Yes I know that southerners think nothing happens further north than Watford. Well they are wrong! There is plenty to explore and last Saturday an added incentive, a poetry workshop in Market Harborough. Market where? Well I had never heard of it either, but it’s a pretty market town, near a disused railway walk (one of my partners favourite occupations) so more than one good reason to set off up the M25 in our campervan!
Admittedly being 7 hours stuck in traffic and being delayed by accidents meant enthusiasm did start to pall!
But once on the lovely Waterloo Leisure site and campsite, with tea shop, fishing lakes, access to the railway walk etc. spirits rose once again.
The poetry workshop on the Saturday was run by Mario Petrucci. Of whom it is said ‘One of the most prolific, versatile and, at his best, penetrating of our poets.’ – Magma 30. Not only a popular tutor, but it all took place in a wonderful medieval building, the old Grammar School, located in the market square of Market Harborough.
An amenable local poet called Charles Lauder, who runs a stanza group in the town, had set the whole thing up and a cheerful group of 16 mainly local poets met for a great day under Mario’s direction.
Mario is not only a poet and a performer, but a physicist and an ecologist and mixes his observations, beliefs, knowledge and experience into his own poetry. I was initially attracted to his book ‘i tulips’ but he has several publications to his name and is well established. He has also written a whole book of poetry on the subject of Chernobyl, another with poems on many topics and my favourite so far, called ‘Flowers of Sulphur.’
He is also writer in residence at ‘The Imperial War Museam’ where he runs courses for young people as well as for adults.
As soon as I saw the publicity for the course, which stated Mario would endeavour to introduce us to ’16 ways of writing a poem’ I was more than intrigued. My poetic efforts needed a different outlook and from a poet of his status – 16 ways for goodness sake!
Optimistically I had hoped just being in his orbit might mean that something of his considerable expertise would brush off me. Quite apart from attempting to put pen to paper with some of the 16 ways, this happened to some extent. He drew attention to our ‘state of mind’ when we start of write, overcoming writers block, how to absorb one’s surroundings, all of which are very individual processes.
He was interested in the ‘process of writing poetry’ – what happens just before one of our ‘well loved poets’ pens his or her masterpiece!
Mario of course talked, we wrote, shared some of our efforts, wrote again, shared, enjoyed a lovely buffet lunch prepared by Nicky, Charles’ wife. Then of course wrote some more – asked questions, discussed form, inspiration etc. A thoroughly stimulating day.
Photograph taken by Nicky Lauder.
Some of the group were more advanced in their journey into poetry, but I certainly learned a lot too. When I have absorbed more of the ’16 ways’ I know I will put some more of them into practice.
Please note – Those that may want to catch up with Mario and his ’16 ways’ will find he is teaching at The Poetry School soon, although somewhat more expensive than the course Charles arranged! Mario is however on youtube and reading his poetry books will also give you enjoyment as well as insights into his ways of working.
More about the joys of Foxton Lock (a visit suggested by a fellow poet) and the railway walk on Sunday!