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News from the Hills
A poem + some workshop and event dates
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about familiarity with place through walking as “entering into dialogue with a living green archive”. Today I want to share a poem that feels to me just like the sort of green dialogue I was thinking about.
I’m also writing with news of next month’s workshops and events.
But first the poem, which was commissioned by the archeologist Melanie Giles for an anthology celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Peak District (the UK’s first national park). Vestiges: the Past in the Peaks is illuminated by Rose Ferraby’s beautiful abstract landscape collages, and you can find out more about the project here, as well as reading my poem-contribution below:
Dark Peak by Rebecca Hurst It’s two years since I’ve been to the hills. And so, unable to get to the hills I put myself in the way of them and wait. Winter, spring — tethered to the valley floor I watch them hunch down. Slowly, when I can, I hobble along the rutted track that falls due east from the Saxon church on the ridge; points the way (if I could go) to Kinder Scout’s flat, notched crown. I tell them, I’m waiting. They shrug. Indifference is trout-brown, ash-green. Summer comes. Language rushes through me like rain- water through gritstone. This gap in the wall is as far as I can go today. Tomorrow. I stand in the shade of a hornbeam to sketch the summit. The rough line bumps against the edge of the page so I turn and let it wander verso from right to left. On the wall my fingertips read the fine grain, sickle- sharp; old news that I carry with me on the walk home. Somedays wind carries word of the hills; smoke from moorland fires that pricks the air. Somedays the rivers Goyt and Etherow — which at their confluence swirl back against each other — exchange gossip; clamour; as I stand on the bank and listen to their talk of fitful rain, drought, cloudbursts and diversions during which they probe loose soil, slate tiles, red brick, barrow bones and bling, porcelain chips, a blue glass bead. All the news from the hills these past thousand years. Today I linger, listen to them speak of their work making, reshaping. We’ve had a night of heavy rain. The silty waters roar in spate. Trout- brown, ash-green — a process like any other — they carry the hills to the sea.
Finally, news from the hills of some workshops and events:
On Wednesday 7 June from 12-2pm I’ll be running a free, in-person Writing & Well-being workshop at Marple Library as part of Manchester’s amazing Festival of Libraries. You can book a place here: https://bit.ly/MarpleWorkshop
On Wednesday 14 June at 12-1.30pm I will be in conversation with the poet Kim Moore and British Academy Innovation Fellow Kim Wiltshire at a Creative Manchester Research Café. We’ll be at the Contact Theatre talking about creative writing and other arts interventions in the context of healthcare workplace settings, and you can find more information and book a free spot here: https://bit.ly/TwoMapsCafe
Finally, my good friends and Muse Agency collaborators Siân Thomas and Terri Mullholland are running another in their series of fabulous online workshops. The Summer Muse Creative Writing Workshop will meet on Wednesdays at 1pm BST from 7 June to 12 July. Six-weeks of community and inspiration that will “fire the imagination of even the rustiest creative writer”, and all for just £65! You can learn more and book your place here: https://bit.ly/SummerMuseWorkshop
Thank you for reading … 🐌