Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas, Derbyshire

Whippet underneath the Christmas tree
(Photo credit: Ben Wilkinson)
My first two months as Derbyshire Poet Laureate have whizzed past like a whippet on ice, and now it's nearly Christmas again. It really started to feel like the season of goodwill this Monday when I went into Codnor Primary School to judge the students' annual poetry recital competition. Seeing the enthusiasm and energy that children as young as 5 brought to the poems they'd memorised was inspiring as well as heart warming. We had a tough time choosing winners and were pleased that all the students got a small medal for their efforts. Thanks to everyone at Codnor for making me so welcome.

Earlier in December I also attended a meeting of Derbyshire Stanza, hosted by the wonderful Alison Riley, to run a festive poetry workshop and to read some poems of my own. The meeting this month was in Pentrich, but Stanza members were sharing poems they'd written about Eyam after a visit to the Plague Village. Derbyshire Stanza travels round the county so that each meeting is entirely different and influenced by the setting it takes place in. I was introduced to a fascinating book called 'The Twelve Parts of Derbyshire' by Edward Boaden Thomas, which explores the different aspects of our varied county through verse.

With Chesterfield FC players at the Wycombe Wanderers match
(Photo credit: Chesterfield FC)
Finally, the festive season has also seen me write my first commissioned poem for Chesterfield FC after attending several matches this season. The new poem, 'Talk of the Town' will appear for the first time in the club's match day programme on Boxing Day and I'll post a copy here on the blog shortly afterwards. Writing about football for the first time was a brilliant challenge and I'm looking forward to building on that in 2014.

Wishing you a creative and peaceful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!