Wednesday 22 March 2017

The Natural World - a Poetry Event for UNESCO World Poetry Day 2017

Fin whale jaw at Clachtoll in Assynt, Scotland

We marked UNESCO World Poetry Day last night with a reading event at the University of Suffolk, attended by students and local (and not-so-local) poets. Suffolk Poetry Society hosted the evening, and our guest readers were members of Poetrywivenhoe. Huge thanks are due to those who organised the event, providing refreshments, amplification and so much more.

Our theme, 'the natural world', produced poems on edgelands, coastlines (including a magical depiction of the essence of low tide from Pam Job) - and wildlife along railway tracks. There were seasonal references and a few slant-allusions to climate change and conservation initiatives. Subjects ranged from a female eel-catcher (Alex Toms) to a view from the train of the iconic swans at Manningtree (David).

I bought a copy of Ornith-ology from the book table. This beautiful anthology of birds in poetry and art was edited by Tim Cunningham for Poetrywivenhoe and the Mosaic stanza. M.W. Bewick, one of the Wivenhoe readers, brought copies of three Dunlin Press books, including his striking poetry collection, Scarecrow, which has just been launched.  

I read a couple of my poems, 'Moonshine', about the appearance of a Snowy Owl in Cornwall in 2009, and 'Notes from a Netting Station' about the fin whale bone in the photo above that lies, rotting, in the north of Scotland, near the old salmon netting station at Clachtoll in Assynt.

Poetry gatherings often find their own organic themes when no theme is proffered, but I felt the subject last night provided a sufficiently wide canvas to allow plenty of scope for interpretation, while, at the same time, making us feel we were travelling together on a journey of discovery.

'Nature is ever at work...' John Muir

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Celebrating UNESCO World Poetry Day

'we share in Basil Brown's suspense...'
words from: Shepherd’s Hut, Sutton Hoo (C.G.)

Our friends at NT Sutton Hoo, guarding the mounds

...and here in Suffolk we are celebrating with an event at the university. Writers from Poetry Wivenhoe will be joining us and presenting their poems on 'the natural world' in the first half. David will be giving a welcome at the start. Do come and join us if you are within range.

The East Anglian Daily Times/Eastern Daily Press ran a poetry supplement on Saturday to mark this auspicious day. My Sutton Hoo sonnet was included alongside poems about Norfolk and Suffolk by poets 'old' (Wordsworth, Crabbe...) and 'new'.