Poets by the Lake

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Poets being shown around the plant room, Theatre by the Lake

Tuesday March 26th saw the beginning of an exciting project at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, Cumbria.

Seven emerging poets spent a fascinating afternoon exploring the theatre and speaking to people who worked there, in many of its different departments. The tour led us from centre-stage surrounded by the set of the current production (Rogue Herries), to the plant room hidden away at the back of the building. From the very public, to the very private – the afternoon was eye-opening and intriguing.

Equally interesting were the stories of the theatre’s various employees, which were as different as the jobs they perform, many of which caught the imagination of at least a couple of the poets.

The day ended for some with a great spread of ‘nibbles’ (a description which rather undervalued the amount of food present), put on by Bob and his catering team. Then four of the poets stayed on to watch that evening’s performance of Rogue Herries.

It was a fascinating day, and I’m sure will provide plenty of inspiration for all the poets involved.

The project will culminate in a showcase on September 7th 2013, with poems read by the theatre’s summer season actors.

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A good end to a fascinating day – Theatre by the Lake

Submit to Beneath The Boughs (April)

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This is the third of our monthly calls for submissions for Beneath The Boughs. The call for poems from February and March yielded some great results, and we’d love to continue receiving your fantastic poetry for our upcoming summer exhibition, ‘Beneath The Boughs’. (The exhibition will run from July 19th to September 9th 2013. Read more about the project here.)

For a chance to be involved in the exhibition, and to have your work displayed in the beautiful historic gardens of Lowther Castle, send us your poem(s) inspired by the above photo, and the theme of DISCOVERY.

Please ensure that we receive your submission(s) by the deadline of 23:59, Tuesday 30th April, 2013.

For information on how to submit, as well as submission guidelines, click here.

(If you really aren’t inspired by this theme and photo, then you can also send us a poem inspired by one of the pictures in our insipration gallery. Remember, the same guidelines and deadline apply.)

And keep your eyes peeled. There’ll be a new prompt here in May!

(Although we are posting new monthly poetry prompts for the exhibition until June, the earlier you send in your work, the more chance you have of getting it displayed, so don’t dawdle too long! Looking forward to seeing your work.)

‘The poem acquires independence…’

‘There is a process called annealment, the heating to a high temperature and slow cooling of glass or metal, to toughen them. Making a poem feels like that, writing as yourself and reading it back as someone else. Distance, perspective, irony, derision (terribly important!), all come into the picture. The poem acquires independence, the poet, in Montale’s comparison, is like the props man who’s stumbled upon it, “unaware that he’s / the author”.’

– Michael Hoffman, “I happen to believe” (2000)

‘I write to find out what I didn’t know I knew.’

‘Art’s whatever you choose to frame…’

‘…a poem is simply a piece of writing which, when I read it, I recognise as a poem and not just as something pretending to be one. What is the difference between poetry and prose? Prose fills the page-width; a poem has white space around it. (‘Art’s whatever you choose to frame,’ as I found myself writing at the end of a poem about how looking at paintings in a gallery changes one’s view of the world outside.)’

– Fleur Adcock, Not Quite a Statement (2000)

Submit to ‘Beneath The Boughs’! (February)

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For the next few months, we will be posting monthly poetry prompts based on our upcoming summer exhibition, ‘Beneath The Boughs’. (The exhibition will run from July 19th to September 9th 2013. Read more about the project here.)

For a chance to be involved in the exhibition, and to have your work displayed in the beautiful historic gardens of Lowther Castle, send us your poem(s) inspired by the William Henry Davies poem, ‘Leisure’ (at the bottom of the page).

Please ensure that we receive your submission(s) by the deadline of 23:59, Thursday 28th February, 2013.

For information on how to submit, as well as submission guidelines, click here.

(If you really aren’t inspired by the poem below, then you can also send us a poem inspired by one of the pictures in our insipration gallery. Remember, the same guidelines and deadline apply.)

And keep your eyes peeled. There’ll be a new prompt here in March!

LEISURE, by William Henry Davies

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Lowther Castle: ‘Beneath The Boughs’

Been wondering what all our teaser posts were leading up to? Has your quill been itching to get words on the page, or your fingers hovering impatiently over the keyboard? Have no fear – the announcement is finally here:

Lowther Castle

Beneath The Boughs is an exhibition of new poetry, running at Lowther Castle & Gardens, Cumbria, from July 19th – September 9th 2013.

As with any exhibition, we need something to exhibit. This is where you come in. Yes, that’s right: YOU. We’ll be updating the site with monthly prompts, as well as quotations and photographs to spark that inspiration. We will add more information about submitting work in the very near future.

The ruined gardens at Lowther are really unique. They lie in the grounds of a ruined castle, in an idyllic pastoral landscape unchanged for hundreds of years. Around every corner is something to discover, whether that’s a tree swing, a wooden summerhouse, or a stunning view across the valley. And in summer 2013, there’ll be an extra thing to add to the list of discoveries: poetry.

Stay tuned for more information as we prepare for the big event! Follow us on facebook or twitter, and sign up to our mailing list (by clicking the ‘Follow’ button on the right) to stay in the loop.

LEISURE, by William Henry Davies

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Announcing…

ANNOUNCING OUR LATEST PROJECT: POETS IN RESIDENCE AT THEATRE BY THE LAKE!

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From Easter to September 2013, a small group of emerging poets will be spending time at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, Cumbria, observing the various and varied aspects of the theatre.

The project will culminate in a reading at the start of September (time and date TBC).

We’d love to see as many of you there as possible, so don’t forget to stay tuned for more information! Follow us on facebook or twitter, and sign up to our mailing list (by clicking the ‘Follow’ button on the right) to stay in the loop.

And don’t forget to keep checking back on the event page for any updates.

More information on the project and its participants coming very soon!

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Oh, and there’s still that teaser hanging in the air…

But surely, you cry, that was a teaser for this project? That was leading up to the announcement of the Poets in Residence project?

Perhaps it was. But on the other hand – does this photo look as though it was taken in a theatre…? Stay tuned, folks, and all will be revealed!

Snow-writing, January 2013

‘There is nothing more disenchanting to man…’

‘There is nothing more disenchanting to man than to be shown the springs and mechanism of any art.  All our arts and occupations lie wholly on the surface; it is on the surface that we perceive their beauty, fitness, and significance; and to pry below is to be appalled by their emptiness and shocked by the coarseness of the strings and pulleys.  In a similar way, psychology itself, when pushed to any nicety, discovers an abhorrent baldness, but rather from the fault of our analysis than from any poverty native to the mind.  And perhaps in aesthetics the reason is the same: those disclosures which seem fatal to the dignity of art seem so perhaps only in the proportion of our ignorance; and those conscious and unconscious artifices which it seems unworthy of the serious artist to employ were yet, if we had the power to trace them to their springs, indications of a delicacy of the sense finer than we conceive, and hints of ancient harmonies in nature. ‘

Robert Louis Stevenson, Essays in the Art of Writing

Looking for inspiration?

Thinking of submitting to our Cafe Poetry venture, but not quite sure what to write about?

No worries! As always, we’re here to help.

Back in August, we posted some information about poetry prompts, to help kick-start your writing. You can check that out here: https://guerrillapoem.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/poetry-prompts-galore/

Or feel free to browse our general back catalogue of poetry related quotations to help you on your way.

Failing that, you can always read through the [insert text here] zine, Dawn Killing Darkness, or take a look at some of the other poems on our site, here: https://guerrillapoem.wordpress.com/poetry/

Still stuck? Here’s a picture of a squirrel to help you on your way.

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To find out more about our Cafe Poetry project, and how you can get involved, click here: https://guerrillapoem.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/call-for-submissions/