This Saturday I am running a poetry workshop in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, a gloriously tiny but beautiful town that boasts an excellent bookshop run by the enterprising Anna Dreda, who has put this first ever Much Wenlock Poetry Festival into action.
My workshop will be in the Pinefield Community rooms, from 2pm -4pm on Sat April 10th, and my subject for inspiration is Shoes, remarkably iconic items.
Other poets taking part in the festival include our Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, Daljit Nagra, Paul Henry, Roz Goddard, Roger McGough, Menna Elfyn, Imtiaz Dharker, Sally Richards and Gladys Mary Coles. Apologies to anyone I've missed.
Plus singer Polly Bolton is giving a live performance of her settings of Housman's "A Shropshire Lad".
Polly runs the Oak Barn Workshops and offers a good programme of singing workshops throughout the year. I will be taking an active role soon on one of Polly's weekends, a song writing weekend in early May on which I am the facilitator for words and short poems which can be turned into a cappella song. Polly Bolton, Gitika Partington and Sue Harris will be the musicians who will do the rest!
But as well as the above I also have the good news that I won a runner-up place in this year's East Riding Open Poetry Competition, judged by Jacob Polley. The awards event will take place on June 12th, as part of the Bridlington Poetry Festival and I hope to be there to read my poem, Snowdrops. It is already displayed on the Bridlington Poetry festival website.
The poem is one of a group of - very unflattering - poems about snowdrops. I seem to have it in for the poor snowdrop since a friend who absolutely loved them took her own life.
But I'm sure that one day I'll be celebrating them again. Although I have to say there is something fascinatingly sinister about them. Another friend, also a passionate galanthophile, told me that snowdrops produce a substance in their leaves that protects them from bitter temperatures and frost, rather like the antifreeze we put in our cars, and that's why they can flower in the depths of winter.
Nature is always a source of surprise....