Sunday, 19 February 2017


the poetry component

Not long to go now - Words by the Water, the annual festival of words and ideas at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, starts on 3 March.  As usual I've been looking out for poetry events.  

Imagining the Sun includes Northumbrian poet Katrina Porteous in a collaboration exhibited at the theatre during the festival.   Katrina is a fine poet and her performances on radio 3 and at Grasmere (in the good old days when there was a summer readings programme) have been utterly absorbing.  I'm intrigued - this is an arts/science collaboration and I am looking forward to seeing the exhibition and seeing how poetry fits into it.  All will be revealed on the first Saturday morning.

Helen Mort, a previous poet in residence at the Wordsworth Trust, is talking about The Clarity of Running (fell running, that is) on Monday afternoon.  In the evening poet Phil Houghton will be talking to film-maker Terry Abraham about the film Life of a Mountain: Blencathra (a ticket includes a showing of the film afterwards).  Of all the talented writers in Cumbria Phil is the one who responds most deeply to the landscape.  I always enjoyed the poems he brought to the Cumbrian Poets workshop.

On Tuesday there's a poetry double bill in the main house with Helen Farish (winner of the Forward Prize) and Adam O'Riordan (winner of a Somerset Maugham Award).  Like Helen Mort, both writers were former poets in residence at the Wordsworth Trust.  Helen Farish is a consummate reader of her own poetry and her latest book (The Dog of Memory) has several Cumbrian poems.  I am not familiar with Adam's work so I am looking forward to being introduced to it.

It's a pity that the reading clashes with Discourse with a Cumbrian Landscape - a session with micro publishers Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton who run the Corbel Stone Press and include poetry in their work.

Straight afterwards it's A Celebration of Cumbrian Poetry, a free session which starts off with Jacci Bulman reading from her first publication and followed by a motley crew of 8 other poets.  We've all been given a strict time schedule to keep to.  I'm on last so I hope the others don't overrun or I'll be left stranded!  This is a free session, a follow up to last year's local writers' reading in aid of the flood relief fund.  This year donations are invited for RNIB Talking Books and the Ways with Words bursary fund for young people.  

The popular poetry breakfast is back on Thursday morning in the Circle gallery (coffee and croissants  included, bring your own - or someone else's - poetry).

I'm very pleased to see a good sprinkling of poetry in the festival programme this year.  Of course there are lots of other words and ideas too - I'm particularly looking forward to Chris Tarrant on The Romance of Railways, Diana Darke on her house in Damascus and Eriend Clouston on The Nature Writing of Nan Shepherd.

Now all we need is some decent weather. for the full programme of talks
017687 74411 Theatre by the Lake for booking tickets


  1. We watched the film Life of a Mountain Bkencathra on TV & loved it. The music was haunting.

    Jane T

  2. So glad you were able to see this wonderful film, Jane.