Ben Ray at Ross library
It is very pleasing when something Poetry on Loan has been involved with develops further.
Ben Ray was the Young Poet Laureate for Herefordshire in 2010 - an intiative supported by Poetry on Loan - when he was only 15 years old. He has since gone on to win the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize and his first book was published in 2015. Ben grew up and went to school in Ross, and he has a large following of fans locally which resulted in one of the biggest audiences for a poet there has been at this library, for his reading in January. Ben was relaxed, witty and very at ease with the audience. He performed an interactive poem with a great response and a sequence of poems about Japanese pottery with images as well as a good selection from his book and more recent work. He spoke confidently about the poets he loves and his other passions including history, the environment and yoga which inspire much of his work.
On a sad note, this was the last event that Anne-Marie Dossett will run for Poetry on Loan. After many years with Herefordhsire Libraries, Anne-Marie is moving on to do other things. She has been a stalwart within Poetry on Loan, acting as Chairman and Treasurer, supporting other people, and designing a number of our posters. She has always been full of great ideas, and we will miss her; we all wish her the very best of luck in all her new activities!
Jonny Fluffypunk gives a slam lesson
Jonny Fluffypunk spent a day at Aylestone School in July. The day started with a group of 12 year 8s working with Jonny Fluffypunk in the school library. They were helped to write two poems about something they loved and given some training on how to perform. The group, despite being very nervous and a little reluctant then performed to the rest of their year group. In the afternoon a larger group of year 9s had a similar workshop this time without a performance at the end. The school librarian and teachers were delighted with the positive response from the pupils and amazed at how engaged the students were and how well they rose to the challenge of writing and performing poetry.
Comments from pupils
“ I thought this was going to be really boring but I think it’s great”.
“The poet is amazing and so funny, I like his moustache”.
The Kilpeck Anthology: Poetry Walk
As part of the Herefordshire Walking Festival poets Adam Horovitz and Glenn Storhaug led a poetry walk around Kilpeck celebrating the poetry book the Kilpeck Anthology which was published in 1982 by Five Seasons Press. The book includes poems by Frances Horovitz and Seamus Heanney and was a response to the extrordinary sandstone carvings on Kilpeck church.
Adam Horovitz began the walk by reading the poem by his late mother Frances and the group then walked 4 miles around the village with beautiful views of the Black Mountains, stopping at various points to hear more poems from the anthology.
"I have wanted to visit Kilpeck for some time, the walk was well organised a good pace, it was nice to amble away and take in the scenery and poetry. I don’t normally hear much poetry and don’t understand a lot of it but I enjoyed it all. Something different”.
Adam Horovitz at Ross library
An audience at Ross library were treated on 12th April to a reading by Herefordshire's Poet in Residence, Adam Horovitz. Herefordshrie Librarian Anne-Marie Dossett reports:
The performance was organised as a part of Herefordshire Libraries Book Festival and an event for the Ross Library Development group so the majority of people in the audience were people that rarely, if ever attend poetry events. Adam Horovitz was introduced by Glenn Storhaug, a local poetry publisher who knew Adam’s parents who were both poets. He has known Adam all his life so it gave a real history of Herefordshire connection to the evening. The audience laughed and cried and had many questions they wanted to ask at the end.
“I thought it was moving and thought provoking to have the poet share his vivid sense of place along with his own story - including his relationships with the people who had such an impact on his life and work. The links back to his parents and to Laurie Lee were a wonderful window not only on his personal story but on the development of an artist. As someone who aspires to write (although rarely poetry!) I really appreciated that element.” ( From Claire West of Ross Library Development Group)
“ I nearly didn’t come here tonight, I am not keen on poetry but I am so glad I came, it was a marvellous evening, Adam is so sensitive, it was a real pleasure to be here.”
“ Like Adam my mother died of cancer when I was a teenager so I could really relate to his poems. When he read the backwards poem about his life it made me cry. This was a very special evening.”
“Just got back from a very moving and compelling talk given by the Poet in Residence for Herefordshire Adam Horovitz. He read a selection of his poems and talked afterwards about his inspiration. I loved it.”
Herefordshire's Poet in Residence
Adam Horovitz takes over from Paul Henry as Herefordshire’s poet in residence. He is the second poet ever to have held this prestigious post. Adam Horovitz launched his residency by running a free poetry workshop at Ledbury Library in The Master’s House.
Adam Horovitz says, “I’m excited to be returning to Herefordshire as poet in residence. I lived there for two years between the ages of 11 and 13 and went to school in Ross on Wye. Before that, I visited often for holidays with my mother, the poet Frances Horovitz, who is buried in Orcop.
I am most attuned to Ross, and to Orcop, Garway, Rowlestone and Hereford, where I have spent most time in the county, but one of my abiding memories of Herefordshire is of standing in a gap in the mountain on the site of an Iron Age fort on the rise just off the Hereford/Abergavenny road, looking out over the vast expanse of Herefordshire. I was, and remain, astonished at the hugeness of it, at the way Herefordshire unfolded below me, like a crocheted bedspread, out to the horizon.
I am looking forward to using this role to explore more of the places I saw from that vantage point, to focussing in and investigating the people and places and things that makes it special. For myself, I would like to put flesh and muscle on the bones of memory, but I am very much looking forward to working with people of all ages from the county and hope to help them explore Herefordshire’s past, present and future.”
The post is initiated by the Festival in partnership with Herefordshire Libraries through Poetry on Loan.
Adam Horovitz has strong connections to Herefordshire. He is the son of two hugely respected poets,Michael and Frances Horovitz. His first full collection of poems, Turning, was published in 2011. His memoir about growing up in Cider with Rosie country, A Thousand Laurie Lees, was published in 2014. According to Carol Ann Duffy, ‘Adam Horovitz writes poems of great beauty and truth; poems which are earned through experience, suffering and love and deployed in a physical language of scrupulous integrity.