Friday, 24 June 2016

Writing - A momentous decision

The people of the UK voted to leave the European Union last night, however, the momentous decision to which I refer is the action of Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy to garner support for the survival of independent bookshops.

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Dame Carol Ann Duffy

The number of independent bookstores in the UK is in decline and often those that prosper have worked to build a community based on reading groups and author visits. Britain's poet laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy has set off on a reading tour of 15 venues to support those shops, but she and her travelling band of bards are deliberately avoiding big cities in favour of Britain's towns and villages. 

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A Bardmobile

Dame Carol Ann has been poet laureate since 2009. "Whenever I do a reading, the local independent bookstore will almost always be there afterwards, selling poetry," she says.
"It's an act of love on their part and for years I've thought they should get something in return."
Venues for readings to come include the likes of Bridgnorth, Caernarfon, St Andrews and Carlisle Cathedral. The poets (plus musician John Sampson) are criss-crossing Britain in a people-carrier driven by the publicity team.
If the concept of a bardmobile isn't ambitious enough, in each location they will be joined by a fifth, local poet (who in Falmouth was Penelope Shuttle).
Each event lasts a couple of hours and ends with a book signing. Fans can pick up individual works but there's also a new anthology called 'Off the Shelf - A Celebration of Bookshops in Verse'.

An example of the poet laureate's work.


She woke up old at last, alone,
bones in a bed, not a tooth
in her head, half dead, shuffled
and limped downstairs
in the rag of her nightdress,
smelling of pee.

Slurped tea, stared
at her hand- twigs, stained gloves- 
wheezed and coughed, pulled on
the coat that hung from a hook
on the door, lay on the sofa,
dozed, snored.

This is not the full poem but I use it as an illustration of the decision  my country has made to leave the European 'club'. We may appear to have returned to history, perhaps taken a backward step, but we 'woke up' this morning and we will not be returning to 'doze'.

God Bless