‘Work,’ I said to my man as he brought the cup of sustaining to my bedside, having flawlessly observed my flickering eyelids at no later than the crack of nine-thirty ‘is a four-letter word.’
Here at Pitshanger Poets we work at our art. More than one warmly-welcomed newbie to the group has noted how unusual it is to hold a workshop every week. Monthly is the highest frequency most groups seem able to sustain. Not that we are boasting, of course, there have been groups with a higher cadence. We learn that the long-lived Helpston Poetry Workshop, held during the nineteenth century in the tiny village of the same name near Peterborough ran daily. This was helped no doubt by the fact that its most famous member, the rural poet John Clare, was so prolific, but perhaps hindered by the lesser-known aspect that the other members of the group were all sheep.
The theme of work recurred through tonight’s workshop. Nick Barth has returned to the Anderton Boat Lift in Northwich, Cheshire and was hugely affected by the presence of herons on the canal. John Hurley brought us a poem about a man of no fixed workplace or abode. Martin Choules has written a new poem on a favoured theme, the folly of those who would proscribe language, Academie Francais and Daily Mail take note! James Priestman has revised his prose-poem about Joseph and the lie in the heart of the sojourn to Egypt. Caroline Am Bergris described the pain at the heart of a dark and possibly delicious relationship. Peter Francis returned to the theme of work with the story of a girl at Robert Owen’s New Lanark Mill. Finally Helen Baker has been observed. some Couts working hard at raising children.
How many poems should we aim to write a month, a day, a week? We need to know. If you have been, thank you for reading.