I walked the pavements trodden by Virginia Woolf and T S Eliot, I stayed at the Penn Club (where John Wyndham - he of Triffids fame - lived for several years) and I went to the Second Light Poetry Festival.
As winner of the Second Light Poetry prize (short poem category) I was invited to take part in an evening reading, so, on Saturday night I read my winning poem, 'Six Studies of Pillows' (based on a Durer pen and ink drawing), my commended poem, 'Clustog Fair' (set on Bardsey Island) and a few other poems in the elegant Georgian surroundings of the Art Workers' Guild in Queen Square (a bust of Ruskin on the stairs kept an eye on everyone). I enjoyed the reading very much - a relaxed and intimate setting and an enthusiastic audience.
The reading was the culmination of the two day poetry festival. The whole weekend was a literary feast! Myra Schneider, Penelope Shuttle, Kate Foley and Moniza Alvi led workshops over the two days - full of good things to inspire and provoke. On the first evening Penelope and Kate gave a reading followed by an open mic. Aa Myra had started her workshop with Les Murray's '1960 brought the electric' I read 'Girl with a lamp', the poem I might have started in the workshop if I hadn't written it already!
Thanks are due to Dilys Wood and Anne Stewart who organised and ran the weekend so smoothly and made sure that there were enough cakes, biscuits and hot drinks to fuel our brain cells. I picked up my new edition of Artemis and was delighted to find my winning poem and the commended one printed in the magazine.
I came back to Wales, dogged by the lack of organisation of the railways. All went smoothly until Chester. Then there was an hour's wait for a rail replacement bus (Sunday maintenance work) to Llandudno Junction, then another hour's wait for the Bangor train. But we were compensated by a spectacularly beautiful autumnal view of the Vale of Clwyd when we went over Rhuallt Hill on the A55. All the metallic colours of the not yet fallen leaves - gold, platinum, bronze, copper. I thought of Gerard Manley Hopkins at St Beuno's, his love of this wide valley and the way the landscape and the Welsh language fed into his poetry. A long way from London.