Six weeks in and the poets I’m our project have been producing some really good writing. Those new to writing poetry and the experienced poets in the group have found inspiration and have shown great enthusiasm, extending to supporting each other, testing out their poems and sharing them with us. It has been an honour to work with such a great group of poets.
We have also had excellent meetings with, and feedback from, the Canal Rivers Trust and with the Poetry Society and Roy MacFarlane, the Canal Laureate. Although it is too early to give details yet, I can say that we have exciting developments coming up.
With over 30 poems already submitted, and more to come, my work in editing and formatting is now underway and it is actually really quite good fun and inspiring.
There will be one final session before the work is compiled ready for production of a large print book which is likely to be launched early in 2024.
Having recovered from the Covid, that kept me away from the first session of this project, I was delighted to be back at Hare Hill House in Littleborough to lead today’s session face to face.
The project will run for 6 weeks to create poetry influenced by the area around the Rochdale Canal and Calderbrook from the former Rock Nook Mill to Summit in Littleborough.
Today we talked about thinking like a poet and among the props used for a writing exercise was my lovely compact Metronome (pictured here).
The poets then used information provided, about the famous Summit Tunnel and Rock Nook Mill, as inspiration to start crafting some new poetry.
At the end of the project we will publish a large print book containing selected poems produced by all of the participants.
Today it was great to meet some new writers and share inspiration and ideas. This is a very friendly and vibrant l group of writers and I’m very confident that there will be some excellent poetry to publish.
This project comes from an idea from Liz White who has worked on planning and secured funding so that we can bring poetry writing opportunities to Littleborough and produce work which is available to local people including those with visual impairments.
On 17th May I will be compèring an open mic poetry evening at The Red Lion, in Littleborough, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
All are welcome and those wishing to read or perform should simply let me know on arrival so that I can include them on the list.
The free event is brought to you by Littleborough Arts Festival who will be running a wide range of arts events and activities over the long weekend from 19th to 21st May – details of all events can be found on the Littleborough Arts Festival Facebook page.
Rochdale poet, writer and workshop facilitator, Eileen Earnshaw, runs the Falinge Park Writing Group and has led several writing projects in Bolton after completing her BA Honours Degree in Creative Writing at Bolton University. This workshop is suitable for anyone interested in starting to write poetry and those who are relatively new to writing.
Eileen’s track record in helping new writers to gain confidence will ensure and engaging and inclusive workshop where everyone will leave with new knowledge and some new poetry.
Freeform Poetry – Gaia Holmes
Calderdale poet, Gaia Holmes, has won several awards for her poetry and was recently awarded a fellowship by the Arts Foundation Futures, for her place writing. Gaia is an experienced workshop facilitator who always brings positivity and fresh viewpoints to her sessions.
This Freeform Poetry session is aimed at those who want to develop their writing and look at new approaches to their poetry. Participants are sure to enjoy the session and leave with some new writing.
Polish and Perfect – Seamus Kelly
Littleborough based poet and artist, Seamus Kelly, has led a number of successful writing projects including the 2022 Poetry in the Park project in Littleborough with a series of workshops culminating in the publication of a large print poetry book of the participants’ work.
This workshop is suitable for those who have written some poetry and would like to finds ways to polish it and prepare it for publication or performance. The workshop will include techniques for using a microphone while reading your polished words.
Poetry performance – 12:00 to 1:00pm
Following the workshops there will be a performance session in Hare Hill House where participants, and perhaps workshop leaders, will share some of their words.
April sees a new, exciting, one day, poetry event at Hare Hill House, Littleborough.
The morning sees three FREE poetry writing workshops by published poets (further details to follow in my next post) plus poetry performance, followed from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, by an Afternoon with James Nash.
James, hailing from Leeds and Bridlington, is a popular poet, workshop leader and speaker with 8 collections of poems published so far and has been a frequent guest and host at literature festivals. James’ latest collection “Heart Stones” is his third collection of sonnets; information about the book is shown below, beneath the online booking link.
during the afternoon James will talk about his passions, his writing and will share some poems with the audience.
Tickets for this not to be missed event are available now on Eventbrite using the link below, or can be purchased from me in person for just £5.00 each.
In his third volume of sonnets, James Nash examines urban and seaside environments in a Yorkshire he has known through fifty years living in the North. His sonnets soar over the land – from Leeds, a predominantly Victorian city, to the Wolds in the East Riding of Yorkshire, walking and cycling into the natural world with a pen and paper never far from his hand.
James openly shows his debts to the great poets and writers of previous generations, from Winifred Holtby to Philip Larkin, from Matthew Arnold to Dylan Thomas – and with this sparkling new collection, lays a fresh claim to be named among them. To borrow some of his own words, James’ gift is to be a “clear microscope” for our times, finding hope in the many “miracles of detail” that pass through his unwavering gaze; into verses that glow with warmth, insight and poignancy. He thinks his old English master would be quite proud.
Many thanks to all of those who attended our launch today. Extra thanks to Nick from Hare Hill House for making us so welcome and set up to room for us, and I especially admire the upside down Christmas Tree.
With tea and coffee and a table of home made cakes, proving that some of our poets are also excellent bakers, the 40 strong audience settled down to listen to an introduction from Elizabeth White, Chair of Create and Connect who organised the project. Elizabeth spoke about the motivation and aims of our project, the reasons for producing a large print poetry book and thanked our sponsors “Crook Hill Community Benefit Fund”.
Eileen Earnshaw, a superb local poet, and I shared a couple of poems each to give some idea of the range of styles and subjects that we write about and then each of the other poets who took part in the project read some of their work from the newly published book.
The participating poets are; Denise Greenall, Eileen Earnshaw, Elizabeth White, Graham Haynes, Julie Woodrup, Marilyn Allred, Nic Holliday, Ray Stearn, Sandra Buckley, Susan Benton and myself.
Cllr. Janet Emsley, Deputy Leader of Rochdale Council, always a staunch supporter of the arts and her local community in Littleborough, read a poem on behalf of Elizabeth White and also expressed thanks to the sponsors and her hopes that we will continue to see such community based creative projects in the future.
The book, and the readings, were very well received and copies will be distributed free of charge to people experiencing sight loss, Rotary will include them in Christmas parcels and they will be distributed to care homes etc. and through MeetUp at Hare Hill House.
Next week we will be releasing copies online, freely downloadable, including a version using colours and a specialist font to make it more readable for people with dyslexia.
Elizabeth White said “the launch was really successful, the poets read from their work to a very appreciative audience. Being able to offer a large print poetry book is amazing as there are very few published in this format.”
A great event and project, I have been very impressed by all of the writers and thoroughly enjoyed running the workshops and editing the anthology.
A quick glance inside one of the boxes of books ready for tomorrow’s launch.
It is always exciting opening that box and holding a copy of a brand new book in your hand. This one is a special one being produced as it is a large print anthology helping to make poetry accessible to older people and those with some visual impairment.
The work has been inspired by the workshops that the writers attended at Hare Hill House in Littleborough. I’m really looking forward to the participating poets receiving their copies, seeing their words in print and sharing some of their poems at the launch.
if you can get along to the launch you’ll be very welcome and you will be able to collect a free copy of Poetry in the Park and enjoy light refreshment and drinks.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been editing submitted poems, selecting poems for publication, designing the layout and creating the cover for our large print anthology. After all that creative and technical work I now enter the easier, but tense, phase of waiting for copies to arrive through the post.
The book, draft cover shown here, will be launched on Friday 2nd December at 11.00am where some of the twelve contributing poets will read selected poems. There will also be opportunity to meet and speak to the poets.
Refreshments will be provided and copies of Poetry in the Park will be available to take away.
All are welcome to attend at Hare Hill House, in Hare Hill Park, Littleborough.
A band new project in Littleborough, the brainchild of artist, and writer, Liz White, who realised that many older people and people with visual impairments are not able to access poetry. Based in Hare Hill House I will be delivering a series of 6 two hour workshops using the Park, House, Littleborough and their history for inspiration.
The participants will contribute poems to a collection which will be produced as a large print book suitable for readers with visual impairments. The book will be distributed free of charge to local people with visual impairments. Participants will be supported in writing poetry in terms of style, language, poetic forms and technique.
This morning I approved the proofs from the printers and I’ll be awaiting the box/boxes of books arriving at my door ahead of our launch at 12.00 on 17th March in Falinge Park (cafe), Rochdale.
Once I’d finished that process I worked on a second version which will be available to download. That version uses a special font and a coloured background to make it easier for those with dyslexia to read. The cover for this version is shown below – it will be made available online after the launch event.
At the launch the writers who have contributed to the book will read some of their work, there will be a chance to chat and meet members of the group and pack up a copy of the book. There will, of course, be light refreshments.
If you haven’t received an invitation but would like to attend please let me know and we’ll be happy to accommodate you.
This evening Rochdale was damp, varying between drizzle and rain, and it was anything but warm.
The crowds however were out in force for the opening of the Gaia Installation and the switching on of the Christmas lights. We were entertained by street theatre with some very impressive drummers and circus skills.
The highlights included an aerial show by an artist suspended from a balloon floating over Riverside and a couple of spectacular peacock puppets.
The lights were lit, the crowds cheered and applauded and the Gaia exhibit spun slowly as hundreds of people looked on and took their photos and selfies of themselves and their children holding up Planet Earth.
The entertainment reached its conclusion and the coffee shops did a roaring trade as people headed home or to the shops. Once again Rochdale had done itself proud.
Today I delivered the first workshop of the Climate Worx project. With a total of six workshop sessions we will look at writing about the climate, climate change, our environment and the world we live in. We’ll draw on our reactions to the Gaia installation opening this Saturday, 20th November, at Number One Riverside in Rochdale and we’ll share our ideas, tips, techniques and stories.
Todays workshop was hosted by Eileen Earnshaw and Falinge Writers, the new group that itself launched just a week ago, with the meeting room provided by Vintage Worx. The Falinge Writers group will meet weekly on Thursday mornings from 10.00 to 12.00. Next week Eileen will deliver her workshop looking at prose poetry.
The group really has got off to a flying start with new faces and some familiar ones and the atmosphere and creativity has been great. The quality and variety of writing is always inspiring and it seems that if you put a dozen people in a room you’ll get at least a baker’s dozen of ideas and approaches. In several examples of writing today, whilst writing about climate change, a theme of cooperation shone through, and that is perhaps the most important value for any group of creatives, whether in writing, art, music or other genres.
The next workshop in the Climate Worx project will take place at Number One Riverside on 2nd December from 10.00 to 12.00 so that we can explore our reactions to seeing the massive impression of our planet close up. Anyone who would like to be part of the group and this project but who can’t make it on the day can message me and I’ll share the notes and prompts for the session which you can use for your own visit.
The end point of the project, but of course not the ideas, writing, discussion and sharing, will be the launch of our pamphlet scheduled for 17th March (St. Patrick’s Day) 2022. We’ll make sure everyone has submission guidelines for the pamphlet and all members of the group will receive free copies.