Heart of the Travelling People – Open Poetry Day
This is what is known as ‘the tinkers’ heart’ on the road near Strachur. It is a place that is very special to the traveller community, and there is a campaign, run by Jess Smith, to have it marked as a place of historic significance. You can see the campaign page here: Saving-the-heart-of-the-Travelling-People.
On Saturday last I was up there for the Open Poetry Day, an afternoon of poetry and music, organised by Jess Smith, author and traditional story teller, and my friend Sally Evans, poet and publisher and organiser of the famous Callander Poetry Weekend. It was all a bit wet and windy to have the event in the open air as we had hoped, but we repaired to the very hospitable Creggans Inn in Strachur.
There were two competitions as part of the day, one for haibun writing, judged by Colin Will, whose latest collection The Book of Ways, was the inspiration for the competition, and one for spoken poetry, judged with great generosity and insight by Jess.
The spoken word competion was won by Mo Blake
and I’m delighted and very honoured to say that my haibun, Northern Stones, won the haibun competition. It will be published in Poetry Scotland later this year.
Jess was planning to read poetry composed by members of the Traveller community, which I was sorry to miss, but we had to leave early to get to Edinburgh for an evening event. However, we were there for some music provided by Wullie Purcell and Magi McGlynn.
Many thanks to Sally, Jess, Colin and all the poets who travelled to the event from all over Scotland to be there. It was lovely!