The Gift of a Poem – Julius Smit’s Arvon Week

01 Sep 2014 / Lumb Bank

On a breezy sunny August afternoon I got off the train at Hebden Bridge with my rucksack and found myself re-tracing my steps of a year earlier up the steep Heptonstall Road on route to the joys of Lumb Bank. Here was the strangeness of familiarity – negotiating the cobbles of Heptonstall, walking past many houses with stickers of yellow bicycles still in their windows, to then stopping for a rest on the seat at the top of the Lumb Bank lane. I had come back for another high-octane Arvon experience; this time a week of poetry with Daljit Nagra and Vicki Feaver.

I met Jack hard at work in the kitchen as I arrived. As usual, tea, cake and fruit were waiting in the sitting room and it wasn’t long before I was deep in conversation with other newcomers. At six o’clock Jill and Lucy gave us a briefing followed by a sumptuous and reviving supper. The week then kicked off later that evening with everyone meeting up with the Daljit and Vicki for an introduction to what lay ahead. As the days slid by we dug deeper into the poems we discussed, the poems we wrote and the poems we spoke. Cooking, writing, reading, talking, wine, and walking in the woods all contributed to the overall rising combustion.

I had come back for more poetry to help me reassess my own efforts over the last few years. By the end of the week, my work had not only become less abstract but had also loosened up thanks to the invaluable one to one tutorials with Vicki and Daljit. On Friday evening we all gathered in the barn for our end of week readings: sixteen poets each given a five minute slot. It was an evening not only of poetry but also of love and of an urge to communicate sounds, words and language. The 2014 course programme billed this course as The gift of a poem. The poems were certainly gifts, all created within that tried and tested chemistry of Lumb Bank.

On the Saturday morning I set off, unwillingly, back to the station, only this time I walked back slowly through the woods following the flow of the river as it tumbled over the Pennine rocks. Construction of a hydro-electricity plant across the river’s surge is currently in progress. It seems a fitting metaphor for Arvon: the continual creation of energy from the rawness of nature. When my poetry batteries run down, I think I’ll come back again for a re-charge.

Julius is an Arvon Friend. Find out about the Arvon Friends community and how they support our work here.

THE ARVON BLOG

Jerwood/Arvon Mentees Announced

21 Mar 2019 / News

Arvon and Jerwood Arts are delighted to announce the 2019/20 cohort of Jerwood/Arvon mentees. These nine emerging writers were selected out…

Read more

Fred D’Aguiar – Arvon at 50

19 Mar 2019 / #Arvon50

We called them the two Johns, John Moat and John Fairfax, after the two Ronnies, but out of awe at their…

Read more

Gavin Dimmock – Finding Love at Lumb Bank

12 Feb 2019 / #Arvon50

In May 1984, my O levels were finishing and I couldn’t wait to leave school behind and start my life in…

Read more

Arvon appoints Andrew Kidd as Chief Executive and Artistic Director

11 Feb 2019 / News

Arvon is delighted to announce that  Andrew Kidd  has been appointed as its new Chief Executive and Artistic Director. Andrew Kidd…

Read more
Read more

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.