As we head into May, we’re reflecting on the events and workshops we have held so far this year – all in collaboration with fantastic writers and artists.
At the start of the year, we hosted our Warm Bank Writing Sessions at Launceston Library. These weekly sessions commenced from the end of January through to the end of March. The aim of the sessions was to encourage members of the community to use their imagination in positive ways to reduce stress and anxiety and to improve their mood and health. The workshops run by the Trust and Launceston librarians Andi and Emma were a success and an effective way of kicking those winter blues.
February began with our annual Winter Warmer poetry retreat hosted at Trevadlock Manor in the heart of the Cornish countryside near Launceston. This year, writers Fiona Benson and Katrina Naomi were on hand to help budding poets develop their writing skills. The workshops available at the retreat ranged from engaging in creative play and meditative group walks, to the importance of author self-care: how to stay grounded among the temptations of social media and the like. Participants were even given the chance to individually discuss their work with Fiona and Katrina: a rare opportunity to gain invaluable advice from two award-winning writers!
In February, we also launched our Young People’s Poetry Competition. Supported by Falmouth University, the competition was open to anyone aged five to eighteen, living anywhere in the UK and was free to enter. In accordance with 2023 marking exactly twenty years since Charles Causley’s passing, the theme for this year’s competition was memory. The deadline for entries was 31st March and poems are currently being judged by head judge David Devanny, following a period of shortlisting by a stellar panel of writers.
In March we announced the long-awaited winner of our International Poetry Competition. We received a multitude of incredible entries which made for a really close competition. First place went to Vera K Yuen for ‘Chinese Diacritics of War & Peace.’ Head Judge Seán Hewitt remarked on the piece: ‘all the terror of war and the power of intimate relationships are fused in that final stanza, where the clasp of one hand around another is both a tender moment of love and a sign of the movement of trauma through generations.’ You can read the winning poem here.
April was another busy month for us here at The Trust, but it was also the month we waved goodbye to our 2023 Poet in Residence Rachel Piercey. Rachel had been staying with us at Cyprus Well from February this year, hosting several poetry driven events in the local community, including primary school visits and an open mic night at The Byre. Like Causley himself, Rachel writes poetry for both adults and children. She had this to stay about her residency: ‘I was about to type that it has already gained the rich burnish of a cherished memory but, actually, the experiences shone in that unique, yellow-lit way even while I was having them. There’s something magical about the place. I strongly encourage anyone – especially someone with an interest in Charles Causley – to book a stay now.’
Tickets for our Commemorative Festival weekend are now live! Click here for more information
Words by Caroline Bond