Posts Tagged ‘shropshire’


Photo: Lee Allen Photography
Dispensing poetry on prescription: Shropshire’s Emergency Poet, Deborah Alma.

Sometimes poetry can play a role in emotional healing. I think that’s because ordinary sentences often miss the mark but poetry is fluid enough to go where it’s needed. In the UK, a Shropshire poet is putting her faith in this art and opening a “poetry pharmacy.” She notes that a recent report shows “poetry sales were up by more than 12% in 2018, driven largely by younger buyers.”

Alison Flood writes at the Guardian, “Following in the hallowed footsteps of Milton, who wrote in 1671 that ‘apt words have power to swage / The tumours of a troubled mind / And are as balm to festered wounds,’ the poet Deborah Alma is preparing to open the UK’s first poetry pharmacy. Here, instead of sleeping pills and multivitamins, customers will be offered prescriptions of Derek Walcott and Elizabeth Bishop.

“Alma, who as the ‘Emergency Poet’ has prescribed poems as cures from the back of a 1970s ambulance for the last six years, is now setting up a permanent outlet in a shop at Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire. An old Edwardian ironmonger’s, it still has the original fixtures and fittings, and, together with her partner, the TS Eliot prize-shortlisted poet James Sheard, Alma is preparing to turn it into a haven ‘to help ease a variety of maladies with the soothing therapy of Poetry.’

“Dressed in a white coat and stethoscope, Alma says she was invited to appear as the Emergency Poet at ‘schools, hospitals and festivals all over the place, but I’m a middle-aged woman and I’m getting a bit old for driving around.’ …

“The [pharmacy’s] mortgage was approved [in January], and Alma is buzzing with plans for how the shop will be divided like a pharmacy ‘into areas for particular ailments.’ … The sections will be set up along the lines of a poetry anthology she edited in 2016, The Everyday Poet, which was split into poems ‘addressing areas of emotional need’ such as love, ageing, grief and hope. …

“ ‘I think probably more than any other art it speaks directly as though from one person to another,’ says Alma, who published her own first collection, Dirty Laundry, last year. ‘It’s intimate and it’s empathetic. It can be a prayer or a curse, or something just to hang on to.’ ”

More at the Guardian, here. I’m glad to know something more about Shropshire poets beyond “The Shropshire Lad,” which I know only by reputation.

Hat tip: Wisconsin poet Ronnie Hess on Facebook.

Read Full Post »

I learned about a sustainable, low-maintenance type of gardening from an article by Matthew Wilson in the Financial Times.

“Forest gardening is an ancient system with modern relevance,” he writes, “based on planting fruit, herbs and vegetables in distinct layer.

“This March marks the 15th anniversary of the death of Robert Adrian de Jauralde Hart, a man who quietly, and without outside recognition for much of his life, created a garden that was at once cutting edge but also rooted in ancient traditions and techniques. Hart was a pioneer in temperate forest gardening, and spent 40 years creating and tending to his eighth of an acre plot in Wenlock Edge, Shropshire.

“Hart had initially set out to make a traditional smallholding, with orderly beds of vegetables, a small orchard and assorted livestock. His aim was to provide healthy, health-giving food for him and his brother Lacon, who was born with severe learning difficulties and for whom Hart was the primary carer. Realising that the combined challenges of the smallholding and his responsibilities towards his brother were beyond him, he observed a planting of herbs and perennial vegetables in one corner of the smallholding that seemed to thrive in spite of a lack of intervention. Taking these observations further, Hart gradually converted the entire orchard into a forest garden, establishing one of the first prototypes for temperate climates.

“The principles of forest gardening are as ancient as the notion of cultivating plants for food. It is an agroforestry system, [composed] of planted layers with large trees at the apex and small, ground-covering herbs at the base. The spiritual descendants of ancient forest gardens can still be found across the world, in the ‘home gardens’ of Kerala, Zambia, and Nepal.” Read about how it works here.

Sometimes when you don’t have time to do things “right,” you discover shortcuts that work as well or better. Like boiling the corn cobs and the spaghetti together in the same pot.

Photo: Danita Delimont/Alamy
Avocado “family orchard” in Mexico

Read Full Post »

An Imperial Elegy
by Wilfred Owen

Not one corner of a foreign field
But a span as wide as Europe;
An appearance of a titan’s grave,
And the length thereof a thousand miles,
It crossed all Europe like a mystic road,
Or as the Spirits’ Pathway lieth on the night.
And I heard a voice crying
This is the Path of Glory.

@-> @-> @->
Born in Shropshire, England, poet Wilfred Owen is best known for telling the truth of what he saw in World War I, a war joined too lightheartedly by many of his countrymen 100 years ago. He  died at the Sambre-Oise Canal a week before the Armistice was signed.

Read more about Owen here.

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom
Azalea moving to the next phase


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: