Paul Evans, Guardian Nature Diarist, will perform a narrative poem, written specially for the Wenlock Poetry Festival 2012: Kiln is an imagined story inspired by a real historic event. The story of Alice Glaston is set in the present day and narrated by Paul Evans. Alice walks through Much Wenlock, describing who and what she sees. She waits for dusk on the Church Green and walks out into the fields and woods of Wenlock Edge, to a place called Gallows Tree Leasowe. This is where Alice Glaston was hung in 1545, aged 11 years old. She continues her walk to a derelict lime kiln hidden in the woods where the story has its climax. We discover that her remains were found by accident hundreds of years after her death and taken to a limekiln to be secretly burned. Alice became part of the lime used in mortar, whitewash and spread on fields and so remains a constant presence in this landscape. Although the story is macabre, it’s not presented as such. Alice is a lively, bright girl who loves nature. She is a benign presence and through her we see the countryside in a different way. Alice's story is an opportunity to remember how brutal acts in history have become part of the world around us and their forgotten stories are part of a shared history which must be told.
We are looking forward to another ‘quarry performance’ from local poet, playwright, broadcaster and Guardian Nature Diary columnist, Paul Evans. Paul’s previous quarry works have been innovative and exciting, and his collaboration with a small choir of local voices from village school-children adds a whole new dimension to his work. On the edge, in all senses of the phrase, Paul’s quarry recital will celebrate Wenlock’s relationship to its world famous landscape and literary and poetic heritage.
News of the World, the hacking and the smears
You would be pushed to find a paper seedier
But here in Shropshire we’re relieved we get
A positive experience of the media.
Are rural counties out of touch?
That’s isn’t true at all
We’re totally connected
Thanks to Sabine and Paul.
Just sit at your computer
And wonders are unfurled
They call it Virtual Shropshire
And it’s another world.
But then there’s other other worlds
Facebook and Twitter thrive
And you can find them buzzing
On the site of Shropshire Live.
There’s book reviews and businesses
There’s photos you can share,
All human life is there.
We start the day with Radio Shropshire mates;
John Humphries snarling, drains his coffee cup
But Eric’s Smith’s a decent human being
He’d rather talk to folk than stitch them up.
The London DJs like the shock jock chat
Chris Moyles – you couldn’t get much ruder
But we prefer a gentler, folksy style
That’s why we listen in to Genevieve Tudor.
The Bridgnorth Journal is low key
So that’s the place you go
To get the local stories
Of people that you know.
No gloom and doom disasters
To make your spirits fall
A queue of smiling faces
From school to village hall.
We’re posing for a photo
You can see us all say cheese
As a cold and empty teapot
Pours non-existent teas.
If you’re looking for a wordsearch
A job, a van or car
You’ll find them waiting for you
In the pages of the Star.
There’s national news and sports reports
Adverts to make you dream,
Acres of space on the letters page
If you want to let off steam.
The incinerator scandal -
Loopholes can get no holier,
The Star pursues the council, and
The deal with Veolia.
But if your choice is history
And old photographs appeal
The past is safely cherished
In the hands of Toby Neal.
The inner voice of Wenlock
That bears its dreams aloft
Is the priceless Wenlock Herald
Compiled by Robert Toft.
Each month the piles of copies
Sit patient in the pews
Waiting for the volunteers
To spread the happy news.
There’s adverts and reminders
Of things you want to see
Delivered through your letter box
And, best of all, it’s free.
To skip the many magazines
Would be a tactless crime
But this has gone on long enough
And I’m running out of rhyme.
There’s many things in Wenlock
That make us feel blessed
But maybe Shropshire’s media
Are among the very best.
Paul Francis 24.3.12
If you have children aged between 7 and 10 years old then you need to know about this new club.
The club will meet every term-time Thursday afternoon, from 3.45 - 4.45pm at Wenlock Books. £2.50 per week, per child.
We will read together - short stories that we read in one session, or sometimes longer books that we read over several weeks. Poems from anthologies, or poems from one chosen poet.
We will read aloud, together: sometimes I will read, sometimes the children will - if they want to!
- No pressure.
- No tests.
- Just reading and fun.
To start us off I will be reading from The Boy in the Biscuit Tin by Heather Dyer.
When Ibby is sent to stay with her aunt, she discovers her two troublesome boy cousins, Francis and Alex, playing with an old box of magic tricks they found in the attic.
Ibby is sure that magic isn’t real – until she sees Francis sitting at the bottom of the biscuit tin, magically miniaturized by Alex. After that, nothing is what it seems.
Friday April 20th: New Story-Time Club for toddlers and pre-schoolers and their Mums/Grannies or Dads/Grand-Dads.
Each week there will be a story and a song, with a cup of coffee for the parents. A great way to introduce your little ones to the joys and pleasures of reading in a very special bookshop. 10.45am. £2.00
First story will be the Three Billy Goats Gruff published by Barefoot Books.
Join the three billy goats gruff in a lively romp as they trip-trap over a rickety bridge, take on a hungry troll, and journey to where the grass is greener. The repetitive text in this simple story imparts the all-in-it-together message.
The idea for the short courses came from the recent Reader's Retreat, when short stories were read and discussed over a five day reader's holiday. Before that, there was an idea that four o'clock was a very civilised time to put the kettle on and have a cup of tea at our famous round table. Put those two ideas together and the Reading for Pleasure Short Course is born!
The first of the short courses will run from April 17th - May 15th inclusive. The group will meet at 3.45 for about an hour and a half. Tea and biscuits will be served. The topic for the first course will be "Stop What You're Doing and Read This!" - a book of twelve short essays about reading. Each week, one of the essays will form the starting point for a discussion about reading that I hope will be lively, fun and thought-provoking.
The second course will be based on short stories, and will run from June 5th - July 3rd. The title of the short-story compilation will be given nearer the time. Future courses may look at poetry anthologies, and we may also choose to read the occasional full length novel or biography together, reading in sections over the five weeks. It is up to you to choose the course that best suits your interest. Each course will be complete in itself so you can dip in and out as you please.
The cost of the course is £25 payable in advance (you can pay online at the Events page on the website or in the shop.) The book is £4.99 and is available from the shop, all participants will need a copy. I do hope you will join me on this reading adventure!
Eva will talk about drawing and painting horses and the creative process that lay behind her new book from the initial inspiration through to the completed work. There will be an opportunity to view original artworks from the book as well as hearing many of Eva's anecdotes about the horses and ponies used as models throughout.
Eva was awarded her B.A.Hons in Fine Art painting from Norwich School Of Art, where she also did a day release at the University Of East Anglia in creative writing organised and tutored by Malcom Bradbury.
After college she gained qualifications with the British Horse Society working in the equestrian industry as a riding instructor as well as several years involvement in the rehabilitation of ex-racehorses. In addition she has worked as a sole charge groom to Arab endurance horses which included the experience of working with stallions. Eva still enjoys riding, but nowadays says that she doesn't bounce quite as easily!
April 27th, 7pm at Wenlock Pottery. Tickets are £5, available from the bookshop or you can order them via wenlockbooks.co.uk and collect your tickets at the door.
The book: This is a hugely inspiring and informative guide to drawing and painting horses by expert equestrian artist, Eva Dutton. It begins with advice on materials for sketching and drawing, and for painting in various media such as watercolour, gouache, acrylics and pens, then moves on to finding inspiration, drawing from life and using reference material and anatomical drawings. It goes on to show how to develop from basic scribble drawings to shape drawings, then to adding shadow and tone, to portraying movement, getting proportions right and adding detail. Next we move on to painting horses, with advice on composition, backgrounds, coats, colours and markings, mixing colours and using different painting techniques. There are then five stunning step-by-step demonstrations ranging from a simple head and neck, through full horses depicted with various backgrounds and a horse cantering through water, to a beautiful, detailed painting of a herd of horses. Eva's exquisite paintings will inspire readers and her detailed instruction, from initial marks to final paintings, will encourage them to have a go.
I have just ordered some very lovely poetry books - thinking ahead to the Wenlock Poetry Festival of course!
The books are called Pocket Books and as you would expect, they are small and slim and will easily fit in a back pocket or a hand-bag. (A6 if you want to be specific!) Each book has 16 pages and most include line drawings.
Published by Quince Tree Press, they are a fabulous addition to my book shop and I am so delighted to have found them.
Quince Tree Press was founded by JL Carr, prize wining author of A Month in the Country, which was the Guardian Fiction Prize Winner in 1980 and was shortlisted for the Booker in the same year.
I've chosen eight of their Poetry titles and will be stocking their more general, equally quirky, titles too, such as wood engravings; dictionaries of Kings; lists of eponymists - and more! Pictured here is the John Clare title which I thought would rather complement the talk by Sam Ward at the festival.
Methodist Church, Much Wenlock, Saturday 14th April 10am £8 (£7)
DR SAM WARD
THE JOHN CLARE LECTURE – WRITING LARKS
Sam Ward is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Nottingham. He has published widely on Clare and Romantic poetry, and edits Skysill Press. Writing Larks will provide an introduction to the "Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" John Clare (1793-1864), looking in particular at his engagement with the environment and responses to agricultural change.The John Clare Society.
The poems in The Farewell Glacier grew out of a journey to the High Arctic. In late 2010 Nick Drake sailed around Svalbad, an archipelago of islands 500 miles north of Norway,with people from Cape Farewell, the arts climate change organisation.
It was the end of the Arctic summer.The sun took eight hours to set. When the sky briefly darkened, the Great Bear turned about their heads as it had for Pythias the Greek, the first European known to have explored this far north. Sailing as close as possible to the vast glaciers that dominate the islands, they saw polar bear prints on
pieces of pack ice the size of trucks.And they tried to understand the effects of climate change on the ecosystem of this most crucial and magnificent part of the world.
Nick Drake’s new collection gathers together voices from across the Arctic past – explorers,whalers, mapmakers, scientists, financiers, the famous and the forgotten – as well as attempting to give voice to the confronting mysteries of the high Arctic: the animal spirits, the shape-shifters and the powers of ice and tundra. It looks into the future, to the year 2100,when this glorious winter Eden will have vanished forever.
See Nick at Wenlock Poetry Festival along with Jackie Kay and Lavinia Greenlaw on Friday 13th April 2012 at The Edge Arts Centre.
Our box office is now open, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat 10am – 4pm
at 23 Barrow St, Much Wenlock, TF13 6EN
Tel: 07969 253221
Sorry - cheques/ cash only - no cards accepted. Online purchase through PayPal via our website.
Tickets for poetry events which are being held at The Edge Arts Centre will also be available from The Box Office at The Edge Arts Centre, Farley Rd, Much Wenlock, TF13 6NB. Tel: 01952 728911 NB Box Office opens 30 minutes before any Edge event.