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Episode 1

Episode 1 of 4

Ruth Padel and the Dove Cottage Poets in Grasmere work on some poems in progress, testing and revising as they go, in a spirit of supportive criticism. Tough love for poems.

Ruth Padel and the The Dove Cottage Poets in Grasmere work on some poems in progress. Tough love for poems.

Poetry Workshops are gathering all over the country. In the back rooms of pubs, in libraries and in front rooms, poets meet to hone their craft and sharpen their verse. Ruth Padel begins a new series of programmes by working with The Dove Cottage Poets in Grasmere.
Going behind the scenes of the poems, the group are ruthless yet supportive as they chuck out words and redraft; listening, pruning and testing their work as they go. The theme for this week's poems is fathers, apt of course for the home-place of Wordsworth, the father of English romanticism.
The group discuss the techniques, inspiration, wordplay and imagination that make poetry so enjoyable and rewarding. As well as working on their own poems, the group bravely try out a writing exercise to warm up their poetry muscles, focussing on line endings by experimenting with a very famous poem by William Carlos Williams. They also consider a poem by a much loved poet associated with the area; Norman Nicholson.
Producer: Sarah Langan.

30 minutes

Last on

Sat 10 Nov 2012 23:30

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On Reflection by Mary Chuck

I visit when I can, bring flowers, kick stone.

I never find you there although

on sunny days I think you stop to share

philosophy on the old route up Helm Crag.


Your paintings still look fresh. Some books

have gone, the army rucksack, twisted on

Mont Blanc, and all those yellowed copies

of ‘The Listener’ that you stored for years.


We still move compost in your battered barrow,

un-dubbined boots are great to plant nasturtiums;

their laces are employed to tie wisteria trellises.

You don’t approve?  You’d have to shout.


It’s me now, struggling with the hearing aid.

I feed the stony soil, find new potatoes, then

help grandsons free the sweet green peas

we used to steal from you.  I miss the talk


we might have had – the way that argument

lifted the tired mouth, lit up the hooded eyes

caught in the mirror of the mahogany wardrobe

that, on reflection, looked better back in Newcastle.

Cry by David Wilkinson

My father’s cry comes without heart

into the morning Liverpool air:

‘whose rags and bones are ready for the cart?’


Kids play football in the park. The mart

is open, but may the buyer beware.

My father’s cry comes without heart


out of the Stanley Park. Dark clouds part,

weeping their rain on the unaware.

‘Whose rags and bones are ready...?’ For the cart


is idle. Drink-fuelled it will all restart.

Like a loner lost in solitaire,

my father’s cry comes without heart


ripping the evening smog. It’s a grotesque art

to shout, to curse, to fight and then declare

whose rags and bones are ready for the cart!


His flesh and blood are ready to depart

into the night, without a prayer.

My father’s cry comes. Without heart,

whose rags and bones are ready for the cart?  

Information on The Wordsworth Trust

For more information about our hosts, visit their website: The Wordsworth Trust


  • Sun 4 Nov 2012 16:30
  • Sat 10 Nov 2012 23:30