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Poetic Spurn: Celebration Event and Exhibition, Wednesday 20th November

There’s only a few days to go until our Poetic Spurn celebration event and exhibition launch…
Poetic Spurn Celebration Event

POETIC SPURN: REWILDING OUR WRITING – Exhibition Launch and Project Celebration
4-6pm, Wednesday 20th November, Spurn Discovery Centre, Spurn Road, Kilnsea, Hull HU12 0UH. 01964 650144.

POETIC SPURN: REWILDING OUR WRITING is an exhibition of poems inspired by the landscapes and wildlife of Spurn. It is an outcome of the pilot mini-programme of creative writing events that took place over the autumn. The project aimed at unlocking and sharing the power of language to inspire an emotional and enduring connection with the natural world, broadening and encouraging public engagement with Spurn, and encouraging participants and visitors to develop their skills, confidence and enjoyment in writing creatively about nature. Spurn is a unique and special place, which is reflected in these wonderful poems.

Presented by Spurn’s poet-in-residence Aly Stoneman (Nottingham Trent University) and Spurn Heritage Officer Andrew Mason (Yorkshire Wildlife Trust), the early evening celebration event in The Discovery Centre Cafe will feature a preview of printed poems and digital material from the POETIC SPURN: REWILDING OUR WRITING exhibition, and readings from POETIC SPURN participants, including poets Julie Corbett (whose writing has been commissioned by the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival), Clint Wastling, Liz Holt, David Osgerby, Shane Blades, and Easington CofE Primary Academy pupils.

POETIC SPURN: REWILDING OUR WRITING exhibition of work opens Saturday 23rd November in Spurn Lighthouse, and runs until the end of March 2020 (open 11am-3pm Saturday and Sunday). For details, please call Spurn Discovery Centre on 01964 650144.

The project was supported by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, The Arts and Humanities Research Council, Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, and Nottingham Trent University.

Free parking in the YWT public carpark opposite the centre after 3.45pm that day. Refreshments will be available.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact:
Andy Mason –  andrew.mason (at) ywt.org.uk 01964 650144
Aly Stoneman –  alyson.stoneman2007 (at) my.ntu.ac.uk

 

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Poetic Spurn: Spurn Autumn Arts Festival, 19th & 20th October


Part of my role with YWT at Spurn has involved assisting with the Spurn Autumn Arts Festival, now in its second year. On Thursday 17th October, Andy and I were invited onto Joe Hakim’s Culture Show on BBC Radio Humberside to promote the festival, and there was plenty to talk about, with a range of events taking place over the weekend in the Discovery Centre including our Poetic Spurn programme alongside trips to Spurn Lighthouse in the Unimog, live music  from local folk musicians and Beverley Pipe Band, and talks from Spurn’s resident artists Chris Heard and Sarah Dew.

On Saturday, I ran a drop-in poetry postcard workshop ‘Hello From Spurn Poetry Postcards’ in the marquee. Participant’s contributions will form part of the poetry exhibition in November. Participants were invited to compose an acrostic poem inspired by their visit(s) to Spurn nature reserve, pin it to the postcard board and make a copy to send out into the world to help share and conserve those wild words for nature.

We also held two poetry readings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. On Saturday, three Easington Academy pupils – Sophie, Mathilda, and Curtis – came along with their families and with Mrs Verity, Head of School, to read their Spurn poems on stage. They were absolute stars and received a well-deserved round of applause. Two locally-based poets, Dave Osgerby and Shane Blades, also read at the event, and it was a real pleasure to meet them and hear some of their poems.

On Sunday, we had readings from more Poetic Spurn Poets – Julie Corbett, Liz Holt, Glynis Charlton and Gina Hobbs, who shared the poems they wrote during the ‘Rewilding Our Writing’ workshop earlier in October. It was great to hear the finished poems and some of their other work, and fantastic that they were able to come over to the event. Afterwards, we finally had that sit down with coffee and cake we’ve been planning.

The next event will be a project celebration on Wednesday 20th November (4-6pm) at Spurn Discovery Centre, when participants will come together to share their Poetic Spurn poems and launch the exhibition (free event, all welcome).

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Poetic Spurn: ‘Rewilding Our Writing’ Workshop, 5 October

Are we losing the words to describe our wild encounters in the natural world? One of the key principles of rewilding is the aim of reconnecting people with the wonder of nature, as well as restoring and conserving natural processes, ecosystems and endangered species. The aim of today’s workshop was to explore the value of ‘wild words’ and writing in a wild setting to inspire an emotional and enduring connection with the natural world.

Rewilding Our Writing at Spurn L-R: Liz Holt; Julie Corbett; Clint Wastling; Gina Hobbs. Picture credit: Aly Stoneman

I met my fellow ‘wild poets’ in Spurn Discovery Centre’s Education Room, where we introduced ourselves over tea and biscuits: Hull poets Julie Corbett and Liz Holt; Gina Hobbs, editor at Holderness Gazette; and Clint Wastling, a Holderness-based writer, who introduced some of the gorgeous language of geology into our discussions. It was great to put faces to names, as we were all emailing back and forth before the event. Julie, who I first contacted through New Writing North, runs Hull Stanza and has been amazingly supportive of the Poetic Spurn project, putting me in touch with a host of local writers and organisations.

Spurn Rewilding Our Writing

Rewilding Our Writing at Spurn. Photo credit: Aly Stoneman

We started with a writing icebreaker, writing tweet length, haiku or acrostic poems inspired by favourite words for nature that we each brought along. Andrew Mason, Heritage Officer at Spurn, led a guided walk around part of the site, looking at the plants, habitat and tidal forces at Spurn. After warming up with hot drinks and lunch in the Discovery Centre cafe, we headed back outside to do some writing at different spots around the reserve, before coming together to share our work and discuss our experiences at the end of the session. There is real joy in granting yourself time to write, and everyone seemed to get a lot from the day. I’m looking forward to hearing the finished pieces at Spurn Autumn Arts Festival (Saturday and Sunday 19th and 20th of October).

Thanks also to Holderness Gazette for the excellent article about the day.

Rewilding Our Writing, Saturday 5 October

Rewilding Our Writing, Saturday 5 October 11am-2.30pm

 

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Poetic Spurn: Wild Truths on National Poetry Day, Thursday 3 October 

Andy Mason and Aly Stoneman with Easington pupils.

This week I have been working onsite at Spurn and in the nearby village of Easington with Heritage Officer Andrew Mason from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. 

Andy and I had a brilliant National Poetry Day, working with Easington CofE Primary Academy pupils to create poems celebrating the natural world, inspired by The Lost Words, a stunning book of poetry and illustrations by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. The pupils welcomed us into school by reading us poems, and were keen to point out a roe deer, visible from the classroom window.

We interpreted this year’s National Poetry Day theme of ‘truth’ as bearing witness to environmental issues that affect us all.  Years 1-6 Pupils wrote and performed poems inspired by Spurn, following a school visit to the nature reserve earlier this term. We wrote list poems about beach cleans and acrostic poems evoking plants, animals and special places we saw at Spurn. The children also shared their work with the rest of the school in assembly and with their families, and made audio recordings and videos of themselves performing their poems.

Easington CofE Primary Academy Pupils, National Poetry Day workshop.

Mrs Kerry Verity, Head of School, Easington CofE Primary Academy: ‘The children have been very engaged and inspired by their visit to Spurn Point and then having the opportunity to produce their own poems working with Aly. They have been very creative and their range of vocabulary and expression has increased as a result of their experience. They have loved the project.’

We also had an excellent write up in the Holderness gazette.


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Welcome: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Aly Stoneman is a poet and AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities PhD researcher writing about the British coast, focusing on changes related to sea-level, erosion and other coastal processes.

She was founding poetry editor at LeftLion Magazine, promoting Nottingham’s poetry scene, and a winner of the Buxton Poetry Prize. Aly has read at Copenhagen International Poetry Festival and Ledbury, and her poems recently appeared in Liquidscapes, New Walk, Under The Radar, and Dawn of the Unread. Lost Lands, her debut pamphlet, explored personal interactions with the natural world.

Aly is based with our team at Spurn Discovery Centre, developing a pilot mini-programme of poetry activities and events during October and November as part of Spurn Autumn Arts Festival and programme. Writing workshops in the community during October focused on reconnecting with nature through the power of language and ‘re-wilding our writing’, taking place in Easington Primary Academy on National Poetry Day and at Spurn Discovery Centre.

The project will culminate in an exhibition at Spurn Lighthouse from the 23rd of November until March 2020 (open weekends 11am-3pm). A launch event and preview will take place on Wednesday 20th November 4-6pm at Spurn Discovery Centre, with readings from project participants. The event is free and open to everyone.

If you live in the East Riding Area and would be interested in contributing a poem inspired by Spurn to the poetry postcard exhibition, “Hello from Poetic Spurn”, Aly would love to hear from you! Please contact her directly at alyson.stoneman2007@my.ntu.ac.uk.

 

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Poet at Spurn

Rewilding Our Writing, Saturday 5 October

Rewilding Our Writing, Saturday 5 October 11am-2.30pm

Poet at Spurn – yes, that’s me! I am the latest in a long line of writers and artists to have been inspired and captivated by the open landscape, massive skies and seascapes of Spurn. The first time I visited the area, a couple of years ago, I was fascinated by the rich biodiversity and history of the nature reserve, the Humber estuary and surrounding area, and the way the land-and-waterscape shifts almost minute to minute. I’m a PhD researcher based in the School of English at Nottingham Trent University, writing a critical and creative thesis looking at representations of coastal change in contemporary poetry. Where better to base myself than Spurn? Yorkshire Wildlife Trust kindly agreed, and over the next few months I will be working with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at Spurn Discovery Centre to run a pilot poetry project as part of their Autumn Arts Festival. (So exciting!)

If you live in the East Riding Area and would be interested in contributing a poem inspired by Spurn and the local area/coastline/wildlife, or reading at an event, I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me directly at alyson.stoneman2007@my.ntu.ac.uk

The programme launches with a poetry workshop at Easington Primary Academy on Thursday 3 October – National Poetry Day. Here is an outline of the public poetry events in the programme (October and November 2019):

Poetic Landscapes of Spurn: ‘Rewilding Our Writing’ Poetry Workshop
Saturday 5th October, 11am-2.30pm (Suitable for ages 16+)
Join Yorkshire Wildlife Trust poet Aly Stoneman at Spurn Discovery Centre for a friendly, informal poetry workshop inspired by the coastal habitat and wildlife at Spurn. Please bring a couple of your favourite words for nature, which could include regional and local dialect names for creatures and plants. The session will include an outdoor writing activity, weather permitting!
£6.00/£4.00 Non-members/members
Please visit our website and book on 01904 659570 or online: https://www.ywt.org.uk/events/2019-10-05-poetic-landscapes-spurn

Spurn Arts Festival at Spurn Discovery Centre, Spurn Road, Kilnsea, Hull HU12 0UH
Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October, Spurn Discovery Centre 11.30-4.30pm (£6)
A weekend of live music, arts and activities for families. Includes a drop-in family poetry workshop with Spurn’s resident poet Aly Stoneman 11.30-12.30pm on Saturday and poetry readings from Poetic Landscapes of Spurn project by Aly Stoneman and guests from 3.15-4pm on Saturday and 2pm-2.45pm on Sunday.Please visit our website and book on 01904 659570 or online: https://www.ywt.org.uk/events/2019-10-19-spurn-autumn-arts-festival-day-1

Poetic Landscapes of Spurn Celebration Event and Exhibition Launch, 4-6pm, Weds 20 November at Spurn Discovery Centre
Poetry Readings and film showing from Poetic Landscapes of Spurn pilot poetry programme, including work by Easington CoE Primary Academy pupils. Includes launch of the Poetic Landscapes of Spurn exhibition at Spurn Lighthouse from November 2019–March 2020. Refreshments available. Advance booking required.

The project is supported by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership and the AHRC, and Nottingham Trent University.

I’d just like to say a quick thanks to YWT (particularly Andrew Mason, my line manager) and Mrs Verity at Easington Primary Academy for being so welcoming, supportive and enthusiastic – I’m not going to want to leave (no, really. Going to have to drag me out of here!). Thanks also to Sophie Koranteng at New Writing North and Imelda Malkin at Hornsea Library (East Riding Libraries) for your advice and help.

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A drop in the ocean

I know my writing (and, indeed, my life) is just “a drop in the ocean”, ‘but what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?’ (David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas). On this day of global Climate Strike protests, I’d like to share one of my poems about sea level rise that has just been published in Liquidscapes by Art.Earth

SEA LEVEL RISE ON AN INTERACTIVE MAP
Aly Stoneman

Start at sea level and hit the up arrow –

dark blue engulfs Great Yarmouth
and Poole, then London, awash
from Canvey Island to Canary Wharf.

Or navigate home, reckon
the sea’s surge
over Domesday farmland,

outflanking you
click by click
to the threshold of your house,

your tongue slipping
on names sunk in sediment
and brackish water.

Your home means nothing to that future

of eroding cliffs, toppling pylons,
tree stumps at low tide;
decaying roads to no-place.

The sea sends
harbinger gulls inland.
We tread the high paths.

At sixty metres, we’re islands of National Park.

 

Note: ‘Sea level rise will continue beyond 2100 even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C […]’ (IPCC Special Report, 2018) and could rise 0.5m-2m this century, depending on global emissions. See also: ‘What the World Would Look Like if All the Ice Melted’, National Geographic, September 2013. The potential effects of global sea level change on coastal areas and communities can be seen on this interactive map: http://www.floodmap.net

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