Monday, 14 August 2017

2017: OCTOBER WRITERS' RETREAT: with Graham Mort and Geraldine Green, 2nd-5th October 2017, Brantwood Coniston Cumbria

View from Monk Coniston, photo by Geraldine Green (copyright)

*Note* Graham Mort will be reading from his new collection, 'Black Shiver Moss' on August 25th,  Waterstones Lancaster

October Writers' Retreat with Co-tutors Graham Mort and Geraldine Green, Brantwood Coniston, Cumbria, Monday-Thursday October 2nd-5th 2017

Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria, former home of John Ruskin is the perfect place whether you have a writing project you’re working on or just need time and space away from the busyness of life to step back and gain some inspiration and quietly reflect.  

The tranquil grounds and gardens of Brantwood, stunning views across Coniston Water to the Old Man and Dow Crag, log fires, wonderful food all provide the ideal writers retreat. There will be time for solitude and also the company and conversation of other writers. 

Co-tutor Graham Mort will give a reading with Geraldine on Tuesday evening. You’re all welcome to share a poem or two, as well on Wednesday evening when the Group give a reading to the tutors.

Mentoring - The Retreat also gives you an opportunity for one-to-one mentoring plus informal discussions with the tutors. 

Course fee: £270 
This includes evening meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Residential and non-residential options are available. The Lodge at Brantwood accommodates nine people in four double or twin-bedded rooms and one single. There are also local farmhouse Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and the YHA in 
and around Coniston village.

Residential option:
The Lodge at Brantwood has been newly refurbished to provide accommodation for those attending our courses. It sleeps up to 9 people in 2 double rooms, 2 twin rooms and a single room, located on the ground and upper floors, with a shared kitchen/diner and living room, 1 bathroom, 2 shower rooms and a separate toilet. The Lodge enjoys wonderful views across Coniston Water to the fells. A self-service breakfast is provided in the Lodge as part of the rate.

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation in the Lodge at Brantwood:
BandB accommodation is available for those participating in Brantwood's courses. Staying at Brantwood is one of the delights of studying here, spending time in good company and immersing yourself in the whole experience. Brantwood Lodge has been newly refurbished and will sleep up to 9 people, with 2 twin rooms, 2 double rooms and a single room. 

The Lodge enjoys wonderful views across Coniston Water. There is a communal kitchen/diner/living room with a wood burning stove. 

The BandB rate is £50 per person per room/£35 per person shared occupancy/£35 per night single room. Breakfast is provided in the kitchen for guests to help themselves to cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt. Accommodation can also be booked for partners in double/twin rooms at the same BandB rate. The Coachman's Quarters, situated above the cafe, is also available if required.

Booking through Brantwood
Pre-booking is essential. Tel: 015394 41396 

Information on the tutors can be found here:

Graham Mort
and on wikipedia

Some sessions take place outdoors - please bring suitable footwear and clothing

Writers' Retreat: The Lodge, Brantwood, October Course 2015

October Writers' Retreat with Graham Mort and Geraldine Green, 2nd-5th October 2017 Brantwood Coniston Cumbria

Course Outline:

Monday 2nd October 2017

1pm - Gather at The Lodge for refreshments, Geraldine, Graham and Rachel will be there to meet you and show you your rooms.

1.45pm - Meet in The Schoolroom in the Main House where writing workshops will take place. 

This is accessed by steps close the front door of the main house, through the Studio and into the Schoolroom. Please ask at Reception, staff will be available to give you directions.

2pm - The Schoolroom: Welcome and Introduction with Graham and Geraldine. Ask names and also which genres they write in.

2.15pm - 3pm – In the Schoolroom: Graham to lead with writing stimuli

3pm-3.15pm - Break

3.15pm-4pm In the Schoolroom: Geraldine to continue with further writing stimuli 

4pm-5pm – in the Schoolroom: quiet writing time, followed by readback/feedback on ONE piece of writing produced during this session.

5pm-6pm - Free time. 

6.15pm Meet in The Lodge, evening meal in Brantwood Cafe

Tuesday 3rd October

9.30am – 10.45am - writing stimuli in The Schoolroom provided by Geraldine

10.45am-11am - Break

11am -12.15pm - writing stimuli in The Schoolroom provided by Graham

12.15pm-1pm – Readback and feedback of ONE piece of work written during the morning

1-2pm – Lunch in Brantwood Café 

2pm-3.30pm – Meet in The Schoolroom, followed by Outdoor Reflective Walk, writing stimuli given by Graham and Geraldine

3.30pm- 4.15pm  Quiet writing time

4.15pm-5pm – feedback/readback of one piece of writing

5pm-6pm – Free time

6.15pm – Meet in The Lodge, evening meal in Brantwood cafe followed by reading given by Graham and Geraldine

Wednesday 4th October
9.30am-11am – Meet in The Schoolroom, writing stimuli provided by Graham

11am-11.15am - Break

11.15am-12.30pm – writing stimuli provided by  Geraldine

12.30pm-1.30 pm - Lunch

1.30pm-5pm - Free writing and reflective time. Participants are welcome to explore the house and gardens (Free to participants). One to one tutorials will be available between 2pm and 4pm.

2pm-4pm – Parallel one to one tutorials with Geraldine and Graham in The Schoolroom, 15 minutes slots. Please put your name down on the sheet provided. This will be left for you in the Schoolroom kitchen. Further one to ones available during Thursday morning session.

4pm-5pm – Quiet writing time

5pm-6pm – Free time

6.15pm – Meet in the Schoolroom, followed by evening meal in Brantwood cafe followed by Group reading (up to 5 minutes each)

 Thursday 5th October
10am-11.30am - One to one tutorials with Graham and Geraldine, 15 minute slots: Graham 10am-10.45am; Geraldine 11am-11.45am
Additionally, there will be time for close readings of writing produced during the course, or you may wish to share writing from a current project.

Break 10.45am-11am

11.45am-12.45pm - Group readback and feedback, complete Feedback Forms.

1pm-2pm Lunch in Brantwood Café and depart.

Note; Course participants are welcome to explore the House and Grounds during their free time. Brantwood Main House closes at 5pm. The grounds are open 24 hours.

View from Brantwood October Writers Retreat 2015, photo by Geraldine Green

Sunday, 13 August 2017


Come and join us! and write with us on the farm. A wonderful upland farm set between the Lakes and the Dales 10.30AM-4.30PM £35 incl. refreshments. Please bring own lunch, waterproof footwear and clothing as part of the afternoon session takes place outside.

All welcome!

2017 Autumn/Winter dates:

Saturdays, 10.30am-4.30pm

September 16th
October 21st
November 25th

2017 Spring-Summer Dates:

25th Feb - poetry and music: morning session with Christine and her harp
18th March - on the farm
22nd April - with co-tutor Catherine Ayres
20th May- Briggflatts, Sedbergh meet at Jane's Farm, 10am, car share to Briggflatts, return to Jane's for quiet writing time, read back/feedback
24th June -  "Write in the present, unearthing the past" - meet at Jane's 10.15am, followed by short ride, car sharing, to a mini archeological dig

You can read more about the Write on the Farm workshops on my previous blogs, as well as on Christine Cochrane's blog 'Harping On'. I'm delighted that Christine will be co-tutoring a poetry and harp session with me at the farm in February 2017.

photos: copyright Geraldine Green 17.9.2016

Saturday, 12 August 2017


November 2nd, 2017: Come and join me, Graham Mort, Kerry Darbishire and Kim Moore, November 2nd at Brantwood Coniston Cumbria!

An evening of poetry, pie and pea supper and an open mic... what could be better!

7pm Supper

8pm - Geraldine, Graham Kerry and Kim 10-12 minutes each

845pm-9pm - short break

9pm-930pm 6 x 5 mins. open mic

November 2nd 2017 - put the date in your diary!

Further information and booking through Brantwood
Tel: 015394 41396 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Bird Survey, North Walney Nature Reserve, 27.4.2017

Black Combe in the distance

The air was full of warblers, or so it seemed to me.Not that I could tell one warbler from another and relied on Jenny of Wilde Ecology and my co-volunteer Phil, to identify what was what in the warbler world. In a day gorse-filled and yellow, in a blustery wind that always seems to blow in from the west on Walney, we made our way through dune paths to salt marshes in the north of the island.

Salt Marsh, looking towards the Scafells

Willow warbler, sedge warbler, reed buntings, bullfinches, grasshopper warbler, larks, couple of oyster catchers, pair of greylags, goldfinches, one curlew, one lapwing displaying, toss in a robin, seven little egrets and there you have it... I was enchanted, listening to the warblers among the gorse. 


Down on the salt marshes, with views up and out to the Duddon estuary, Kirkby Moors, Scafell range and Black Combe. Closer to hand, slag banks, remains of the old iron ore industry that put Barrow and its shipbuilding on the map.

It's that odd, uneasy (to me) juxtaposition of wildlife, in and out flow of tides, mud banks, quicksands, slag banks, the long industrial road into Barrow on the A590, and close to, a healthy looking dog fox quartering the edge of the salt marshes for voles, frogs, mice...

... it was hunting in and around the goat willows and brambles that separate/join dunes and marsh. We could see it easily with the naked eye. With binocs it was magnificent! Its rich red brown fur stood out against the fresh green.

Grey willow

The high pee-wit of lapwing called us to attention, in its display flight, swoops and dives. Acrobatting air. Perhaps the Arctic wind and chill has delayed the displaying and egg-laying of birds... so we'll go again to the wild reserve that sits between channel, slag banks and the Irish Sea.

Geraldine Green, 28.4.2017

Bird survey for the Morecambe Bay Partnership, 27.4.2017
Photos: copyright Geraldine Green

Birds noted on map of the Salt Marshes, north to south, north is L x 1, with BTO initialling:

L x 1
GO x 1
LB x 2
CH underlined and circled
ET x 7, at rest, when disturbed arrow pointing northeastwards
WW circled
CU on marsh to right
R circled
WW circled
GO x 2 circled, arrow pointing westwards
RW circled
W circled
L circled

pair of Greylags on quarry pond

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Time and Tide, North Walney Nature Reserve, 4.5.2017

... so, yesterday got onto the path that runs alongside the fence at Walney airport, heard the rustle of a largish animal the other side of the fence. Not a dog, not a fox, it sounded too big for that. Maybe a Roe deer? I've no idea! After that it was onto the salt marshes for the second bird counting day, into a strong north easterly. 

I've got a map of the salt marsh reserve and am learning the initials to put on it when a bird is spotted, L for Lapwing, WW for Willow Warbler, MP Meadow Pipit, ET Little Egret. A circle round the initial means song, underlined means it's calling... it's like learning a new language, almost a found poem... arrows for direction the birds are flying, a kind of starburst round an R indicates an aggressive encounter between two Robins. Saw a fair few Meadow Pipits, pair of Goldfinches,a Lapwing displaying, a Curlew (CU) hunkered down in a mud gully

Couldn't believe it that the Fox we spotted sniffing, quartering here and there near a large willow last week was again seen yesterday, same place, same behaviour, same sudden scenting us. It paused in its actions. Turned and eyeballed us. Its fox-mask-face glowing richredbrown against the newly freshening green of the salt marshed edge lands.

In the distance the A590 a subdued roar. Walney airport. Quiet of planes. Barrow Town Hall and St. Mary's church spire, way way in the distance to the south. To the north the hefty hump of Black Combe, right of that the Scafells, Coniston Old Man, Fairfield.

Walked into the wind right down to the very end of the salt marched reserve, to the gate that leads to the dunes. The sand a dazzling sable, windblown into giant waves. On the way back saw a clock face, lying on the marsh, it'd stopped at 3.55pm. Time and Tide etc. Other oddities that appealed to me: an old wheelie bin, lying on its side, barnacled. Gorse and Heart's Ease sang brightly.

In the field where my niece looks after five horses a Lapwing, Crow and small birds mobbed and dived at a male Sparrowhawk, SH.

Then it was home to tea and flapjacks, to bird-bathing blackbirds, and a walk on Aldingham’s windswept, salt dried sand, "salt road into the bay".

from North to South on the map:
weather: hot, sunny, strong north easterly, not a good day for bird counting

1 x MP
1 x SL (arrow pointing south east) heading south east, blown by the fierce north easterly
1 x L
1 x MP
2 x MP
1 x S
1 x MP
1 x S
1 x ET
1 x S
1 x MP (arrow pointing west)
1 x S (arrow pinting west)
1 x SL
1 x ET
1 x MP
2 x B (arrow pointing west)
1 x WP
1 x Fox by large willow (spotted on last survey, 27.4.2017)
1 x MP arrow pointing north east
1 x CU arrow pointing east
1 x CA arrow pointing south east
1 x RW (circled)
1 x WW
2 x HG
1 x ET
2 x BH

various gulls

Off the reserve:
1 x L displaying
1 x SH hunting, mobbed by Crow, Lapwing, small birds
1 x CH 2 x GO's, underlined (calling)
1 SW singing

Geraldine Green, 5.5.2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017


photo: Cumbria Wildlife Trust

From Cumbria Wildlife Trust's website, here's what CWT Jody Ferguson has to say about it:

"During spring and summer 2016 we enjoyed two lovely days at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve with poet and creative writing tutor Geraldine Green and two fantastic groups of writers. 
We explored meadows and bogs, admired vast landscapes and tiny moths, and talked about everything from lichen to lava.

The writing inspired by these wonderful days on the nature reserve is featured in an anthology called The Raspberry and the Rowan which can be downloaded from the link below.
If you’d like a printed copy please email and they’ll be dispatched hot off the press! Printed anthologies are free of charge but donations to Cumbria Wildlife Trust are welcome."

photo of Blencathra by Geraldine Green

Link here for more info on the Cumbria Wildlife Trust's website

Poets on the Hill, Eycott Volcanics, photo by Geraldine Green

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Geraldine Green, poet, tutor, editor and mentor

* update* Geraldine's third full collection, Passing Through, will be published in 2018 by Indigo Dreams Pubs.

UK poet Geraldine Green former  writer-in-residence at Brantwood Coniston Cumbria home of John Ruskin and also former writer-in-residence of Swarthmoor Hall Ulverston, home of George Fox and Margaret Fell, Geraldine has performed widely in the UK, North America, Italy and Greece. 

She began writing poetry after undertaking a BA Joint Hons. Degree in Imaginative Writing/Literature Life and Thought at Liverpool John Moores University, where she gained a First Class Honours Degree. Fired up by her venture into the academic and creative writing worlds, Geraldine undertook a Research Diploma in Ecopoetics, exploring the influence of the land on the poetry of Emily Bronte.  

On moving back to Cumbria she continued her academic and creative writing through Lancaster University where she was awarded an MA (Distinction) in Creative Writing Poetry in 2005. 

This was followed in 2011 by a PhD in Creative Writing Poetry, also at Lancaster University, titled: "An Exploration of Identity and Environment through Poetry".  As well as a new collection of poetry, Geraldine explored the writing of Wordsworth, Lorca, Levine, Harjo and Ehrlich as well as drawing on the works of new geographers, sociologists, linguistic anthropologists and philosophers. Geraldine was fortunate to undertake her doctoral studies through funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council  AHRC

Here's the Abstract to her Reflective Thesis:


‘The Other Side of the Bridge’

This is a new collection of poems that forms an original contribution to knowledge and 80% of my Ph.D. Themes that have arisen during the writing of this material are: time and place, placement and displacement, inner and outer landscapes and an analysis of my creative process, exploring and questioning my use of free verse, the lyrical ‘I’ and inherited voices. Both collection and thesis are an exploration of identity and environment through the medium of poetry.

Reflective Thesis:

The thesis grew out of a dialogue between the reflective process and the poems and comprises research into the above themes.  Drawing on reading of the works of literary critics such as David Lodge and Terry Eagleton, but also of work by new geographers, sociologists, linguistic anthropologists and philosophers (for example, Doreen Massey, Stuart Hall, Paul du Gay and Noel G. Charlton), the thesis and poems tightened into an ever closer dialogue. It also explores my own creative process, how I write my poetry and why, as well as placing it in a wider context of poets, past and present. (e.g. William Wordsworth, Federico Garcia Lorca, Octavio Paz, Philip Levine, Joy Harjo and Louise Erdrich). Underpinning the thesis and collection are questions of identity, culture and place and of how a poetry collection can be a place in which such questions are explored. It was written to illuminate where my poetry comes from, where it is taking me and what can be discovered from the poetry."

Her work has been widely anthologised in the UK, US and Italy. She’s had four poetry pamphlet collections published through Flarestack Publications, Palores Publications and Swarthmoor Hall Press. Her two full poetry collections titled: The Other Side of the Bridge and Salt Road, were published by Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd. in 2012 and 2013.

Geraldine’s enthusiasm for poetry shines through in her workshops and courses. Says Geraldine “My passion is for sharing poetry as widely as possible, preferably introducing it to people who perhaps normally shy away from it. My feeling is that poetry, indeed all the performing arts, should be grass-roots led, forming a community, a communality if you will, whereby people gain support and encouragement – as well as being entertained and as fired up as I am about it.”

2015 saw her celebrate ten years of poetry tours in North America at readings that included: The Woody Guthrie Festival Okemah Oklahoma, where she and other poets had the honour of having their work accompanied by internationally known musician David Amram.  Geraldine has also performed alongside Beat Poet Michael McClure in Oakland California, at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Long Island, the Bowery Poetry Club New York City and the William Carlos Williams Center, New Jersey. She regularly reads and co-tutors workshops with New York poet George Wallace.

UK events include reading with Jacob Polley at the Wordsworth Trust, George Wallace for Apples and Snakes Cornwall and the Dylan Thomas Centre Swansea, Penelope Shuttle Cornwall and alongside Jerome Rothenberg at a Kurt Schwitters’ Celebration Ambleside. and Saxophonist Jess Gillam Finalist of the BBC's Young Musician of the Year 2016.

An experienced freelance creative writing tutor Geraldine runs regular creative writing residential courses and workshops at a variety of places in the UK, including Brantwood where she is currently writer-in-residence, for Cumbria Wildlife Trust and for The National Trust. She’s also worked with artists and musicians including ARne Richards and Isabel Knowland of the Oxford Concert Party, digital and visual artists and a photographer.

Geraldine has also had the honour of presenting a Paper on Ecopoetics in the Work of John Clare and Aldo Leopold for the South West Texas Popular Culture Committee Albuquerque; given a talk for for Cumbrian's Women Police Officers in Keswick; and presented a Paper at a Conference on the Work of Lawrence Durrell, Corfu

Her new collection, Passing Through, has been accepted for publication by Indigo Dreams in 2018. 

Geraldine recently co-edited an anthology titled Watershed, a collection of poetry and prose from Cumbrian writers written in response to the 2015 December Floods. Proceeds from the sale of anthology and related readings go to The Cumbrian Community Foundation Flood Recovery Appeal.

Former sessional teacher in creative writing at Cumbria University and the University of Lancaster, she is an experienced freelance creative writing tutor, writer, poetry editor and mentor. Geraldine tutors creative writing workshops for Adult Education, Dallam School, Dallam.

You can hear her read her poem as part of the poetry project on the National Trust's wonderful SY Gondola, Coniston Water:

Geraldine is an associate editor of Poetry Bay

This poet takes her place in contemporary poetry with work that shines with joy in and respect for language.  The vitality of life’s many experiences are evoked here with all the senses. - Penelope Shuttle

You can read four prose poems from her third full collection Passing Through which will be published in 2018 by Indigo Dreams: Passing through

and from Salt Road published by Indigo Dreams, here:

Review of Geraldine's poetry by Penelope Shuttle:

Geraldine Green’s passion for and knowledge of the natural world and its spiritual energies has its roots and takes its cue from home ground, her native Cumbria.  She has noted her ‘long and deep connection’ with Cumbria. She draws inspiration from light over water, tidal energy, the intent of the land combined with rich tellings of family and local memory.  But her poems and prose-poems also travel the roads and the seas:  from Cumbria to Kansas, New Mexico, Spain, Greece, New York, Skye and Turkey.  

This poet takes her place in contemporary poetry with work that shines with joy in and respect for language.  The vitality of life’s many experiences are evoked here with all the senses.

Penelope Shuttle

and by Graham Mort:

"Geraldine Green’s poems are alert to landscape, seasons, rootedness that draws from deep aquifers of language, change that flits like cloud shadows across the page. Some seemed light as thistle heads but proved enduringly strong, rich with seed. As I read, I almost expected goldfinches to feed alongside me with their otherworldly attentiveness. But that attentiveness was all hers." - Graham Mort

and Sue Sims, Poetry Space "Landscape and Memory"