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The Hawthorn Halls – the cat stone cast edition

The Cat Stone

Not only was the (nearly) full Glastonbury line-up announced this week but, more importantly, I was finally allowed to release details of the first ever Cuckoo Poetry Jam taking place in Marsden later this month. Advertised as a fringe event to the world famous Cuckoo Festival, the Cuckoo Poetry Jam organised in association with Write out Loud and Kirklees Libraries, takes place on Saturday 26 April between 11.00am and 1.00pm at the Railway Inn, Marsden. Full details can be found at our very friendly Facebook event page by following the link here, Poetry Jam

If you’re unsure what a Jam might look like then don’t worry. The Write Out Loud YouTube channel has a fantastic seven minute video edit from last year’s October Jazz festival Jam showing the great variety and superb atmosphere created by our compere and host, Julian Jordon. Julian will be back again for the Cuckoo Jam as will guest readers Steve Ely, Kim Moore, Michael Stewart and Michael Brown with more names being added to the list as I type. Many open mic spots available so if you are in the area please pop in, say hello, and enjoy some wonderful poetry for a couple of hours.

And to celebrate:

I have two very fine 2013 Templar Poetry Anthologies to give away. Peloton contains a selection of the best poems from submissions to the annual Templar Pamphlet and Collection Awards and I’m very proud that two of my own poems, The Cat Stone Cast and Late September, feature in the anthology. To get your hands on one of these fine books simply send me your name and address via my contact page and two individuals will be selected at random. Simple. All emails will then be deleted and not used for any other purpose. I’ll post details on the Cuckoo Jam Facebook page as to who can expect a book in the post.

Peloton

The Cat Stone Cast is a Marsden poem, set around the Sparth reservoir on a hot summer evening. It’s a poem about discovery and in some ways, loss of innocence and comes from a sequence I’m currently working on provisionally titled, Down On Grange. The whole sequence works with the idea of you were there but what if you had never been here and looks at our relationships with people and places. It’s heavy but in a 1970s Vision On Polaroid kind of way. I had a wonderful surprise recently when Dagda Publishing selected another poem from the sequence as their poem of the day. You can still read Dark Side of the Street on their fantastic poetry blog.

Don’t forget, as well as exploring the landscape of the Cat Stone, you can also take in other poetry delights on Mark Kelly’s brilliant Marsden Poetry Trail which I would heartily recommend if you’re visiting the area through Spring and Summer.

This weekend, after many years of trying, I will finally be attending an Embrace secret gig which, unfortunately, is all I’m allowed to say. Have a look on YouTube if you want to find out more; Sunday is going to be wild! It’s a great buzz to be going. We’ve seen the band live a few times and I’ve been a fan since they were signed – local lads done good kind of thing – so no doubt I will have some tales to tell next time round.

For now, it has to be the come back record of all time; gifted to the band from Chris Martin as a way of saying thank you for allowing Coldplay to support them on tour before Michael Eavis discovered them and yes – I was in the bar.

 

The Hawthorn Halls – the sock edition

It’s not often that a poet’s sock is handed to you in the local pub and rarely is it as exciting as the insulated brown one that was dangled in front of me last night whilst squeezing the last of the Butterley bitter out of my shrinking pint glass. This sock has a story to tell.

The sock in question was the one made famous by Simon Armitage during his mammoth trek down the Pennines during the summer of 2010. The walk, which was later chronicled in the fabulous book, Walking Home, relied on people paying Simon what they thought he was worth following readings at various locations each evening. He was paying his way with poetry and the sock was employed as a means of collecting the rewards.  As far as a sock’s life goes, this one’s had it pretty good. It must have wondered, however, what it was now doing in the Riverhead with a bunch of strangers after such celebrity.

The sock was in the company of the poets, Michael Stewart, Julia Deakin, Gaia Holmes and William Thirsk-Gaskell who were preparing to set off to the Ilkley Literature Festival by walking the 47 mile Stanza Stones Trail.

The Stanza Stones consist of six poems by Simon Armitage. Each of the poems have been hand carved by Pip Hall into ancient quarried rocks at atmospheric locations along the trail. The walk covers the 47 miles between Marsden and Ilkley. Each of the poems focuses on water in its many forms and, mysteriously, there is another stone, the seventh stone, which, at this time, remains undiscovered. You can find out more about the trail here Stanza Stones

cotton grass 012

Enjoying its break from retirement and having been sent to Michael rather enigmatically from Simon without any note or explanation, the sock was collecting for charitable causes following some excellent readings by all four poets as a way of launching the project, aptly named, Walking the Line.

Members of the public are invited to join the walk over the next three days which will also see readings taking place at Hebden Bridge, Saltair and finally, the Ilkley Literature Festival. You can find out more by visiting Walking the Line. I had hoped to join the team for the first leg but a rather unfortunate incident with a scaffold board and bag of chicken food has left me receiving strict orders to rest.

Having returned to normality after an extraordinary summer that saw great holes being excavated in my front garden (more later), European road trips and sun, poetry has once again come back into focus with lots of exciting events.

Last weekend saw the fabulous Marsden Jazz Festival (I’m sure there should be an international in the title somewhere) host the fourth Poetry Jam. This was the first time I’d managed to make the Jam due to work commitments, and what a fantastic event it was. Hosted by Write Out Loud’s very own Julian Jordon, the family friendly event saw poets from across the country lining up to read to the packed out pub. You can read an excellent review here Marsden Jam

In other news, I’ve had a couple of new poems accepted for publication by two excellent on-line journals and also two poems have been selected by Templar Poetry for their latest anthology, Peloton, due for release in November. I will be reading at the launch event of the anthology at 12.00 on Sunday 03 November during the Derwent Poetry Festival. The full programme can be accessed here Derwent Poetry Festival .

In the Halls this week, getting heavy rotation alongside excellent new albums from Lanterns on the Lake and Pearl Jam are Embrace whose new album will hopefully be released in the next twelve months (Embrace fans will understand). While we wait, here’s the poetic Higher Sights from the debut album, The Good Will Out. I’ll put a sock in it now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJBoolS6JXo