Florence Cox is the winner of our Aldeburgh ‘Pronto’ Competition. Congratulations! Congratulations also to three runners-up Patricia Wooldridge, Michael Hutchinson, and Roger West.
We’re back from the beach, having had a brilliant time at the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival – talking to the audience, sidling up to possible new poet-tutors, and enjoying some fantastic readings. Ben Rogers, our poet in residence, dashed from reading to beach to event to happening, and he’s picked up a wealth of stories and experiences which he’s working up into a report for you now.
We ran an instant poetry competition during the Festival, announcing the theme on Friday night, accepting entries until Sunday lunchtime then announcing the results at Sunday teatime. The theme was ‘The Aldeburgh Poem’ (plenty of room for anything in there!), and we had lots of interest – thank you to all entrants. Florence, our winner, has won a £50 Poetry School voucher, and the runners-up’s Poetry School tote bags are in the post.
Congratulations to all, and thank you once again to Poetry in Aldeburgh for having us.
The Last Gift
by Florence Cox
By chance his name came up during dinner.
‘Six months at most’ they said.
My fork stopped.
To give a pot of English marmalade –
conserve of happiness – seemed trivial then.
Arms that had once hauled nets hung down like sticks,
the blue tattoos too bright.
His huge and generous world had shrunk
to a stool behind the fish stall,
the tarry grottoes of his lungs too heavy now
to stand for long.
At night I imagine us oblivious,
lying in the bottom of his boat,
adrift on the slate-grey sea.
Aurora at Aldeburgh
by Patricia Wooldridge
This edge of sunrise
begins in now, when wraithes
of sea exhale,
hang alongside our
stone crush steps –
a sinuous see-through stocking
rising in chords of silence
to shiver our standing still,
when the sea quietens
in crushed sateen –
a stone’s throw from beyond
pitched in the mouth of weather.
View From Under Foot
by Michael Hutchinson
I joined the orchestra as a hip-bone-
shaped flint, but in the first grand smash
was fractured, then rolled, roiled and reduced.
Much of me’s lost to sand. In this band,
I clatter, making my peculiar music, percuission
in the score of the shore. Round, fist-sized
now, I’m so small I can score uninjured
on any wall or groyne. Gossip’s going round
about another storm. Nothing can hurt me now.
Sonnet Workshop, Aldeburgh, Friday Afternoon
by Roger West
When I fill in official forms that ask me for my profession,
I put ‘POET’ in the box though it feels like a confession.
And then the qualifying query, oh so unforgiving:
By ‘profession’ we do of course mean how you make a living.
It’s not a living in those terms of financially achieving –
But it’s a living, it’s a loving, it’s a laughing, it’s a breathing.
And to process my application and progress a decision
I’m asked to subcategorise, to provide precision.
Bard or Beat or Balladeer or Metaphysicist.
Doodle or Haikoodler – choose one from the list.
But thanks to my Aldeburgh workshop, I can be more clear;
In the box maked ‘PROFESSION’, I write boldly ‘SONNETEER’.