I’ve just got back from a day trip to the Wenlock Poetry festival, and I can highly recommend it. From the selection of lovely venues to the line up of poets and events, everything was beautifully organised and managed.
For those who are not familiar with the festival, it has been running for about five years and takes place in Much Wenlock, a small and pretty town in Shropshire that lies between Shrewsbury and Brignorth, to the northeast of the Ironbridge Gorge.
I understand that the ‘Much’ was added to Wenlock to distinguish it from the nearby Little Wenlock, and that Wenlock probably comes from the Celtic name Wininicas, meaning ‘white area’ (in reference to the limestone of Wenlock Edge), plus the Old English loca, meaning ‘enclosed place’.
I arrived in the early afternoon and didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to look around the town before attending a wonderful reading by Alison Brackenbury and Chris Kinsey, followed by the excellent Jean Sprackland and Robin Robertson. In the evening I had the slightly surreal experience of being presented with second prize in the festival competition by the judge Don Patterson, and, with the other winners, reading (or rather reciting my poem since I have lost my glasses) before the day was rounded off with superb readings from Andrew Mcmillan and Don, who was in great form and extremely funny. It was great to bump into friends and wander briefly through the town, and of course I was pleased that my poem had done well for itself. You can click to read the competition poems here.