The Last Week of Residency and Bowden Derra
Although another blog and podcast will appear here next week, last Friday was officially the end of my mentoring residency with Andrew Fentham and The Charles Causley Trust. We had the great pleasure of facilitating a poetry workshop with the residents at Bowden Derra, using Charles’s poetry. Andrew printed out some poems with plenty of room on the page for drawing and collaging. We read aloud several great poems like “Mr. Crocodocodile” and “Quack said the Billy Goat” and got on with creating some new cut up poems from Causley’s own words. Many thanks to Jennifer McDerra and Hannah Stamp for helping with all the cutting gluing and sticking. It was a different kind of way to feel reminded of Causley’s legacy, how useful and functional his poetry is and how perfectly it is formed. As designers and artists from the days of the famous Blauhaus would say: “form follows function” and that is an aesthetic that is contained in itself.
This Week's Podcast
The podcast this week follows a different vein from the previous intimate piano recital and reading at Causley’s home at Cyprus Well. On our last day during the residency together, Andrew and I met at Launceston Castle with the intention of recording something there, though we hadn’t really thought what. I had brought a poem of my own from the new “Word Fields” I’ve been working on – vainly trying to dismantle ideas about linear narrative, in complete contradiction to what I’ve said above about Causley and form following function, but that is often the nature of writing. It is in the starkest contrasts that we often seen the clearest outlines – Andrew on the other hand had brought Causley’s poem “On Launceston Castle” to read and after we set up the microphone in the hollow ruin of the castle’s central tower Andrew recited the work beautifully.
After the poem we turned out thoughts to Causley again, reflecting on Launceston as a historic entry point into Cornwall, the castle and gate through which things flowed, and from there onto the poignancy of Charles in respect of being a kind of “key” or “gate keeper” to Cornwall and Cornish culture. As the conversation moves through thoughts on Causley’s writing, Andrew shares some of his own on his time spent being the writer in residence at Causley’s home in Launceston.
I hope you’ll enjoy listening:
Mac Dunlop has acted as mentor to poet-in-residence Andrew Fentham throughout his time in Cyprus Well, ending this April 2017. He will continue to support the Trust throughout the Centenary celebrations across the year.