'Walkshop' participants look, listen - and chat - along the canal towpath. Photo: Kevin Mitchell.

Canal-side Poetry Workshop with tutor Jo Bell

6th September 2015, 1:00pm - 4:00pm, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN

An afternoon's canal-side 'walkshop' with canal laureate Jo Bell, writing poetry inspired beside, and by, the Kennet & Avon Canal. The event included the opportunity for participating poets to join Jo in an evening performance of their work at the Swan Hotel in Bradford on Avon.
Jo also included one-to-one sessions with four of the workshoppers, who had applied in advance for that opportunity.

The walkshop was enormously enjoyable, not least because the weather was glorious, making it possible for Jo to conduct the workshop part of the day on the grass by the river. Alongside the canal, she made various stops to inform workshop participants about life on the canal, and to read poems which directly related to that life and environment. There was lots of lively discussion along the way, interest from passers by, and interaction with both people on the towpath and on the boats. We then walked by the river, and explored the tithe barn, before settling down on the grass to do various writing exercises, and to read out what we had produced (much of it virtually ready for publication, it seemed).

Feedback from the day included the following:

Dear Dawn,
Just wanted to thank you for a wonderful day of poetry and discovery of more canal facts than I could have imagined,
Thank you so much.
Hope it's the first of many - please keep me posted on all things poetic!
with all good wishes,
Helen Frame

Jo Bell is an award-winning poet and occasional broadcaster, described by Carol Ann Duffy as 'one of the most exciting poets now writing.' She is the first Canal Laureate of the UK. Jo is an archaeologist, and a boat-dweller who knows the Kennet & Avon well. Her second collection, Kith, out now from Nine Arches Press, has been called 'witty, sexy and deft'. Formerly in charge of National Poetry Day, Jo now devises national projects such as 52, a huge new poetry community with many awards to its name.

This event was brought to you by Words & Ears, in conjunction with the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

To see photos of the 'walkshop' in progress, use the following link: