Last week I read in Sheffield at the lovely Writers in the Bath, alongside a New England poet, David Troupes, whose website you can find here: http://www.buttercupfestival.com/. It was a good night, warm and friendly, and I heard more about the tree protests from Jennifer Hockey who was arrested during a dawn raid at one one of them. Jennifer has a poetry collection coming out with Oversteps later this year, so watch out for updates on this.
On Saturday I went to The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy for a day-long conference on the connection of women to the land. It covered many interesting topics – women’s nature writing, access to the countryside (with some relevant insights into ageing and stereotyping of elderly women), talks about Nan Shepherd and Jessie Kesson, Gaelic, herbs, song and storytelling and the strangely recidivist attitudes towards women in farming and land ownership. It was spectacularly well-organised, and the scones were wonderful, but the energy in the room was palpable, and there was a lot of demand for ‘more of this sort of thing.’
I’m thinking about this carefully – I have had to sever my connection with the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, partly because of health concerns (my own as well as my family’s), partly because I want to be able to give more to my own writing, but also partly because of the weight of organisation involved in last year’s Expressing the Earth conference, both before and following up. It isn’t just the work – it’s knowing exactly what experience you are trying to set up, and how you expect it to develop. The explicit hope at Aberfeldy was that other women would be inspired to set up similar events in their own areas, and I’m not sure I have the stamina! But it does show that there is more engagement and interest in the kind of issues I’ve been looking at than is generally thought, and I’ll be looking into ways of following it up – in a way that is within my capacity.
I’m aware that I haven’t done a territory post for a while – I’ve been away or at the computer too much! But I have been taking photos
There will be a fuller post next time!