of my favourite mementoes of our long friendship.
Poetry is one of the best medicines – for all manner of predicaments – especially when all else fails. Ten years after Julia’s death, there are currently lots of opportunities to celebrate her life and remember her fantastic energy and unique contribution to writing in the North East, and beyond.
On Friday evening (29th May), there will be a reading at the Great North Museum to commemorate The Poetry Cure, an anthology of health-related poems Julia edited with Cynthia Fuller. The wonderful image on the cover is a painting by one of Julia’s collaborators, Emma Holliday. Some new poems have been commissioned in the spirit of that book and a selection of Julia’s own work will also be read. The event’s sold out but it’s being live streamed (6 – 8pm BST). You can find the link here.
Various other exciting events are taking place and updates are available at a beautiful new website, designed specially for the occasion.