Nights writing the dark

I’ve just completed three workshops for the upcoming DarkFest, a wondrous event which will take place in Cardingmill Valley on the Shropshire Hills on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 November. My three poetry workshops ‘Writing the Borders of Darkness’ were designed to invite people into the hills at dusk, and encourage them to write about the experience. I handed out ‘strips of darkness’ from my Flour Shaker of Fate (oh yes) and also made a collaborative poem with each group while we were out perched on the rocks, with the Ashbourne brook clattering in our ears. Participants have also been sending me the finished poems they started writing on the night. Thank you all you brilliant people who came from far and wide to the workshops!

And their words are going next to Mary Keith, singer/songwriter/choir leader extraordinaire, who will use our poems to create new songs for her community choir to sing. So on Saturday 13 November, we can walk up Cardingmill Valley into the November night, and hear words written in these workshops singing out to us from the darkness.

There’ll also be storytelling, an amazing lit-up silent disco, light installations over water and the sort of skilled lighting of darkness that will help us appreciate the true dark of the hills.

Here’s the three collaborative poems, made on the 14th, the 26th and the 31st August.

This has been such a wonderful project to work on, with such exciting, creative colleagues, Sian Allen, Ben Osborne, Sal Tonge, Mary Keith, Kate Johnston and Jon Bielstein. Many thanks too, to the National Trust in Cardingmill Valley.

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