GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Creative writing tutor and associate editor of Poetry Bay, UK poet Geraldine Green has two full collections The Other Side of the Bridge and Salt Road, both published by Indigo Dreams Publishing, and four pamphlet collections.
Geraldine is an experienced freelance creative writing tutor, mentor, editor and published poet. She was the first writer-in-residence at Brantwood Coniston Cumbria, where she regularly tutors residential creative writing courses. Co-tutors include Graham Mort, Penelope Shuttle, Pippa Little and George Wallace.
She was also the first writer-in-residence at Swarthmoor Hall Ulverston. As part of her residency at the Hall she tutored creative writing workshops titled ‘Living Words, an exploration into creativity, spirituality and the land.’
In September 2011 she gained a PhD in creative writing titled: ‘An Exploration of Identity and Environment through Poetry’ from Lancaster University. In 2005 she gained an MA in Creative Writing Poetry (Dist.) also from Lancaster University.
A frequent visitor to North America, she has read widely there and in the UK,
Italy and Greece.
Geraldine has performed alongside many poets and musicians in these countries, including musician David Amram at The Woody Guthrie Festival Okemah Oklahoma, Beat poet Michael McClure in Oakland California,
Carol-Ann Duffy at Poetry on the Lake Festival Orta Italy, Penelope Shuttle in Cornwall, Italy, North America and Cumbria. Geraldine has also frequently performed alongside New York poet George Wallace on a variety of poetry reading tours in America. Her work has been translated into German and Romanian.
Recipient of special commendation at the 2005 Poetry on the Lake Festival, Orta, Italy, her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies
138 x 216mm
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After Joe Brainard
I remember the first time I went to Kendal, how far is it?
I asked, 25 miles there and 25 miles back. 50 miles. I wanted
to travel further.
I remember Kendal Mint Cake and K shoes. I remember
my sister flooded out of her flat when the Kent overtopped
its bank one winter.
I remember the first time I went to Appleby Horse Fair
paddled among Piebalds and Skewbalds in the River Eden
savouring the words: pie bald, skew bald.
I don’t remember that the coat of arms for Westmorland
is two red bars, a golden apple tree (for Appleby) a ram’s head
and a shearsman hook.
I do remember that the Helm Wind is the only named wind
in Britain, blows in on north easterlies over Cross Fell, is called
Helm, wears a helmet of clouds, is fierce and blows for days.
I remember seeing tatty plastic bags tangled in branches along
the River Lune just below the Radical Steps, Kirkby Lonsdale.
I remember being amazed at the audacity of a man, a stranger,
who climbed a rock on Firbank Fell, gazed down onto a chapel
beneath him, listened to the preacher in the steeple-house below.
I remember Westmorland, sibling to the Furness Peninsula,
was once called Lancashire North of the Sands.
Sibling too, to Cumberland the wild, dark country beyond
Can you tell me the full moon names?
Wolf moon, Snow moon, Worm and Pink.
And can you tell me again
the names of the moon at its full?
Pink, Flower, Strawberry and Buck
and when is the Sturgeon, Harvest
and Hunter? August, September
October when fields have been reaped
and harvest is over.
November, the Beaver
before swamps freeze land and water,
frosty and cold before December
when long nights set in,
this moon before Yule
and always an extra moon
The blue moon,
the fourth moon.
My moon is red-grained and Green Corn.
Yours is the Worm moon when ice is melting
and the cawing of crows calls spring to its table
when time is ripe for tapping the maple.
But out of the blue
light will soon lengthen,
when Wolf moon is howling
I recall our walk in Burns Beck Moss
the softness of ground, the softness of feet, the hush of bodies, the quiet chat and the moss cushioning us, our feet, our chat, our bodies, our thoughts, the frogs’ stretched balletic legs, their crouched sanctuary among the sphagnum, speeding away from boots and trainers, our feet on cushioned silence, crushing their territory.
What do I know of stones?
Flat, mud-grey ones
on Foulney Island. Layer upon layer
heaped up for feet to scramble and slide on.
What do I know of stones?
Those at Aldingham, dark grey
round as a bird’s egg
shot through with milky quartz
in circles and crosses that lie
warm and smooth in my palm.
What do I know of stones?
Limestone dragons on Birkrigg
dinosaur-shapes glint white
fissures on ancient pavements.
What do I know of stones, their secret
of fossils: ammonites, ferns, feathers
spiralled, whorled worlds imprinted within them
ready to take flight
when their old stone-bodies
Pond near Lake Bank
on the edge
of the pond
on sphagnum moss
the toads I watch
gaze back at me
to my coming
by heavy treads
felt yards away
I gaze into water.
Small, black translucent balls of light
threaded onto invisible filaments float out on strings
below the pond’s dark surface
Above my head in the Dogrose
Near Eskdale Green
is a wren, chit chattering. Scolding us for being so close to her
nest beneath the garage eaves.
On the third day she became used to our presence, sat on the
branch of a slender ash tree branch and chittered.
Silhouetted against the morning sun her tail cocked and flickering
her small body alight and alive in amber light.
Each note fine-tuned and aimed at us. Intruders
near her dwelling.
‘Movement is the essence of Geraldine Green's poetry: the cadence of language evoking then becoming experience in poems that are motile under the skin of place and memory. This is a sensual and rich
collection from a poet who pierces the membrane between self and subject
with shape-shifting energy.’
‘In her ‘love letter to Cumbria’, Geraldine Green weaves together strands of auto-biography, landscape and inward journeying… This is writing that re-interprets modern pastoral, elemental and contemporary in all its facets. Using language that is nuanced and open enables this poet to catch, as if on the wing, glimpse after heart-glad glimpse of her part of this beautiful vulnerable planet.’ Penelope Shuttle
‘This is a collection embedded in Green’s native landscape, Her creative use of forms, inventive rhythms and repetition show thoughtfulness and care for both place
and craft. A delight.’
Passing Through is a journey, through poetry and prose, of one person’s love and celebration of the land, of Cumbria, its flora and fauna, a place where the writer was born, grew up and still lives.
Taken together the collection forms a love letter to Cumbria, mainly in response to the south and west of the county, some poetry and prose ventures farther afield. They are also, in part, a celebration of the writer’s year as writer-in-residence at Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria, former home of John Ruskin.
In the poet’s words: “They swoop and dive back and forth as walking daily along familiar paths and shores shakes this writer’s memory.”