The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Tarts, sheds and the end of the world

A slightly delayed blog as I’ve been on the road –the wet, spray-covered road with big pools of water at the sides and thunder at both ends. This morning the weatherman cleared his throat nervously, like one who fears being lynched. Turned out it was going to rain…. On the Maxonian rain scale we started at about force 6 – ‘coming down in stair rods,’ went on to force 8 – ‘birds fall sodden from trees; small children dissolve entirely,’ and ended just short of force 11 – ‘bloody hell, I think this might be the end of the world.’

I’ve been doing my bit at Ledbury Poetry Festival – the finest, longest, deepest and best in England. Rain there was about force 3 – ‘cobbles become treacherous’ – so I slithered my way up Church Lane to see Shedman, aka John Davies. His poem-festooned shed is set up in a courtyard and he draws in famous poets, passers-by and children to talk about sheds – on film. Here he is (above) with the marvellous Northumbrian poet Katrina Porteous. We’ve already hosted Vicki Feaver, Jean Sprackland, Ian Duhig, John Agard and others – but there is lots more to come including a performance by Polarbear and John Berkavitch on Friday. In hospitality a TV showed the Wimbledon final, whose winner brings to mind the Ogden Nash poem about a choirboy ‘with a bum like two jellies on springs.’

Before the first meeting of the Companion Stones project in Bakewell, I went to find stones from a related project with my mum (below). I’ve now been paired up with artist Kate Genever to work on a stone for Longshaw, near Hathersage. Afterwards I popped in to the original Bakewell Pudding shop (for in their homeland they are puddings, not tarts) to purchase an eponymous pudding. They look like cowpats but are things of great splendour.

National Poetry Day posters are now being sent to all who want one. Visit the NPD website to order some soon – administrator Lindsay has 20,000 of them in her garage and is keen to clear some floor space!

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2008 by in Writing exercises and tagged , , , .
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