Having written a song cycle for the historic Weavers’ Cottages in Kidderminster, I’m keen for these unique houses to be owned by people who care about the heritage as much as I do.
The three separate properties will be sold by auction on 12th September – click here for details. The one on the right, No 22, is a rare example of a cottage specifically built to house a weaver. The top floor is light and spacious, designed as a work space which contained the loom. We know that the middle property was once a sweet shop because of the sign which is faintly visible above the ground floor window.
Not many people can say that a song cycle has been written about their home! Here’s a link to recordings of the songs, together with poems and stories written by 4 other writers after a workshop I ran as part of a series of activities organised by Worcestershire Building Preservation Trust.
There’s a poem version of one of my songs which you can hear in this interactive film by James McDonald. You can move around inside the cottages using your computer mouse. The film is one of several made by James which I find quite addictive.
The songs will be available soon as a resource for young people, linking them to their own local history. There will be an online publication with the song lyrics, poems and stories, and the songs will be on a CD. This was a hugely rewarding project to be involved in, with a truly lasting legacy.
If you click the link below you will find stories and poems by Margaret E Green, Sharon Cartwright, Kathy Gee and Maggie Doyle written as a result of my workshop for the Weavers’ Cottages restoration project in Kidderminster. My commissioned songs are there too, performed by Sue Pope and myself, recorded by Diabolus in Musica.
To mark 100 years since the formation of the Women’s Institute, poetry workshops are taking place across Worcestershire. These are part of an outreach project to create poems for a new art installation at Croome Court from November. Of the poems written by members of 16 different and diverse groups, 100 will be chosen to be included in the installation, and poets are, where possible, writing about the experiences of a female relative during WW1. Participants are being asked to do a little research and bring in mementos, photographs, old family recipes etc about their chosen WW1 woman for inspiration. The workshops are facilitated by either myself or Gloucestershire Poet Laureate, Brenda Read-Brown.
Yesterday I ran one of these workshops for Worcester Writers’ Circle at The Hive in Worcester. I really enjoyed working with the 7 poets who attended and was very pleased with the quality of the poems which emerged during the day.
On the morning of Thursday 16th June I’ll be running a similar workshop in Bewdley as part of Worcestershire Literary Festival. If you’re interested in attending, look out for further information http://worcslitfest.co.uk/
Here’s the feedback from yesterday’s session:
“Excellent workshop Heather, it has given me a new view and incentive to my poetry.”
“Thank you, Heather, for helping to clarify my muddle lines of poetry and for running such a productive and enjoyable workshop.”
“Smashing workshop – good original activities to describe and to “do” focusing the mind on specifics. Great facilitation and encouragement throughout.”
“The combination of the facilitator and the participants seemed to produce some magic from everyone. Thank you, Heather.”
“Very good & enjoyable. A catalyst for thought & further poems.”
“Thoroughly enjoyable session. Good direction; friendly, pertinent advice. We all produced a piece of work.”
I’m very pleased to be the Gallery 202 Featured Artist for October. Their invitation gave me the chance to create an overview of my work through 10 specific pieces and I’m delighted with how it looks http://www.gallery202.co.uk/#!featuredartist/c1rbz
One of the pieces up there is Halloween Nightmare which I wrote and recorded years ago. It gets several airings at this time every year and people often tell me how much they enjoy hearing it again. On Monday evening 8.00-10.00 Radio Wildfire will be streaming a Halloween special and since my name is on the playlist, I’m assuming my exaggerated tale of doorstep horrors will be included there too http://radiowildfire.com/ There is a poem of mine, Iron Men, currently playing in the Radio Wildfire Loop as part of a surprising mix of words and music.
Finally here’s a plug for my event in Kidderminster next week. One of the tasks undertaken by The Worcestershire Poet Laureate is to put on an event on National Poetry Day so, in collaboration with Worcestershire LitFest and the Museum of Carpet, I will be presenting Light and Shade, Thursday 8th October, featuring a number of talented Worcestershire poets.
It’s true, I did waffle. Perhaps using that word in a press interview wasn’t a great idea, but it made me laugh afterwards. And yes, I’ve milked it for all it’s worth and refer to it in the last line of my poem below which I hope you enjoy. The article doesn’t mention Worcestershire LitFest so here’s a link to their website http://worcslitfest.co.uk/. Here’s to the next twelve months!
Poet laureate’s promise
For a whole year
is poetically mine!
I could strut sonnets in Stourport
Hand out haikus in Hartlebury
Tinker with triolets in Tenbury Wells
Swan through Kidderminster kicking kennings
Conjure couplets in Cookley
Polish pantoums in Pershore
Dig up doggerel in Droitwich
Blurt out blank verse in Bewdley
and bawl ballads in Bromsgrove
Exclaim elegies in Evesham
Forage for free verse in Fairfield
Offer odes in Ombersley
Recite rondeaux in Redditch
Initiate idylls in Inkberrow
Lurk with limericks in Lickey …
My stanzas could spring up anywhere;
there’ll be a poetic kerfuffle.
And one thing I promise the Worcestershire folk:
my poems will never be waffle.
© Heather Wastie
If you want to know how the Worcestershire Poet Laureate and I have coincided over the last few weeks … Croome Court, Mouth and Music, and our own show “How do Wars Start” … do read this:
NOW AVAILABLE FOR BOOKINGS!
How do wars start
by Heather Wastie & Fergus McGonigal
A Dummies’ Guide to Starting a War, a nameless hand puppet, mother’s advice, song references, borders and disputes over a carpet, poetry which rhymes or doesn’t, plus music and blowing up balloons …. entertaining and interactive; 30 minutes of answers.
Commissioned by Kidderminster Arts Festival 2014
“Very clever use of words and everyday phrases to dramatic effect. A totally unique slant on the question asked.”
Worcestershire Poet Laureate Emeritus, Maggie Doyle
“Very moving and thought provoking”
“Love the “Facebook” duet”
More info and photos here