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

Maitreyabandhu – Full Circle at The Hurst

13 Nov 2018 / #Arvon50

On May 21st this year I will catch a train to The Hurst in the company of the wonderful Mimi Khalvati,…

Read more
Nick Grant Arvon

Remembering Nick Grant

12 Nov 2018 / News

It is with a heavy heart that we share this sad news. Our dear friend Nick Grant passed away peacefully on…

Read more

Ruth Borthwick announces her departure

08 Nov 2018 / Chief Executive

Arvon today announces that Ruth Borthwick will step down in April 2019, after a decade as Artistic Director and Chief Executive….

Read more
Lois Pryce Arvon Creative Writing Course

Lois Pryce – Arvon at 50

06 Nov 2018 / #Arvon50

In the mid-90s, aged 22, I landed my dream job at an indie record label. This was mainly due to a…

Read more
Read more

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