Love in a cold climate

Posted on 20th July 2012 | in Community , Heritage & Tourism , News , What's On

Kate Bland, Katrina Porteous, Norma Hinson, Ian Hinson, Stephanie Butland and Fiona Shaw were among those who recorded love poetry for the Peace Camp project:

There are very few love poems written in the Northumbrian dialect or even any written by Northumbrian poets. This was discovered when a recording session was organised as part of the cultural programme associated with the Olympics.

A few of us met in Fourways 2 to record love poetry, spoken with our local accent.

We were directed by Fiona Shaw, the actor, (one of my heroes, I have to say).

This was part of Peace Camp, a nationwide project, involving erecting tents on various sites along the coast, where the voices of local people will be heard reciting poetry, with the theme of love.

Most of the love poetry of this region is in the form of songs. We sang some and recited others. Obviously we needed to have a few attempts. But with Fiona saying such as “Leave space between the words”, “let’s hear the sound of the wind”, we produced some recordings.

We might hear ourselves in amongst sounds of the sea and the wind on the headland at Dunstanburgh Castle in the days leading up to the Olympics, but we certainly enjoyed the reading of the poetry.

One of the group of readers, Stephanie Butland wrote in her blog: “I’m a bit overwhelmed that a word or two of my voice might whisper its way into these tents. Reading poetry this morning was lovely, and reminded me how much poems want and need to be spoken, rather than read. (It’s the difference between a kiss and reading about a kiss.) Being directed by Ms Shaw was a bit mind-blowing. (‘Let the words breathe… now whisper it, as though you can’t quite believe you’re going to say it, but then you say it anyway.’) And being gathered round a table with lovely people – an old teacher of mine, people who knew my grandparents, Katrina Porteous, a local poet who is wonderfully knowledgeable about dialect and accent – was terrific.”

The tents will be at Dunstanburgh castle from July 19th to 22nd. Go into a tent and hear some lovely Northumbrian poetry, read in a Northumbrian accent.

Norma Hinson
Read Stephanie’s blog

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