Tag Archives: Poetry Society

Tune In

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A couple of sound pieces are now available online…

Just back from the lovely Ledbury Poetry Festival, where, as well as hearing some fantastic readings (Sharon Olds, Sujata Bhatt, Anne Micheals, Brenda Hillman, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Maggie Sawkins, Glyn Maxwell and Robert Hass), I took part in two events. One for the Poetry Society was a showcase of this year’s National Poetry Competition winners and I read alongside Josephine Abbott and Elaine Gaston. Ed Doegar asked us about writing ‘winning poems’ and there were questions from the floor.

You can hear a podcast I recorded with Mike Sims last month at the Poetry Society here.

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The other event at Ledbury was called Moon & Meadow – with sound recordist Chris Watson. We revisited our 2008 collaboration The Moon & Flowers, as well as creating a new piece from a recent sequence, set closer to home but also charting the cycle of the seasons, called Stone Meadow. The mono recording is rather plain compared with Chris’s audio wizardry where the songs of birds and gentle sounds of weather rippled through the packed Baptist Church on a balmy summer evening. Later we watched a plump pale orange moon rise in the sky above the town.

You can listen to Moon & Meadow here.

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Muse and Meadow

IMG_7899 Even if not here, Spring is always happening somewhere.  This weekend I tracked it down in London, galloping ahead of us like a runaway horse. At the Poetry Society’s gathering for the Ted Hughes Award and the National Poetry Competition, I was delighted to receive First Prize for my poem Bernard and Cerinthe, which began life among the gorgeous blooms in my friend Susie’s garden. Garden of verses … Honeywort or Cerinthe major Purpurascens – one of the romantic leads in

Cerinthe is a stunner, also known as honeywort or wax flower.  I intend to try and grow some in my garden this summer.  If this fog lifts and the soil warms up.

IMG_7893 It also gave me an excuse to visit the lovely Garden Museum and see their exhibition on Fashion and Gardens. Lots of fascinating connections – fabrics, prints and paintings, as well as several mannequins dressed to kill in garden-inspired outfits.   The highlight, almost literally, was Rebecca Louise Law’s installation, The Flower Garden Display’d, named after the 1734 book, a month by month directory of flowers, by Robert Furber, on loan from the British Library.

IMG_7922Standing beneath it, the world was turned upside down – ceiling became meadow and, as the flowers were drying and dying, marriage bed became winding sheet.   It seemed more Elizabethan than eighteenth century somehow – redolent of strewing herbs and embroidered bodices, Shakespeare sonnets.  In the vaulted ceiling of the converted church, catching the light from the arched and stained glass windows, it was sublime – sacred and secular. To walk beneath it was to cross the threshold into whatever April might bring.

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