And though she be but little, she is fierce

Last week I spent an extremely hot, but very satisfying day with the children and staff of Rushbury Primary School.  It’s one of the smallest schools I’ve worked in, with only 46 on roll, and so I spent the morning with KS2, and then the afternoon with KS1. In KS2 the children have all been studying Shakespeare, and life under the Tudors.  So we started … Continue reading And though she be but little, she is fierce

‘At midnight, pick half a pound of hail out of a blue lake’

In the midst of summer 2018’s heatwave comes Ledbury Poetry Festival, rich with words and sunstruck sofas out on the cobbled lane as ever.  Dressed rather warmly in my best ‘medieval wise-woman’ garb, with large straw hat, I set up in the Walled Garden alongside a colourful spread of tents and stalls providing entertainment to all. I wrote spells for all ages, requests ranging from … Continue reading ‘At midnight, pick half a pound of hail out of a blue lake’

‘A rain of sixpences and hunger’ – watch the video

We made a little video for ‘Tom Palin at Cinderloo’ – do share, do tell us what you think! We’re starting to spread the word about ‘Understories‘ – a new poetry and music collaborative project between myself and musicians Charlotte Watson, Steve Downs and Sarah Ibberson of Whalebone. ‘Understories’ explores the new folklore of Shropshire.  Here are both rural and urban myths, tales just out of living … Continue reading ‘A rain of sixpences and hunger’ – watch the video

‘Understories’ – my new collaborative project

I’m really very pleased to see my poem ‘Tom Palin at Cinderloo‘ published this week on Peter Reynard’s excellent blog, Proletarian Poetry. ‘Tom Palin at Cinderloo’ explores the story of a rising by ironworkers in 1821, as they protested against draconian pay cuts.  It’s a classic tale of industrial abuse of labour, and it ended in the deaths of several of the strikers with many … Continue reading ‘Understories’ – my new collaborative project

“I’m going to be a poem”

I’m back from a fantastic day in Hargate Primary School.  The joy of being their Poet in Residence just grows with every visit!  This time, a tiny little girl stopped me in the corridor at break, looked up and said, “I’m going to be a poem”.  She smiled broadly, and skipped away, and it all made me so happy. Today I was mostly in Year … Continue reading “I’m going to be a poem”

Words from the Vaults

This spring I’ve been working with a great group of people who’ve been attending ‘Creative Writing in the Museum Vaults’.  Ludlow houses the county’s precious and extraordinary Museum Resources, and this series of workshops allowed us access to the ‘Vaults’ and the wonders they contain.  Throughout all of this we were expertly supported by Ludlow Curator Abigail Cox, and by Fay Bailey at Shrewsbury Museum … Continue reading Words from the Vaults

In the darkness/ a bird makes its nest

Recently I spent two wonderful days at Hellens Manor, in Herefordshire, providing poetry workshops to local primary schools for Ledbury Poetry Festival.  Ledbury PF have an acclaimed community and schools outreach programme, and Hellens Manor is a marvellous place.  Chloe Garner, artistic director of Ledbury Poetry Festival, did a wonderful job welcoming and enthusing the children – a real effort aimed at demonstrating that poetry … Continue reading In the darkness/ a bird makes its nest

My poems in the Agenda T S Eliot issue

I really am very proud to have two poems in Agenda’s special T S Eliot issue this month.  Thank you Patricia McCarthy for including them! ‘In Yellowhammer Weather’ was written at The Hurst, near Clun, a couple of years ago while on a week’s walking and writing retreat led by David Morley.  We explored Clun’s tiny, idiosyncratic museum, in which I found an (early 20th … Continue reading My poems in the Agenda T S Eliot issue

Shy Snowdrops & Trees Upon Trees

I’m just back from a most inspiring and exciting week at The Hurst, tutoring a band of marvellous young poets from Hargate Primary School. My co-tutor, Wajid Hussain, was just great to work with, and he has a lovely manner with the children.  The staff from Hargate are just exceptional, and they worked their socks off encouraging and supporting the children, who are only 10 … Continue reading Shy Snowdrops & Trees Upon Trees