Literary Landscapes

I made a visit to the graveyard courtesy of an old friend. It’s a multicultural place just like Wool City of course. I tidied up, put in flowers – real ones, perused over graves of the golden oldies and tidied a few of them too.

It’s a pleasant day, cooler than the last few weeks. We took a walk amongst the stones. So many were of mighty people, with enough money to pay out for obelisks, huge Celtic crosses as befits  the once wealthiest town in the world. A section for Muslims and a small one for Jews, where there was a little synagogue. All ours are clustered together in one section too. Communities stay together through everything.

I don’t think there’s anything morose about death or discussing it – what you would like to happen, but then I was once a young Goth in the 80’s who thought it romantic to hang out by the Parsonage in Haworth, taking photos and doing rubbings of stones.

The last few days I have watched BFI films of the town I grew up in. It was once quite a slum in the centre. The number of mills present was astounding. How filthy it must have been. Now it is pleasantly green, and although it’s a busy, busy place and road pollution is high, the trees soak it all up and nature has found a way to come back.

What of the future of the old mill towns. Becoming green can only be the way, but til then, roads will be widened, houses built. Another mill burnt down in the early hours of this morning, fourteen fire engines were present. Grey smoke wafts in this direction, the main artery closed, causing chaos west of the city.

We must remember to keep writing, creating the stories, note happenings. Imagination and magic is all that is needed to breathe new life in to this old hell.

A trip to Whitby is on the cards – long time no see. That will appease more of my inner dark romantic! I wonder what it’s like to be a vampire and if there are any around here. So lucky to live in a rich literary landscape. And somewhere forever foreboding…



Progressive Poetry and a new festival in Yorkshire

I went to Cobbledy last week to listen to poets. There were many – around a hundred! A healthy turnout I would say. Mostly from Yorkshire.

I have much admiration for people who can stand up and perform their work, fill their poems with passion, expression and yes, make it poetry. The audience was cosy in both venues, a small group of people, keen to listen and  take part over the weekend. All very appreciative, all good listeners. It was really nice to see poetry alive and welcoming, It was good to hear empathy, anger, humour.

I couldn’t help but notice  that most of what I heard was nostalgic, reminiscent of old times – whether good or bad. So much was wonderfully working class – highly emotive, political – a blend of the mad, bad and funny.

I wondered if we were all hankering after a past which felt more empowering. It was, but only just. Our power was beginning to slide. We found ways to cling on to the good memories among the debris.

As I walked back down the cobbles I recalled the time spent in the old school room at parent and toddler group and how a few of us decided that something else was needed. We were a little bit forward thinking and created the very first under 5’s Woodcraft Folk group, hoping for a better way for our kids, an improved, progressive future.

What role does poetry have to play in our society today. I am always in search of the Fridas and Diegos. The artists who are not afraid of political expression. Over the weekend at this festival I heard such artists, unafraid to express their feelings, observations, experiences about the shafting of the working class, about racism, inequality and of course plenty of word play, clever twists and turns of lines.

Words are powerful. Poets know it. Be Frida. Be Diego.

What of futuristic poetry – it exists today. There was a movement in literature in the early part of the 20th century which started in Italy, all to do with futurism. We can create our kind in the 21st. The Brontes were futurists to, in their era, and their legacy still inspires us today.




I wrote about this graveyard in The Book Ghosts. DSCF0482

Bronte Society News

Good news today from the Society! Dame Judy Dench is the new honorary president. I am very pleased to hear this and believe it bodes well for the organisation, along with a positive future of literary events about all things Bronte.

Having been a member since my return to West Yorkshire, I have thoroughly enjoyed going to  the Parsonage and Haworth to attend many things.










Don’t miss  bicentenary celebrations for Charlotte this year. Exhibitions, events and residencies are being held in Haworth and around the UK.

Details can be found here: The Bronte Parsonage