Writing Poetry in Castleton

“When you write poetry, imagine looking through a small window. Focus on just one aspect of the scene,” advised Alison Riley on a recent  ‘Poetry Stroll and Write’ which I stumbled upon whilst on holiday in Castleton, in the Peak District.

, viewed from the edge of Castleton (Derbyshir...

As I’ve said before, I am not a poet but anything remotely writing orientated always grabs my attention, so whilst my husband took himself off for a walk, I joined the poetry session.

Alison was full of good advice.

Whenever I attempt a poem I immediately start worrying about its form – rhyming? free verse? sonnet? etc.  Alison suggested that I forget all of this and instead let myself go with some free writing about what was around us.

“Don’t worry about form or rhyme,” she said. “That can all come later.”

I managed some disjointed phrases about the mountain rescue van parked nearby. It definitely wasn’t poetry but Alison reckoned that with a bit of polishing it could become a reasonable poem.

Alison then showed us the poem ‘Resolution‘ by Jo Bell. It’s about Castleton at New Year and, sitting there in the quaint old village where it was written, it was extremely evocative.  I began to feel that maybe I too could write a poem and, back in our rented cottage, I did. It’s about the ‘coffin route’ from Edale to Castleton (before there was a church in Edale, the corpses had to be carried over the hill into the next town for burial) – at the moment it’s just a rough version in my notebook but maybe one day I’ll dare to bring out into the light of day…

Thanks for the inspiration, Alison!

Alison Riley organises the Derbyshire Stanza of the Poetry Society.

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  1. #1 by Julia on August 7, 2012 - 8:46 am

    Castleton is one of my favourite places in all the land. I reckon anyone not moved by its fabulousness has no soul! I hope you’ll let us see your poem when it’s finished.

  2. #3 by alisonriley on August 7, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Hi Sally – Glad you enjoyed the poetry session, it was lovely to meet you and get creative for an hour. You came up with some lovely observations. I’d echo Julia’s request – poetry’s for sharing! Alison

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on August 7, 2012 - 11:20 am

      Thanks for dropping by, Alison. As for the poem – I need to polish it a bit (or a lot!) first.

  3. #5 by susanjanejones on August 7, 2012 - 4:43 pm

    Hi Sally, poetry is all about connecting and communicating, we’d all love to see your poem, go on, post it up, you know you want to:)))) Sounds great. Would do for a halloween spooky one maybe…

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on August 7, 2012 - 5:51 pm

      I’m trying to make it sad not spooky, Susan. Imagine having to put the body of loved one on the back of a horse and send it over the hill into the next village for burial. It must have been heartbreaking.

      • #7 by susanjanejones on August 7, 2012 - 6:39 pm

        Yes, would have been horrendous, glad we live now and not then.

  4. #8 by Julia on August 7, 2012 - 5:54 pm

    Sorry, Sally. I seem to have started something. Don’t feel obliged! 🙂

    • #9 by Sally Jenkins on August 7, 2012 - 6:06 pm

      I’m starting to panic, Julia, and feeling a huge amount of pressure!

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