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Hall Garth poets summer school

August 11, 2012

Bilsdale village hall  Have just spent what appears to be a very sunny week at Bilsdale village hall, but don’t believe what you see in the photo as a few hours later we had the first of several thunderstorms.  That was the weather pattern of the days spent writing poetry with members of Hall Garth Poetry Group.

Each day was facilitated by Mandy Sutter to whom I am indebted for the inspirational exercises even though I did seem to write about the weird, the wacky and the wonderful.  The piece below was in response to a postcard from ‘The Land of Plenty’.

Dragon fishing in the land of plenty

The brochure was misleading,

not so much as a koi carp in my net,

the birds have taken the bait,

mosquitoes feasted on my neck,

but the fishermen tell me that;

‘Dragons come to she who waits.’

Meanwhile they call me

the Empress of the Lake.

The writing pattern of the days was to spend the morning responding to a variety of creative exercises on the theme of Home and Away.  Afternoons were spent in workshopping, giving and receiving of feedback for which I am grateful to other participants.  Hypothermic Mermaid was written in response to C.J. Allen’s The Colour of Earth:

If I were washed up on a desert island

I would slither out of the sea

like a hypothermic mermaid

in my blue sun dress;

the same one that’s been round the world

with me (or Europe at least)

for the last 20 years;

worn to a backdrop of castles,

palaces, temples, stone circles,

it flutters around my ankles

on windswept hilltops,

giving the impression that

I visited all these sites

in the one day.

Perhaps it’s time for a change

of clothes, countries, continents.
Linen would be just the job

in America, Africa, Australasia,

or a trademark hat a la Indiana.

Keeping up with the Jones’s

is not my style, so I’ll pack

the blue sun dress

for my annual trip,

try a change of scenery.

Do mermaids look good

on alpine ski slopes?

As I said, weird, wacky and wonderful.

On Wednesday afternoon we had a reading from guest writer Adrienne Silcock who introduced us to poems written during two years of travelling and working abroad.  On Thursday it was our turn to hit the stage for a 3 minute slot.  I tested out three poems which I hope to polish up for publication in my forthcoming collection.

This is the first time I’ve attend a poetry summer school but it will not be the last.  The luxury of spending four days thinking, reading, and writing poetry is an experience worth repeating.  If you are interested in joining Hall Garth Poets for next year’s summer school, keep the last week in July free and watch this space for further details.

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