Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Poems carved in stone

It seems that poet Simon Armitage has something in common with lawmaker Moses. Both
have had their words carved into stone. I have now visited three of the six stanza stones that are located in the Yorkshire Pennines in the UK. Armitage has taken precipitation in its various forms as his subject matter and written poems that have been carved in rock faces in various parts of the Yorkshire countryside. Each poem can be reached fairly easily with the help of map guides and instructions. Each is in a place of immense beauty.

The poems are tightly written and down to earth with touches of gentle humour. The poetry carving project was part of the Ilkley Literature Festival and it has had a mixed response. Some people regard it as a defacement of places of natural beauty, others love the mixture of art and nature.

I have been with family and friends to three locations that I hadn't been to before and I would like to visit the remaining three. We have read the poems aloud and written our own poems based on the way the day out affected us.

An artist called Pip Hall carved the words and doing so must have been no small feat. The size, scale and angle of the poems must have stretched her physically.

A guide that can be picked up in Yorkshire's cultural spots or read on line has been compiled by Tom Lonsdale to enable people to find the works which are off the beaten track. The walks can be done separately or in one go over a few days. Most are suitable for families but all aren't suitable for wheelchair users or people with buggies and prams. Check the brochure for information

I've written three small poems based on my days out. I suggest you read the poems written on the stanza stones to get an idea of their tone. Then find somewhere near to where you live where a piece of unofficial art has been created. A wall covered with graffiti or a wall covered in posters for gigs. Look for official art in the form of an inscription inside a building or an outdoors sculpture. Read what's written there or look more closely than you usually do. Write a short poem in any style inspired by your experience. Do it in one location or several and see what results can be achieved.