Jilly Munro blogs about her week on a Poetry course at Lumb Bank October 7 – 12 2013
The week started well with a very warm welcome from Lumb Bank staff, help with luggage to our rooms and a few timid hellos followed by a delicious meal. We were then thrown into a tizzy by the request to hear a poem (for some the tizzy being completely dizzying as they’d never read their work in public before) from our tutors – the well-known and justifiably popular poets Clare Pollard and Neil Rollinson- but 15 nervous poets managed to read or splutter out a poem aloud around a warming log fire with a warming, supporting audience. A week of extremely interesting and fun tutorials followed and the individual one-to-one input was incredible, with both tutors working non-stop and way beyond their allotted times. We were encouraged to explore areas of our poetry some had never touched on before – from the dark to the erotic to the nonsensical and odes, every genre and interest was seemingly catered for.
The transformation and progress was dramatic – on the final evening 15 confident poets were reading aloud in the Barn telling tales of personal tragedy, autobiographical moments of extreme drama and high comedy – with some highly amusing unexpectedly racy content, which seemed to be the product of a certain Mr Rollinson’s encouragement, even amongst the more mature students amongst us! One member of our team was a singer-song writer and Melpomeni’s piano playing and melodious voice transformed the Barn into a concert hall that evening in a most spine-tingling fashion – a wonderful addition to the poetry. The improvement in poetic technique resulting in the finished products we heard was immediately discernible. The comfortable and supportive environment created by our great tutors – and each other – was the reason we were all able to contribute so fully and openly, often in a very cathartic and emotional fashion. No stone appeared to be left unturned or unmoved. I can only praise the tutors and Lumb Bank’s staff for making everything flow so smoothly – their ability in transforming some of us more air-headed poets into highly efficient catering teams was spectacular. It was a great, intelligent and fun-loving group (especially those fellow members of the ‘Late Lounge’, all of whom who seemed to struggle with the concept of letting the stimulating conversational evenings finish!) and I shall miss everyone – until the next time ….. Hopefully we will all continue to share our successes and triumphs, rejections and failures which appear to make up the landscape of poetry publishing. Thanks for making it all possible, Arvon.