This time last week, 10 of my fellow Poetry Business Writing School 2017–2019 poets – David Hale, Keith Hutson, Hannah Lowe, Marie Naughton, Stephen Payne, Kathy Pimlott, Emma Simon, David Underdown, Tom Weir and Rod Whitworth – and I were preparing for our end-of-programme celebratory reading in the Jerwood Centre next to Dove Cottage in Grasmere, as the culmination of our residential weekend at Rydal. Unfortunately, our twelfth member Ramona Herdman was unable to take part. in the reading.
Despite all weathers, including snow and hail, we had a sizeable audience, including Wordsworth Trust poet-in-residence and New Networks for Nature steering group member Matt Howard. It was a special occasion and the happiest reading I’ve ever been part of. I can’t speak highly enough of Ann and Peter Sansom, whose guidance, knowledge and wisdom have been a constant source of inspiration for the last two years.
On her website, Kathy Pimlott – whose new Emma Press pamphlet Elastic Glue is a must-read – gives an eloquent account of how and why being a member of the group has been so inspiring. For my part, I couldn’t have wished to have had nicer, more encouraging colleagues. We hope to have some reunion readings in due course.
I’ve enjoyed the programme so much that I’m doing it all over again, in the 2019–2021 cohort, for which I am very grateful and excited!