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Read Regional Poetry

December 7, 2012

Read Regional is a New Writing North initiative which sources books written by Northern writers. I recently visited my local library and checked out the five poetry pamphlets in this year’s Read Regional portfolio: Armour by Christy Ducker, Arguing with Malarchy by Carola Luther, From Here to Timbuktu by Pauline Plummer, The Unmothering Class by Anne Ryland and The Heart of It by Seni Seneviratne.

While I noticed that ‘frost’ and couplet structures were a common thread in all these pamphlets, I would like to recommend that you take a look at Pauline Plummer’s From Here to Timbuktu (Smokestack, 2012) if you are looking for a poetry pamphlet to read this weekend.

The pamphlet is an epic poem written in Chaucer’s rime royal. Like Chaucer’s pilgrims, the characters in the narrative are on the road – not to Canterbury but the more exotic location of Timbuktu. The vocabulary is as exotic as the location. The musicality produced by the rhythms and rhyme scheme so powerful as to impel one to read it aloud. I found myself walking around the house reciting different verses for the sheer pleasure of hearing the musical effect. My favourite verse is the mix-up with the suitcase on page 24, a scene which appealed to my imagination.

While the tone of the story is humourous, the poem has a serious message to deliver about the impact of Western lifestyles on poorer countries. So, if you are not planning on a trip out this weekend, you could stay in and follow the antics of a group of tourists on an adventure holiday trail and enjoy poetry written to its own musical background.

The Read Regional campaign is supported by bookshops, festivals and twenty three libraries throughout the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside. Details of readings and other promotional events can be found at www.readregional.com/events.

What are you reading this weekend?

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