Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Wells, Whales and Words in Bradwell

There are four well-dressings being prepared at Bradwell this week. I'm in residence at the mobile library (on Wednesdays 2-4pm: catch us on 6th, 20th and 27th August) with free, fun writing activities for young people. Lots of people dropped by (including visitors from Kent, Oxford and Canada). There were some cracking contributions to the Watery Words poem -
A shiny shark shows his sharp teeth (Leo, 5)

A friendly frog found its baby floating on a lily flower (Bryn, 7)

The kingfisher catches a catfish in the cold river (Edward, 9).

The children's well-dressing theme is Jonah and the Whale. Here's what the whale had to say, as imagined by Edward:

That fish tasted so bitter. I'm not meant to eat fish, I'm only meant to eat krill but I had my mouth wide open when I ran into him. He felt hard like a stone. Now all I keep hearing is 'Help, Help, Help!'.
Here's more information and a calendar of well-dressings. Well dressing is not unique to Derbyshire, but almost all the wells dressed every year are within the county, or a short distance from the county boundary. The custom is going from strength to strength, greatly revived since the start of the 19th century, when only the Tissington well-dressing was recorded.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Ledbury Poetry Fest

Congratulations to Matthew Rodger of Chesterfield, who's won Second Prize in the young persons' section of the prestigious Ledbury Poetry Competition, with Runaway.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

A Lorryload of Laureates

Despite torrential rain, a small but perfectly formed audience gathered in Southwell Library last week to hear the four of us. Good company to be in and a treat to hear Sibyl Ruth (former Birmingham Laureate) read A Song of Jean, which has just won first prize in the Mslexia poetry comp.

Southwell (pronounced Suthwell by some) has its own Poetry Festival (and an impressive Romanesque Minster - see pic). That night I dreamt that Ann Atkinson and I were organising a Poetry Festival in Grindleford... but don't tell anyone!