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Poets Jacob Polley and Helen Mort return to Grasmere
TWO former Wordsworth Trust poets-in-residence who have gone on to establish themselves in the literary world return to the hallowed home of the Romantics next week.
The Grasmere trust’s poetry season continues its strong line-up of wordsmiths and welcomes Jacob Polley and Helen Mort on Tuesday, August 27 (7.30pm).
Carlisle-born Jacob Polley was resident in Grasmere in 2003, prior to the publication of his first collection The Brink. In 2009 Polley published his first novel, a moving coming of age story set in Carlisle, which captured beautifully the city’s speech rhythms. Towards the end of last year he brought out a third collection of poetry The Havocs, which made the shortlist for both the TS Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Once again the poem draw on memories of growing up in Carlisle, but they also go deeper into history, drawing on older traditions of poetry, such as Anglo-Saxon riddles.
Polley now lives in St Andrews, where he lectures in creative writing at the university.
Reading alongside Jacob is Helen Mort, who will be celebrating the publication of her first full-length collection Division Street. Helen was resident in 2011/12 and said she was very much looking forward to returning to Grasmere for the first time since the end of her residency. She added: “The publication of Division Street was a great moment for me and it wouldn’t have happened without the Wordsworth Trust.”
Following her trust residency Helen returned to her native Sheffield to study for a Phd but her literary reputation has continued to grow. A keen mountaineer and fell runner, Helen had a short residency in Banff, in Canada, last year, and is now working on a book about female mountaineers. More recently she has returned from Switzerland where she undertook a Grand Tour in the Footsteps of 19th Century explorer Jemima Morrell.
Helen’s first book of poems does draw on her love of mountains but it also draws on her youth in Sheffield. A long poem about the Miners’ Strike ‘Scab’ is particularly striking. Although too young to remember the actual strike, Helen has an uncanny feel for the legacy of it.
Trust literature officer Andrew Forster said it’s a great moment when poets the trust has nurtured return to with new publications. He added: “Both Helen and Jacob are great poets and good friends and it will be lovely to see them here again.’ The Wordsworth Trust’s fortnightly, Tuesday evening poetry gatherings are staged at Grasmere’s Daffodil Hotel. To book telephone 015394-35544.
Meanwhile, at the trust’s Jerwood Centre on Wednesday, September 25 (11am), wordsmiths Michael Schmidt and Peter Sansom read some of their favourite poems by poets from Carcanet’s famously varied stable, from Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery to Elizabeth Jennings, Jorie Graham, Gillian Clarke and Edwin Morgan. Newcomers and established favourites will feature, and audience requests, received a week before the event, will be welcome.
For further information telephone 015394-35544.
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