Friday, November 24, 2006

Suffolk skies this week, glimpses of Constable scenes and a scoot along the beach at Sizewell just for a reminder of that wonderful sea. I was staying in Halesworth from Monday to Thursday, working for The Poetry Trust, running poetry workshops for teachers.

The Poetry Trust is a fantastic group of people. They work non-stop organising the annual Aldeburgh Poetry Festival that happens on the first weekend of November each year - unmatched in its brilliance, its breadth, the fun, the challenge it presents - then throughout the year other events like a schools tour, a reading at the Snape Maltings, workshops and courses.

What energy from all involved... but particularly the passion for good writing that flows from Michael Laskey its chairman, a brilliant poet himself and editor. I was chuffed to be back working with them because I had such a good time during the festival in 2003 when I was poet in residence. Maybe, too, it works so well because yes, it's run by poets! Naomi Jaffa its director is a poet, Dean Parkin on programming is a poet, Jane Anderson on education is a poet. They know good writing.

So, this is how work can truly stimulate me. The workshops were exciting and engaging, people sparked off one another, wrote honest and surprising poems and luxuriated in the time they had for themselves.

On Thursday morning I sat in Halesworth church for an hour and a half of silence, staring at the stained glass and writing about saints.

Bonus of the week - being able to buy a pamphlet of Alastair Reid's poems that the Poetry Trust published to coincide with a reading he did for them this year. His work is largely out of print. Shocking.

Added bonus of the week - hugs from my kids this morning, who both climbed into bed with me and it felt like they were toddlers again. My daughter's question, after 'hi mum', was 'what did you get me?' ! My son winced when I told him how long it took me to walk the length of Halesworth's main street.