Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Swarthmoor Hall, poets in sunlight and woodsmoke


The Body Parts Poetry Course with Penelope Shuttle and me at  Swarthmoor Hall went very well. Ten people were on the course with a reserve list of six – great! The group gelled quickly and settled into writing some strong poetry. Looking forward to reading it in September. We already have seven booked on our next poetry course at Brantwood June 19th-21st 2015. There’s space for five more…. come and join us!  Brantwood

Penelope stayed with Geoff, Roy-dog and me from the Wednesday before the course started until the the following Thursday - with a night or two at the Hall, to wake among gardens, small maze and the meadow. It was just lovely to show her our stomping ground of the peaceful Furness Peninsula.

She and I have read together many times in Cornwall, north Cumbria and North America – but never co-tutored.  It was a joy to share time with such a professional and dear person. Penny read as guest poet for Poem and a Pint on a clear sunny evening at the Malt Kiln Bardsea. She and I read on Tuesday in the Great Hall at Swarthmoor, among and in the spirit of Fox Fell and Quakerism - very special place and great acoustics!

across the Duddon Sands, from Roanhead

As well as exploring Roanhead a wonderful sand-duney beach on the north side of the peninsula, looking across the Duddon Sands to Black Combe, Sca Fell and Conisont Fells, we rambled our thoughts and meandering ideas around Birkrigg, Roa Island, Furness Abbey, Conishead Priory and Swarthmoor Hall, gathering shells, stones, photos, memories and joy. Penny’s friend Lyn Moir stayed with us on Thursday through to Sunday; she, Penny and I drove to Brantwood.

Cedrar of Lebanon magnificent ecosystem, Conishead Priory 

A glorious day with the gardens lake and fells shining in warmth and summer beauty. The Gondola steamed gently into view at the stone jetty where I swim when I’m tutoring on Brantwood courses and the gardens were ablaze of gentle hazed colors.

There’s a lot going this summer. It kicked off in April with visitors from America Susan Deercloud and John staying a week or so, enjoying the Dales, lambing and poetry at my friend’s farm near Kirkby Lonsdale, where my monthly writing group meet and a poetry gig ‘The Quiet Compere’ in Kendal with Sarah L. Dixon.

'And the jazz is the jazz is the jazz' New York twins with the North West

May was a slight island of lull and taking breath. June is packed! Next to arrive this week is New York firecracker and Beat poet George Wallace. He and I are co-tutoring at Brantwood on the Midsummer Poetry Course 20th-22nd June. This is followed by a talk and reading on Wednesday 25th June at Swarthmoor Hall, ‘Fox, Fell and Whitman’ 6.30pm refreshments, then 7pm-8.30pm info here: Swarthmoor Hall

GW is the headline act at Worktown organised by Scott Devon, Dave Morgan and Paul Blackburn, in Bolton on 26th June – workshop at 2pm then a reading at 7.30pm details on my blog Salt Road

Ahhhh! Breathing space!

Until June 28th when it’s back to the dales and lambs, cows among daisies and a breeze on the uplands – also possibly rain! With those ‘crazy English women, out in the wet and the splashings, the mud-puddle-hopping and laughing!

Whiz back home for a quick change and book gathering and it’s off to the Brewery Arts Kendal where George is guest poet at Verbalise, hosted by that lady m/c with the mostest, Ann Wilson.

While GW is winging his westwards to JFK and home I’ll be at Swarthmoor Hall on the second of my ‘Living Words’ writing workshops. This one is themed around Fire, associated myth, memories, seasons and symbols. Join us at 2pm-5pm for writing and afternoon tea, inside if it’s raining, outside if it’s sunny.

July is a whole new ball game, blog for this will follow once we’re back from the States, where I’m giving workshops and readings in New York City, Long Island, Albany, the Catskills and Woodstock, including Walt Whitman Birthplace  'Stimulate your Writing' creative writing workshop with Geraldine Green. Oh yeah!

Sunday, 15 June 2014


‘STIMULATE YOUR WRITING’ - June 20th-22nd 2014, Residential Poetry Course with Geraldine Green and George Wallace, Brantwood Coniston Cumbria, UK

The beautiful grounds and gardens of Brantwood with Coniston Water, the Old Man and Dow Crag across the lake, the light and airy classroom next to Ruskin’s Studio all provide a relaxing and inspirational setting in which to write and reflect.

Through a variety of writing exercises and stimuli this poetry course allows time and space for the imagination to explore, invent and roam. As well as producing new work we will also spend time on feedback and editing.

20th June - 22nd June 2014
Geraldine Green and George Wallace

Stimulate your writing through writing exercises based on re-discovering and using your imaginative skills. Imagination-based poetry moves away from the traditional approach to writing poetry and, through dreams, the unconscious and surrealism allows the writer to create space for the imagination to explore, invent and roam. The course consists of a series of writing prompts and a variety of stimuli to encourage you to play with language, produce new writing and share it in a safe environment. As well as producing new work we will also spend time on feedback and editing and host a poetry reading for course participants and tutors on Saturday evening.

Please note: some sessions take place outdoors in the beautiful gardens and grounds of John Ruskin’s home, Brantwood, so please bring waterproof clothing and suitable footwear. The course begins at 2pm on Friday June 20th and finishes at 2pm on Sunday June 22nd


FRIDAY 20th June- 1pm at The Lodge: Welcome to Brantwood!

1pm – Geraldine, George and Rachel to meet participants at The Lodge for refreshments. Anyone arriving before 1pm is welcome to look round Brantwood, its house and gardens. Maps of the grounds are available please ask at Reception.

1.45pm – Meet in The Schoolroom, Brantwood, situated next to The Studio (signposted) for Welcome and Introduction to the Course. George and Geraldine to explain the timetable for the weekend.

Fire exits shown by green arrows. Toilets can be found next to the Schoolroom and also by the Linton Room, situated between the Lodge and Main House.

2-3.15pm – Introduction and Welcome - Importance of Play in Poetry sharing of poems, group discussion

3.15 – 3.30pm: Break for coffee/tea

3.30-5pm – Writing exercises

5-7pm – Free time to enjoy the grounds and/or rest

7pm - Gather at The Lodge

7.30pm – Dinner in Jumping Jenny’s Restaurant situated close to the Lodge

SATURDAY 21st June – Meet in The Schoolroom

9.30-11am – workshop exercises using a variety of stimuli to produce new writing

11-11.15am – Break

11.15am – 12.30pm – close reading of a poem, handouts provided

12.30-1.30pm – LUNCH at JUMPING JENNY’S Restaurant

1.30-3.15pm - Outdoor writing session/reflective walk.

3.15-3.30pm – Break, tea/coffee in The Schoolroom

3.30-5pm - Time to write up a poem produced from the writing exercises

5-6.30pm – Free time

6.30-7.15pm – Evening Reading by Geraldine, George and the Group at The Lodge

7.30pm – Buffet meal in The Lodge

SUNDAY 22nd June

10-11.30am – Writing exercises, plus one to one tutorials

11.30-11.45am – Break

11.45-1pm - Participants to share their poem written during the outdoor writing session. 

1pm – light lunch at JJ’s and Depart

Please note: the Group is welcome to look round the House and Grounds over the weekend. Thank you and welcome!

£225 per person, lunch, evening meal and refreshments are provided.
Pre-booking is essential. Residential or non-residential options available.

Accommodation costs: £50 single occupancy room, £35 shared. The Lodge sleeps nine people in two twin-bedded rooms, two double-bedded rooms and one single. Accommodation is also available at a variety of Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and the YHA in Coniston Village.

Tel: 015394 41396 Email:
Info on the tutors can be found here:

Saturday, 14 June 2014



June 29th “Fire in the Tongue”
Exploring the symbolism of fire, its representation of creativity and passion and its association with Summer, new work will be written that draws on fire’s potency, its connections to hearth and home.

September 14th  “Touch the Earth”
Autumn, a time of ‘mellow fruitfulness’, a time to harvest words, gather our thoughts and shape them into form, whether poetry or prose. This workshop draws on the power of fruits and trees.

November 16th “Healing Well”
Winter, a time of floods and snow, of fogs and ice. A time to hibernate, sleep, restore our energies and dream. This workshop explores the power of dreams, the importance of water and its association with healing and intuition.

All welcome. No previous creative writing experience necessary. Workshops take place on Sunday afternoons, 2pm-5pm

how to book

Telephone: 01229 583204

Swarthmoor Hall
Swarthmoor Hall Lane
LA12 0JQ

MARCH 2014
A WING AND A PRAYER - back in from a chill-windy walk down past Dragley Beck, where I saw a dipper scoot upstream the other week, down the Rope Walk - where once I spotted a water vole, and on to Canal Foot, looking out for kingfishers. Thinking of the times I've rescued, or held, birds: the lapwing when I was a child, a curlew I climbed an ash tree in wellies and duffle coat to rescue, it had become entangled in fisherman's twine, or the herring gull I carried for over a mile from West Kirkby beach to Hilbre island, to the bird sanctuary there - herring gulls I learned, are heavy birds! And face to face with fierce yellow eyes and nose to beak with its curved sharpness was quite an experience!

All the while I was walking my mind settled into a rhythm: planning ahead for my first 'Living Words' writing workshop on March 23rd, titled 'A Wing and a Prayer'. Listening to Canada geese barking like dogs in the still flooded fields next to the canal, and the wings of last year's cygnets beating the air before they landed on the canal in an almighty swooooosh!

The four workshops are themed around seasons and elements and the myth that surround them. The first is air: 'breath' new life and spring, returns, departures. The gasp of a new born; sigh and rattle as we pass from this 'mortal coil'

Possible poems and prose pieces spring to mind: an extract from 'Sand County Almanac' Aldo Leopold, 'The Sleeping Lord' David Jones, 'Wild Geese' Mary Oliver - not everyone in the world has read it! - a wide choice of poems from the Grey Hen Press anthology 'No Space but their Own', and where oh where has my 'Women in Praise of the Sacred'  Jane Hirshfield  gone!?. It's a very rich field to choose from and one of the delights in planning a workshop is reading, researching, selecting and shaping, and of course, sharing.

March 23rd “A Wing and a Prayer”
This workshop will focus on the symbolism of Spring, new breath, new life and a re-birth of land and spirit. New writing created will celebrate air and the return home of migratory birds.

Come and join us: Sunday March 23rd 2pm-5pm, Swarthmoor Hall, Ulverston, £10 includes afternoon tea.

Sunday 23 March, Sunday 29 June, Sunday 14 September, Sunday 16 November

The workshops will explore what is meant by spirituality and how by re-connecting with the earth this may help to re-ignite our sense of the sacred. New writing will be produced in response to a variety of stimuli and writing exercises, and group feedback provided. The writing will be published as a small anthology entitled: 'Living Words' together with a pamphlet of Geraldine’s own work in response to her post as writer-in-residence, 'A Wing and a Prayer'.

All are welcome. No previous creative writing experience is necessary. Participants can come to one or more or all of the workshops in the series.

how to book

Telephone: 01229 583204

Swarthmoor Hall
Swarthmoor Hall Lane
LA12 0JQ

For all residential courses and events not in the Woodbrooke at Swarthmoor Hall programme please complete our blue booking form (either as an electronic copy or printed document) and send it to the General Assistant, at Swarthmoor Hall.

photo: Swan on Ulverston Canal, by Geraldine Green