A new year and old friends.

The scene outside may be a little bleak but it has been a very cheery start to the 2018 as I start to make contact again with poets I knew during my bookselling days in Ulverston. There was a lot of literary activity in the town at the time with South Cumbria Playwrights having their work performed regularly on stage and on Radio Cumbria; the launching of Word Market – a literature festival which ran for nearly ten years; and A Poem and A Pint, founded as an event to coincide with National Poetry Day and still running successfully today.  The format for a Poem and A Pint hasn’t changed since the very first in which I was involved, in about 1998.  The evening comprised a reading from an invited guest poet , an open mic slot for all comers, and a musical interlude.  Guest poets in the early days included John Fox (I think he was the very first Poem and a Pint guest), Christopher Pilling, Jacob Polley, Neil Curry, Dickon Abbott and Emma McGordon.  Gradually the net widened.  I remember a truly magical evening with Jack Mapanje.  Of equal significance however was the voice it gave to new Cumbrian poets.  Poets who are now receiving national recognition – Jenny Copley, Kim Moore, Kerry Darbishire and Geraldine Green for example.  I could list so many more and I am really look forward to representing them in our new anthology of Cumbrian Poetry.

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