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Train ticket booked

… for Criccieth. I’m all set for the residential course at Ty Newydd in October with Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke. So it now feels like I’m actually going. I’m reading CAD’s ‘Rapture’ and GC’s ‘Recipe for Water’ at the moment and feeling buoyed up at the statement on the Ty Newydd course description saying “there will be ample time devoted to one-to-one tutorials” – whoa. I think Arvon only offer one short tutorial during the week. So that sounds very promising. Meanwhile I’ve been looking up all the other participants and there are some very experienced poets, so I’m looking forward to a challenging and fruitful week.

On the subject of courses, I’m very grateful to Josephine Corcoran for flagging this up on Facebook – a free online course from the University of Pennsylvania on American poetry which is just what I need. I’ve signed up for it, although not sure I’ll have the time to do the written work – but even just to watch the video discussions and learn in a passive way I think will be great.

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  1. I need to tell you that Ty Newydd is spoken as ‘tee newith’ the ‘th’ said like in ‘the’. I’m going there for a course on the 12th August!

    • Thanks Meg! I think that’s more or less how I’ve been saying it so that’s good 🙂

    • Meant to say also have a great time and let me know how you get on!

  2. Ooh I wrote a poem about Criccieth! Here it is:

    Goodbye song.

    I’ll come with you as far as Criccieth
    where death sleeps behind the counters of closed shops
    and time holds its breath
    and times itself by each clause of the sea’s breath.

    There are shadows in upstairs rooms.
    A man working at a desk,
    a girl unclips her earrings
    to make love quietly and for the last time.
    This last night is only just long enough.

    We’re staying at a hotel that overlooks the bay
    with the birds one-legged on the mudflats.
    And as the sea persists against the rocks,
    we’ll lie under the feathers of hundreds of geese
    and let the darkness undo us gently.

    In the morning, we’ll walk as far as the beacon
    and I’ll help to lower you into the boat
    and garland you with pumpkin flowers.
    It will be a good day for going, with hardly any sound
    except the oars on the water and the breeze.

    Sorry to spam your blog with my poem – but this one has never seen the light of day yet – so here it is 🙂

    • Ah, thanks Ellen – a world exclusive on my blog, how exciting! You’re giving me a sense of foreboding about Criccieth though …

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Robin Houghton 2021