Berkeley Castle reading

Castle

I will be reading from Queen, Jewel, Mistress at Berkeley Castle on 11th September. Look out for me in the Small drawing Room or wandering the gardens. You can hear some poems or chat to me about the queens in the book.

The castle is traditionally the scene of Edward II’s murder so I shall certainly be reading the poem from the perspective of his queen, Isabella of France. This poem stands out as the most rage-filled poem in the book!

Sudeley Castle

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I will be visiting Sudeley Castle on Sunday 4th September. I will be reading poems in St Mary’s Church which houses the tomb of Katherine Parr. The whole day at the castle is a celebration of Katherine Parr. I wrote the poem about her whilst I was staying at The Hurst during my Arvon week. I can remember walking through the ice shrouded woods, snow on the horizon, thinking about the lines that became the poem. I can’t wait to read it at Sudeley and other poems from Queen, Jewel, Mistress that also link to the history of the castle.

Sudeley Castle Website

NPG 4451; Catherine Parr attributed to Master John

attributed to Master John, oil on panel, circa 1545

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 

Hwaet!

“Mark Fisher was delighted to be asked to open the first Ledbury Poetry Festival in 1997 as Labour arts minister, and has maintained his support for the festival as an active Patron over many years. His anthology Hwaet! brings together 200 new poems by a wide range of poets who have delighted audiences at Ledbury Poetry Festival over 20 years as well as poems by some unforgettable visitors no longer with us who will always be remembered in Ledbury. Scattered between the poems are anecdotes contributed by poets and others offering a sense of the diverse flavour of an international poetry festival which is possibly unusual in being created, nurtured and loved by the community in which it is based. 

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The poets saying ‘Hwaet!’ include writers from all parts of Britain and Ireland, from North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. They include writers who’ve been poet-in-residence or worked on popular community and schools projects in Ledbury along with winners of the Ledbury Poetry Competition.”

You can purchase the anthology HERE.

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reading

Reading ‘Actions Speak’ at the launch of Hwaet! at Ledbury. It was a brilliant evening of poetry and I felt grateful to Ledbury Poetry Festival (especially Chloe Garner) for including me and for always supporting me as a writer. Watch it HERE

Generosity

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I’ve been running after my own invisible tail (long, with feathers, spaniel style) for the last few months. It resulted in becoming very tired and forgetting things. I was asked to read at Hellens Garden Festival. I was looking forward to it, had it fixed in my head it was on the Sunday. Then I arrived, early, feeling quietly proud that I wasn’t late and slowly realised I had come on the wrong day. I should have read on Saturday. Imagine my distress. I had let people down and been an all round hopeless poet. Yet, Adam Horovitz generously gave me space before his own reading so I could read some poems. Everyone was so kind. I felt wrapped in the supportive space created by poets. I enjoyed Adam’s reading very much, not only were the poems rich with detail and the languid weight of the landscapes within them…but he also had one of those voices, compelling and calm. In the beautiful setting of Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, the sun warming us through the odd shower, it was a perfect afternoon.  This is why I love poetry.

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The school where I work had booked Spoz to do a poetry slam and he had Rich Grant with him to take one set of kids. Rich, known as Dreadlockalien, was a poet I knew about but had never met before. It was right in the middle of me feeling very tired out and stressed so a day off normal tasks and watching Rich do his stuff was going to be a joy. Dynamic, fun, witty, charismatic and a brilliant poet…he had every kid in his group focused and producing great lines of poetry. More importantly, he made poetry not suck, which is important with kids who despise poetry! In the break we got talking about life, motivating the kids who don’t usually get to shine. I told Rich about my son who had recently been bullied for the first time about his skin colour and how devastating he had found it. Rich was keen to send my son a message to lift his spirits and give him words to remember, words to keep about his space in the human race. Rich took the time to record this message for me on my phone, completely ad-libbed, so I could take it home to my sons. Build them up. Such generosity. This is why I love poetry.