Hot on the heels of my fluffed-up reading in Oxford (see previous post), I drove up to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire for the launch of Templar Poetry‘s 2013 anthology, Peloton. I say “I drove up” but in fact it was my kind and encouraging husband, Andrew, who did the driving, and our two children, Kitty, 14, and Johnny, 12, came along for support.
Templar Poetry run several excellent competitions each year, including the Templar Poetry Pamphlet & Collection Awards for which I submitted twenty poems. Although I haven’t won the competition (needless to say, you would have heard the blog bells ringing deliriously if I had) two of the poems included in my submission have been selected, along with the work of 50 other competition entrants, for publication in the annual Templar anthology. Cue pictures of this very smart book. Also pictures of a racing bicycle since the word peloton describes the main pack of riders in a road bicycle race. I suppose the poets in Peloton are the ones who didn’t surge forward to win the race… Nonetheless, I’m delighted to be part of this pack and proud to be in the anthology.
The book was launched, along with other new Templar titles, at the Derwent Poetry Festival in the beautiful setting of Masson Mills, Matlock Bath. Here’s a picture of the mill building and one of the gorgeous hand-painted signs that led festival goers in the right direction. I have to say that the art work and production values in all of Templar’s books are stunning. These are books to read, treasure and keep on display.
I was going to write a few words about the Festival itself but I’ve discovered that Gareth Prior, who has two excellent poems in the anthology including a fine sonnet about the 1972 chess game between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky (what a fantastic idea for poetry – I hope Gareth’s writing a sequence) has written a terrific blog post here, which really captures the atmosphere of the weekend.
I’ll end by saying that I wished I’d planned better and stayed longer at the Festival. I managed to attend a fascinating and inspiring talk given by Jane Weir about the lives and creative work of the modernist textile designers and makers, Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to poetry by some of this year’s anthologists. I particularly liked Jessica Traynor’s poem, dedicated “to the women of the Stanhope Street Magdalene Laundry” and my 12-year-old son’s favourite was a poem by Ruth McRoy’s in Scots dialect. I wish I’d been able to stay longer.
Finally, this is what happens when you give your phone to your teenage kids and ask them to take a photo of their mum reading a poem – but they did come good in the end!