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!

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