Tuesday, 31 October 2017

"Stepping into Poetry - a Personal Journey"

Tarn Hows 2017 photo copyright Geoff Green

by Dr. Geraldine Green - online article on Poetry Space, ed. Sue Sims

“A single walker, stepping into the procession of language.” Seamus Heaney

When I was a child of three an older brother, in trying to teach me French, Spanish and Greek, introduced me to the pleasure in the sounds of other languages, without understanding meaning. From an early age accents and dialects fascinated me, whether the rough burr of farmers at an Ulverston auction market, or the lilt and fall of family-visiting Irish, Polish, Italian and American relatives in Cleator Moor and Whitehaven, mingling with west Cumbrian dialect and its why-use-two-syllables-when-three-can-make-a-word-into-a-song? For example, to-o-wast, for toast, or dad’s ‘Ista-ga’in tae Gaa-ity tae blaw tha’ nowuz an’ mak’ a scuttle?’ Meaning, ‘Are you going to the Gaiety Picture House in order to blow your nose and make a noise? 

"Column of air inside the chest"The delight in the rhythm of people’s voices is to me something that connects us through, as Robert Pinsky notes, a ‘column of air inside the chest’. 

"A swinger of birches" An intensely remembered childhood moment is of writing my first poem after I had became mesmerised by the wind-swaying branches of two silver birches in Bardsea Wood, feeling that if I let go I would become part of them. Years later I discovered Robert Frost’s poem ‘Birches’ and was struck by the similarity between my experience and how Frost described it in his poem. I, too, became “a swinger of birches.” 

As a child I only dimly understood that it was a seminal moment in my life. What did the experience mean? How could I ‘become part of the birches’? It was an experience that propelled me into wanting to gain an insight into this kind of imaginative encounter. It’s been an itch to be scratched, a mystery to be solved, a ‘something’ I need to address. It’s a lifelong quest and one way I felt it could be understood was through poetry.

Mind you, I always thought you had to be clever to write poetry and go to Oxford or Cambridge University – poetry wasn’t for me! However, after years of working at a variety of office jobs and encouraged by my husband Geoff, I finally plucked up confidence, took the plunge and did a degree titled Imaginative Writing/Literature, Life and Thought thinking ‘well, if I’m useless at poetry, surely I can write an essay!’ To my delight I fell into poetry and came away at the age of 44 with a degree. 

"On the road" That was it. I was Paul on the Road to Damascus! 

Even more so when I went on a life-changing writing course at Ty Newydd, titled ‘Poetry, Healing and Meaning’ co-run by Rose Flint and David Hart, where I discovered that creative writing could be used in a therapeutic way. The light of realisation that yes THIS is what I want to do, use poetry/creative writing to help understand each other and our connections with the world, human and non-human, burns more fiercely than ever.


top Sea Woods Bardsea, photo copyright Geoff Green

Academic achievements: Geraldine Green gained a PhD in Creative Writing Poetry and an MA Creative Writing Poetry (Distinction) through Lancaster University; a BA Joint Hons (First) and a Research Diploma in Ecopoetics at Liverpool John Moores University. 

She is a freelance creative writing tutor, mentor and poetry editor. She was a visiting lecturer at the University of Cumbria and Lancaster University, teaching creative writing to undergraduates and mentoring third years. She tutors creative writing for Dallam Adult Education and has taught online and face to face for Cont. Education through Lancaster University. She was privileged to mentor young African writers online through the Crossing Borders Project established by Prof. Graham Mort through Lancaster University and the british Council. She is editor of Harestone Press associate editor of online magazine Poetry Bay

She has co-tutored with Prof. Graham Mort Penelope Shuttle
Pippa Little and NY writer George Wallace

Her collections are The Skin and Passio Flarestack Publications, Poems of a Mole Catcher’s Daughter Palores Publications and The Other Side of the Bridge by Indigo Dreams. 

Geraldine was a contributor to a book on therapeutic writing titled Writing WorksA Resource Handbook for Therapeutic Writing Workshops and Activities published by Jessica Kingsley. 

Her latest collection, Salt Road was published in summer 2013, also by Indigo Dreams. Her next collection, Passing Through, will be published in 2018 by Indigo Dreams

Geraldine’s poetry has been widely anthologised in the UK, USA and Italy and translated into Greek, German and Romanian. She frequently performs her poetry in the USA.  In 2005 two of her poems ‘Green Lizards’ and ‘Early Morning Prayer’ were highly commended by Judge Penelope Shuttle in the Poetry on the Lake Competition, Orta Italy. 

You can find information on her recent collections here:Indigo Dreams Bookshop

and find out more about her here:

Friday, 6 October 2017

A YEAR IN POETRY: 2016-2017

*Stop Press* my third, full collection Passing Through will be published in 2018 by my publishers Indigo Dreams - thank you Ronnie and Dawn Goodyer!


I thought I’d share with you a recap of the past 12 months, some of the  workshops and courses, readings and gatherings I've been involved in and also anthologies I’ve had the pleasure to edit.


About this time last year, together with two other editors and poet friends, Nick Pemberton and Ann Wilson, we each felt the need to reach out to Cumbrians affected by last winter’s storms. Many of the people affected are still out of their homes, have lost businesses or are struggling in some way to re-build their lives, to tell their stories.

So each of the three of us invited other Cumbrian-based writers to send us a poem or prose piece written in response to Storm Desmond. The result is the anthology WATERSHED published by Harestone Press. So far, through readings workshops, word of mouth, social media, we’ve raised over £1,000, which has been donated to the Cumbrian Community Foundation Flood Recovery Fund.

Here’s a few of the venues where readings to raise money for the Fund took place: Kendal Library, Speak Easy Café Carlisle and Borderlines Festival  also in Carlisle as well as a variety of workshops and readings:


It was a year of a wide variety of projects for me. First off was putting into place what was discussed at a meeting in December 2015 with Brantwood’s Rachel Litten and Howard Hull. As writer-in-residence at Brantwood I was invited to put forward ideas for events to be held there.

I’d heard an interview on BBC Radio Cumbria between Caroline Robertson and Steve Coogan. Steve Coogan had been trapped in the floods and a landslide at Thirlmere during Storm Desmond. During the interview he explained how he’d been trying to get to his cottage at Coniston to check it was ok. He tried all ways to get there but eventually ended up spending the night – eight hours! – trapped in his car round the west side of Thirlmere, in the dark, with his Cockerpoo dog and only fruit and nuts to eat. He said he felt like Bear Grylls only his food was from M and S!

With this in mind I suggested that perhaps Steve Coogan might like to take part in a fund-raising event at Brantwood, to help raise money for the Flood Recovery Fund. I suggested to Howard and Rachel that, as Steve was practically a neighbour of Brantwood and seemed to me a very community-minded person, he might say yes! Anyhow, it was worth a try…

Leave it with us, said Rachel and Howard.

The upshot was a fund-raising evening held in Brantwood café with Steve as guest speaker re-telling his hair-raising experience during the floods. The event was, as you’d imagine!, a sell-out. What a warm-hearted modest person. He started by saying “This isn’t a story of bravery, it’s a story of foolhardiness.” 

He was very supportive and open-hearted sympathetically aware of how the floods had affected people in Cumbria and elsewhere. He said at he end of his talk, “If there’s anything I can do to help, contact politicians, help make your voices heard, then let me know.”  The event took place on March 11th 2016. All in all a great evening with a very funny guy and a down to earth one, too.

fund raising event with Steve Coogan for Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund

At the December 15th meeting we also discussed the idea of combining an evening of poetry and music. Rachel suggested Jess Gillam, who, like me, is from Ulverston. I said yes, sure! Great idea. She’s fab! Jess is a young saxophonist and impresario. She was runner up at the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2016 and is an all round energetic, enthusiastic person who shines on stage.

The evening of music and poetry was held in Brantwood café on April 14th 2016. It was a beautiful event and a joy to perform alongside the wonderful Jess! Geraldine Green Writer-in-Residence Brantwood teams up with Saxophonist Jess Gillam

As well as continuing to tutor creative writing courses at Brantwood, which I’ve done for the last six years, I suggested a poetry evening with open mic to round the year off, so to speak! I invited Cumbrian-based poets Kerry Darbishire and Kim Moore to read alongside me. The evening also included supper at Brantwood’s café. The open mic produced some fine readers. It took place on November 3rd 2016 and was a great success! So much so that we’re repeating it in 2017!

Come and join us on November 2nd 2017 at Brantwood café Coniston. I have the pleasure of reading alongside Graham Mort, Kerry Darbishire and Kim Moore. There’ll be an open mic again, too! Contact Brantwood and get your name down for a slot – open mic places limited!


I’ve had the pleasure of co-tutoring with Pippa Little at Brantwood in previous years and also Graham Mort. I’m delighted to say that I’ll once again be co-tutoring with Pippa on the Midsummer Poetry Course Brantwood June 15th-17th 2017. I’m equally thrilled to be co-tutoring again with Graham Mort on the October Writers’ Retreat Brantwood October 2nd-5th 2017. Booking through Brantwood: Booking is through Brantwood
More info here:

Midsummer Poetry Course 2017 Full


Each month, for the past six or seven years or so, I’ve been holding writing workshops, at first in my own home and a variety of local venues, such as Swarthmoor Hall and Bardsea Village Hall, until a friend and member of the writing group kindly suggested we hold the writing workshops on her farm. What a place for poetry and nature writing! Thank you Jane.

An upland farm near Kirkby Lonsdale, warm farmhouse kitchen, large living room where we hold the writing workshops, cosily snuggled down on winter days by a wood-burning stove, or enjoying the sight of swallows darting to and fro outside the windows as we write, discuss, laugh and engage with our writing. It’s a lovely gathering of like-minded writers, sustained by home made bread, chutneys, cakes, jams and anything else that the group may have baked.

It’s a friendly, supportive, professional and dedicated group of writers and I’m proud to have edited an anthology of their fine writing, called WRITE ON THE FARM published by Harestone Press, image by Stephen Darbishire. 

You can find out dates for the 2017 workshops here:

Poetry and the Harp: The first write on the farm workshop in 2017 is on February 25th. I’ll be co-tutoring the morning session with harpist and writer Christine Cochrane. All welcome!

Update: Poems from the Harp workshop will be published in Poetry Scotland, Autumn 2017, ed. Sally Evans - thanks Sally!

info on Write in Nature workshop

A couple of years ago I’d read something about Eycott Hill… about how Cumbria Wildlife Trust were planning to submit a bid to buy it and create a new nature reserve there. Now, I know Eycott Hill! We almost bought a house in Berrier – another story – and knew I’d read an article in the Keswick Reminder about the Singing Stones of Eycott Hill… a stone xylophone that’s in the Keswick Museum made of certain kinds of stones that make a sonorous ringing sound when struck.

With this in mind I contacted Cumbria Wildlife Trust – then thought nothing of it until a little while later I was emailed and asked: “Was I still interested in running creative writing workshops on Eycott Hill?” Was I!! Oh yes, delighted!

The upshot was a couple of workshops held on Eycott Hill, a wild fell composed of Eycott Volcanic rock close to Blencathra, remote, lonely and uplifting, a place to stop, reflect, listen and to write.  Two workshops were held, one in May 2016 and one in July 2016. Another is planned for 2018.

The writing produced on the workshops is so good that Cumbria Wildlife Trust have produced an anthology called The Raspberry and The Rowan. The title comes from the fact that only a wild raspberry and a ‘flying’ rowan remain after intense over-grazing by cattle. CWT plan to restore hay meadows, plant indigenous trees and to encourage people to engage and enjoy nature both the small: bog asphodel, moths, lichens and the large, Eycott Volcanics, the sky, expanse of hay meadow and the general airiness of place. You can download and also pre-order a copy from Cumbria Wildlife Trust, link here:

The Raspberry and the Rowan

The restoration of the Hay meadows, the purchase of the hill could not have been possible without funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thank you, too, to Jody Ferguson of Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust Write in Nature

Next Eycott Hill "Write in Nature" workshop: April 6th 2018

WRITE ON THE SHORE, JUNE 25TH 2017 - I’ll be leading an outdoor writing workshop for Cumbria Wildlife Trust at South Walney Nature Reserve, Barrow-in-Furness, on June 25th – watch this space for details! Booking:  through Cumbria Wildlife Trust


One of my monthly ‘write on the farm’ writing group asked us if we’d be interested in taking part in a project with the National Trust’s Gondola on Coniston Water… naturally we all said yes please!

I arranged for our group to meet at Brantwood, spend the morning on the Steam Yacht Gondola and the afternoon on a writing workshop at Brantwood. We wrote in response to our sail on the wonderful Gondola – if you’ve never been on it, do take a ride!

The resulting poems were recorded in situ on the Gondola a month or so after our workshop day. Some of us read our Gondola poems at the Open Mic night at Brantwood last November. There are plans afoot to share the poems in other ways later this year…

Big thanks to the National Trust, especially to Jo Haughton and all the crew of Steam Yacht Gondola.

Our day out was on June 18th 2017. You can read more here: read more here:

It’s a great honour to be an Associate Editor (UK) of the online poetry magazine, Poetry Bay. Based on Long Island NY, this is one of the longest running online magazines, editor George Wallace, you can 
read poems here this issue contains a special feature of UK poets.

Delighted to run a workshop for Bank Street Writers Bolton, September 16th 2017! And to be invited back to run another one for them in 2018!

Also pleased to be invited by Scarborough Lapidus to run a one-day workshop for them in Scarborough September 16th 2018


I'm also delighted to be teaching another adult education class at Dallam Community Centre, Heversham. It's the fifth year I've taught them. Last term the workshops were titled "Exploring Poetic Forms"and an anthology celebrating participants' work was produced by Dallam.

The new term, which starts on Thursday, 19th January 2017 10am-12 noon, will look at how to draft and craft your writing, poetry and prose. Called "Drafting and Crafting - How to Shape your Writing" it runs for ten weeks - all welcome, booking through:
Dallam Community, Heversham, LA7 7EH

Tel: 015395 65956 Email: askcommunity@dallam.eu

"Digging Deeper" Autumn-Winter 2017 - class full

So! All in all a positive year with plenty of exciting new projects rubbing shoulders with long running workshops and courses – and more planned for 2017!

Geraldine Green 11.1.2017, updated: 9.10.2017

Editor Harestone Press
Associate Editor Poetry Bay

Freelance Creative Writing Tutor
Creative Writing Teacher Adult Ed. Dallam

"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

Salt Road (pub. by Indigo Dreams)
"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

You can buy my books from my publishers Indigo Dreams Publishing, link here:

all photos copyright Geraldine Green, except for the Harestone Press logo by Stephen Darbishire (thank you Stephen) and the Brantwood posters

POETRY AUTUMN: workshops, readings, residential and a festival

Geraldine, 30.8.2017
Autumn News:
Indigo Dreams writer Geraldine Green has a busy autumn schedule! As well as teaching a 10 x week creative writing course for Dallam Adult Ed.  Heversham, Geraldine is also leading a poetry workshop for Bank Street Writers Bolton on September 6th.  With thanks to Rod Riesco for inviting me along and for inviting me to run another workshop for them in 2018! Lovely group, talented and welcoming.

Autumn Dates for Write on the Farm workshops: September 16th, October 21st and November 25th
In October she's co-tutoring once again with the highly respected and talented poet Graham Mort at  Brantwood  2nd-5th October:
November sees Geraldine, former Brantwood poet-in-residence, hosting and reading at Brantwood on Thursday 2nd alongside invited guests IDP poet Kerry Darbishire, plus Graham Mort and Kim Moore. There’s an Open Mic and supper.
Booking through Brantwood
Geraldine is also taking part in Dalton LitFest  the new Literary Festival Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria where she’ll be reading  from hew new collection Passing Through with Seren poet Kim Moore at the launch on Friday 3rd November and co-hosting an Open Mic with Kim on Saturday 4th.
Says Geraldine “I’m very excited to be part of this new festival when I’ll be reading from my new collection Passing Through, to be published by Indigo Dreams in 2018 – thanks Ronnie and Dawn, it’s such a treat to be working with you both again!” IDP poet Kerry Darbishire will also be taking part in the festival.
Visit Geraldine’s blog Salt Road for info on workshops, courses and readings:
Poems from Geraldine’s new collection Passing Through have appeared in various anthologies, including Curlew Calling, The Raspberry and the Rowan, The Bees Knees, My Dear Watson and Stone Renga (Tale Feathers Press, Santa Fe New Mexico)
Here’s what Penelope Shuttle has to say about Geraldine’s new collection:
 “In her ‘love letter to Cumbria’, Geraldine Green weaves together strands of auto-biography, living depictions both of landscape and of inward journeying, moments of revelation always grounded in the actual and the observed, and brings all these qualities together in one sweeping compass to create a volume rich in sensory and meditative experience.  We hear the shining voices of earth, air, fire and water.  This is writing that re-interprets modern pastoral, elemental and contemporary in all its facets.  Using language that is nuanced and open enables this poet to catch, as if on the wing, glimpse after heart-glad glimpse of her part of this beautiful vulnerable planet.” 
- Penelope Shuttle

Write on the Farm October 2016, photo by Geraldine Green (copyright)

Tuesday, 3 October 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