Two poetry events graced the closing day of this year’s Wordpool Festival at Blackpool Central Library. The first was hosted by Terry Caffrey, a poet from Liverpool. He has appeared in many schools up and down the country giving his talks and examples of performance poetry. He has an approachable style, getting his audience involved with some nice touches ranging from simply asking people’s names to generating compliments, e.g. to one person: “you have listening eyes.” Despite a sore throat he produced fine performances that depended a lot on the sound of words and music. He tried successfully to be inspirational, telling people to create poetry for themselves in the first instance and to trust themselves.
The second event introduced people to Polly Atkin, a poet from Cumbria. She is a poet in the lyric tradition and the sound of words is equally important to her. She gave a reading of poems from her collection, Shadow Dispatches, that won the 2012 Mslexia poetry pamphlet prize as well as some new work. She has been involved with the Wordsworth Trust as a poet and, for her research work, as an observer of the poetic goings on around Dove Cottage, where several of her poems (for example, ‘Sky, falling’) gained their original inpiration. The Shadow Dispatches collection ranges from words on a mute swan and the travails of migraine sufferers to some inspired by relationships. She also has a close rapport with nature and at the edge of several poems are myths and legends, particularly of the north country.
Polly has agreed to be the judge of Blackpool’s first major poetry competition, open to entries from across the UK. It has the unique prize (as well as several cash awards) of the winner having their poem displayed in the Blackpool Illuminations from October to November 2014. Given this, it is not surprising that the theme is ‘light’. Full rules and entry details are available on the Wordpool blog.
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