There was a real excitement in the air and sense of anticipation when we met to read our poems from our mini residencies for London’s Open Spaces Weekend under the title ‘Mixed Borders.’ Tonight we were all part of the Talking Peace Festival at the House of Vans at Waterloo.
The Poetry School’s Mixed Borders project gave each poet a different Open Space in London, some of which are not usually open to the public. A secret garden, a wild garden, an allotment, a garden on the roof of a bank. Others were better known gardens on the sites of derelict churches and a tiny park.
In true democratic style we had had to write thirty words in support of our choice and I had been lucky enough to get Postman’s Park, a tiny oasis in the heart of the City of London.
We had met just once before in May when we had attended a course at the Poetry School with Julia Bird and co, aimed at inspiring our garden poetry. But we had shared updates of our progress on the Poetry School’s on-line site CAMPUS..
The range of poems captured individual passions and explored the natural diversity that London Open spaces maintain. There were poems about plants, flowers, people and historical settings, One poem featured a hundred year old cat! A wonderful cornucopia of poems and a pleasure to hear them all for the first time.
I loved the mini residency in Postman’s Park, the research before the event, talking with the volunteers, tourists and other visitors. Sitting in the sun under a tree most of the weekend writing poems and getting new inspiration from just being there, was a unique and fulfilling experience.
So thank you to Julia Bird at the Poetry School and Sarah Hesketh from the London Parks and Gardens Trust for arranging the whole thing.
Thanks also to all my fellow poets for their kindness, enthusiasm and their poems.
There is a ‘Flicky Book’ with some of the poems on the Poetry School’s online CAMPUS site produced by Julia. The site is free to join and a good resource for poets.
Talking peace in our cities is part of the UK’s leading peacebuilding charity. International Alert and the Festival brought together photo and art exhibitions, talks, pop up restaurants, poetry and many other innovative ideas.