The Opportunity

19 Aug 2013 / News

The Opportunity

Extract from The Founding of Arvon by John Moat

1968, the year the Revolution almost happened (Paris, Grosvenor Square, Hornsey) … I’d had a novel published, and a second collection of poems accepted; sufficient notoriety to be invited to a North Devon Schools’ Poetry Day.

A building like an abandoned Fighter Command hangar. A bank of buses; from each school a busload of kids. In the chill hangar a vast circle of chairs – and by the time I showed up they were all occupied: more than a hundred 11-16 year olds. Well chilled. Each youngster sat nervous with a poem, not their own poem but somebody’s poem, copied on to a sheet of paper and held in a shaking hand. And so round the circle, one by one, they read or muttered or stumbled. Chilled before they read, and afterwards frozen with boredom. And that was it.

‘So what did you think of that?’ the organiser asked me, breathless with self-congratulation.

‘Awful!’ I said.

‘Oh,’ said the organiser. ‘So what would you do?’

A youngish hayrake of a man with ears like the handles on a harvest jug was walking past. He’d heard the challenge, and stopped to see what I’d come up with.

‘I’ll tell you,’ I said … Then, as if stating the obvious, ‘The ones interested in writing poetry, I’d have them live it for real. Three or four days living as writers, with a couple of practised poets around to show the ropes and simply be on hand to help with whatever they might choose to write.’

‘You’re on.’ This wasn’t the organiser, this was the one with the ears. John Butt, newly appointed County Drama Adviser.

‘You find the place,’ he said, ‘and I’ll come up with the kids.’

‘They must want to come,’  I said. I think I was hoping for a way out.

‘They’ll want to come,’ said Butt.

‘You on?’ I said to Fairfax that night on the phone.

‘I’m on,’ he said. ‘But where?’

 

The Founding of Arvon is available on Amazon

THE ARVON BLOG

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

Jean Atkin – A Shropshire Dimpsey, in Hurst Rough

29 Jan 2019 / #Arvon50

A Shropshire Dimpsey, in Hurst Rough

Lamp to our path, that dandelion globe has made
full moon above the…

Read more

Elise Valmorbida – Suitcase Stories

22 Jan 2019 / #Arvon50

I have just returned from Ted Hughes’ house in deepest greenest beautiful West Yorkshire. I’ve been teaching ‘Suitcase Stories’, a course…

Read more
Read more

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