Seven Ways of Reading Gillian Allnutt

I just happened to come across this post again. Thank you Anthony for thinking this through, and blogging about it. I think Gillian Allnutt should be a superstar too. Her work is full of spaces, I read her again and again, always finding more in the ‘what’s not said’.

Anthony Wilson


Seven Ways of Reading Gillian Allnutt:

How The Bicycle Shone: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe; 216pp; £12)



It’s the Saturday Evening of the August Bank Holiday Weekend. We’re at the Greenbelt Arts Festival, on Cheltenham Racecourse. We’re indoors, in a long, low-ceilinged room. It is extremely hot. People wander in, shuffle nervously to a safe distance from the microphone, then slide quietly to the floor with their belongings. There are three very small windows, no chairs. This being Cheltenham, the room is called The Foxhunter Suite. And this being a poetry reading, we ‘give it five more minutes’ in case there’s any stragglers. It turns out there are. It’s a good sized audience. People lie down to listen. They hold hands, sip from water bottles, settle in. In the same room earlier that day there has been a film about the genocide in Rwanda  Gillian Allnutt begins reading, and…

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Finding Treasure – gold, dust and detectorists

Viking troll wife pendant
For knifed into the bronze, my troll-wife
leads her horse down these same paths.
All night her long hand bridles him
with snakes to make him tame.

her long eye is my old amulet
she is the secret dark
inside of barrows


I’m working with Peter Reavill, the Regional Field Officer of the PAS – Portable Antiquities Scheme, looking at ways of developing a project.  I’ve written some poems about artefacts dug up here in Shropshire.  The extract above is from one of them – about a bronze Viking pendant dating from the 8th to the 11th century.  It was found near Oswestry, on the very edge of the Danelaw.  It was an object signifying cultural belonging, and was probably a good luck charm.

Our next activity though, is to offer a Poetry Workshop: Finding Treasure at which Peter will introduce some artefacts, and I will provide creative ways into writing about them.  It’s booking now – do reserve your place quickly!
flier PAS poetry JA











Zines in the Making

I work regularly with a group of five home educated children, who come to my house to write.  Lately we’ve been creating zines, giving an opportunity for more extended story-telling.  It’s been a magical process, with each individual’s ideas coming through strongly.  The children have displayed great zest and inventiveness, and our meetings are fascinating, with mature discussions, ranging from how to pace a longer story, to decisions in design and illustration.

Making Zines & long stories (1)

An impressive amount of work is being done in between sessions with me.  There’s been much planning, like this –

Making Zines & long stories (11)

and simply glorious attention to design and making details –

Home Ed zines Mattie & Mollie (2) Home Ed zines Mattie & Mollie (3) Making Zines & long stories (2)













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