Denaby Ings to Sprotbrough with Helen Mort for the Ted Hughes Project



Helen Mort

It’s been a busy and varied poetry weekend. I went to hear two very innovative poets, Karen Mac Cormack and Steve Mccaffery, read at the Independent Book Fair at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield last night. It’s good to hear that sort of poetry – not narrative driven, sort of ‘outside the box’, at least in comparison to the work I normally encounter. Then today it was the poetry walk from Denaby Ings Nature Reserve, lead by Helen Mort. Helen gave some fine readings along the way and there was a lovely sense of friendship and community spirit which has become a trademark of the Ted Hughes Project. Hats off to them for keeping everything cheap and accessible. The main events are still to come, so check out their website for details.
Of course, although there was lots of natural beauty on the reserve (bee orchids, agrimony, a whole bank of hemlock) what took my eye was this old tree root behind a wire fence near the site of the former pit at Cadeby. There was a stock of new mattresses in the yard, wrapped in polythene but surely not immune to the weather, and in the top corner, a pile of old discarded ones. I don’t know if there’s a poem in that, but I think curiosity, the desire to look beyond the fence, is part of what drives us to create. Having said that, I’ll own up to having written very little this week, so I’ll leave you with the image of the tree root and try to get one with some writing.




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