Inside the Poetry Kitchen

Another late blog this week – but it has been a busy one – including running a poetry workshop at the Landulph Festival of Music and Art.

As one of the organisers noted the Landulph Festival has been running for ten years and I have been associated with this festival for about eight years, ever since poetry was brought into the mix, however, this was the first time that I have run a poetry workshop there.

I chose The Poetry Kitchen as my title as food is such a superb metaphor for so many other things and as I taught ‘food tech and cookery’ for a number of years it seemed appropriate. I delved into the poetry collection ‘Eating Your Cake and Having It’ edited by Ann Gray ( a wonderful poet in her own right) for some  juicy examples, sprinkled in a few of my own and stirred plenty of other ingredients to inspire into the mix.

We loosened up out concepts by taking our poetry- baskets shopping into a surreal supermarket (as suggested by Mario Petrucci in another workshop) where I encouraged everyone to think of containers that they could carry their hearts desires home in, and then a list of those things they liked. The resultant poems were fun and interesting and gave us all permission to make unusual connections.

Of my group of five, four turned out not to be writers of poetry usually, but were artists. Though presenting more of a challenge they also brought such wonderful visual imagery and colour to their words that their poems were a delight.

The list of emotions that we linked in word-association speed with foods of all types provided another way to enter a poem, where such terms as ‘lime jealousy’ or ‘pavlova love’ were possible.

Then came the fruit A delicious plate of different fruits to cut, squash, peel, smell, taste, and all the time jotting down thoughts as we did so.

I loved the idea of the passion fruit as a ‘wrinkled dowager drenched in Chanel No5’ and ‘with her rich exotic memories’ that one of the group came up with, and the descriptions of the fig that came from another!

Finally we delved into recipe books to use the form of a recipe to structure our poems and here I used one of mine as an example – it comes from an old saying and a recipe combined.

‘Kissing is out of fashion when the gorse is out of bloom’

A Kiss on the Wild Side

I’ll gather the gorse flowers
sun sharp their scent stealing away my breath.
Fill my calico skirts with their acid brightness
carry them away, every one.
I’ll simmer them together with bruised ginger
with see-through orange peel
with pounds of sugar,
then let it cool
to a rational temperature.
I’ll add, less spice than I once would,
set the jar to stand in that still warm place
at the back of my mind,
and watch the seasons through,
watch the blooms come and come.
Then I’ll see if it’s true,
if I’m ready
to drink your wine.

In the evening the Liskeard Poets (to which I belong) gave a reading which was well received and was followed by an open-mike session where four out of my five new poets each read a couple of their new poems – to much acclaim!  All in all a pleasant evening was had by all.

Quick update for the FWT? cheerleaders – remained at 9.10 but a half inch drop in waist pulled in tight AND thighs are more toned – bought my first pair of skinny jeans last week too – so not unhappy about that !

So what were you up to last week? Did you learn any new skills? Try out any new hobbies? Do share, I love to hear from you.

 

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More Port Eliot Festival …..

Wow! What a great festival… the weather gave showers for the Friday but they soon cleared, and I ended up leaving my wellies in the car and favouring sandals all day.  So, if you’ve never been to Port Eliot Festival you have to know that most recently it was a Literary Festival with a wild past (known as Elephant Fayre in the 80s) that has now matured into a brilliant all round, family friendly festival, something for everyone, everyone pretty laid back and in such beautiful surroundings.

There is plenty of the literary festival still there with readings, discussions, interviews etc but is combined with music, to suit many tastes, wild swimming, cinema both in the house and at night down by the river, fashion, flower arranging, poetry, food from small Cornish frozen yoghurt business to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, cookery demonstrations, bars, comedy, cabaret, stalls, a whole area just for children to enter into a fantasy land of making  playing play acting, dressing up and doing wonderful stuff, wandering musicians, jugglers and dancers. Dovegreyreader (blog-site) even had a tent where you could sit while she did interviews and you could knit, should you wish to.

What did I notice… well people always dress a little differently when at Port Eliot (especially if they’ve visited the Fashion tent) and the stalls selling weird and wonderful hats, (vintage and modern) and the same in clothes attract a lot of people who obviously arrived and only then realised people treat the place like a big fancy dress event. Me? Well I went wearing one of my belly dance coin belts, over layered skirt and wrap and jingled my way about…. part of my reading included words describing a belly dance and so it was also a prop! Secondly… as I said the weather really didn’t need wellies…yet all through so many people were wearing their wellies (all sorts – multi-coloured to standard green or black)… even on the stage, as did Kate Winslet when she read to the children from Mr Gum … perhaps they didn’t bring any other footwear … it being a festival and all.

Our reading in the round room went well with nearly a capacity audience – everyone in bare or stockinged feet in there as have  to take your boots off at the door …. can’t wait for next year!

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Port Eliot Festival and Poetry

I’ve wanted to write a page on Poetry, but you know it has a funny effect on people. I suppose it is from forced poetry at school or something, but to me poetry has a life of its own. I know it has pursued me from about the age of nine when I realised that you could not only learn poems but you could also write stuff that had rhythm and rhyme. I blame my mother… though that should be praise, she could, and would, recite ‘The Lady of Shallot’, or great swathes of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ off by heart. I learnt large sections of these two and Cargoes and my long time favourite GK Chesterton’s Rolling English Road.

Poetry has got me a free weekend ticket to the Port Eliot festival these last 3 years.. that’s amazing enough. What is even better this is because we perform at this festival and people who are not related to us, nor are our friends, come and listen! How magic is that!

This year we took as our theme Elephants, from the crest of the Lords of St Germans (who own the Port Eliot estate) and Castles.

We perform in the Round room, an acoustic gem where if you stand under the central chandelier there is no need of amplification, and which is painted all round by the late Robert Lenkiewicz in a weird and wonderful montage.

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Welcome to my Blog

I decided it was about time I started a blog… after all I’ve been writing one in my head for ages.

I didn’t realise how tricky finding a title for my blog was going to be, I considered many pithy and wise sounding names, only to find others had the same idea before me. I considered a list, ‘my blog on writing novels, keeping chickens and goats, sand sculpting, body-boarding, slate-ware, belly-dancing , cake-decorating, poetry and life….’ Too long winded I thought, but that’s what its going to be about. My life and my passions within in it…. so welcome to

Ann Foweraker – Publishing my novels and other Passions

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