June 2016

Since I last wrote I have watched Newstead slowly shift from early to late Spring – and even (without jinxing the sun today!) into the Summer. The bare bracken patches on the drive are now wildly green and flowered, and the rhododendrons have been glorious towers of purple. It’s been an amazing couple of months – I met the wonderful Friends of Newstead Abbey and was able to read them some of Byron’s poems, as well as my own poem about Newstead, ‘South Stair Bow Window’.  This poem was read at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of Shakespeare’s 400 years celebrations; I like the idea of Byron and Newstead sort of gate-crashing the party! There have been lots of chances to share Byron, Newstead and poetry with people. I had the chance to make a podcast as part of the training programme for my PhD, when I was interviewed by fellow Midlands3Cities student and poet Richard O’Brien at the NTU Centre for Broadcasting and Journalism. This was enormous fun, as you can hear here. The wonderful Nottingham City of Literature team published an article about Newstead’s many treasures on their website, click here. I was featured poet in the June edition of LeftLion; many thanks to the team there and to the very talented illustrator, Ian Carrington. Then just yesterday I was at Radio Nottingham for a chat with Alan Clifford about Newstead, poetry, Byron, and the peacocks. It was great to meet him and talk about this phenomenal place. My brief when I started was to see if poetry can be used to help visitors understand...