For the second time this November, the Contemporary Poetry Festival aims to take place in Falmouth, Cornwall, on the weekend of the 11th-13th, following the success of the event in June, 2014. The event in itself originated as an initiative of the Falmouth Poetry Group, as well as the support of Arts Council England, Falmouth University and The Tanner Trust, all of whom aim to work together in order to provide a diverse range of contemporary poetry for eager attendants of the event.
The Falmouth Poetry Group which runs the event is nearing its 45th year in 2017 after its inauguration in 1972 by Peter Redgrove, and is consequently one of the oldest poetry groups in the country. In addition to the operation of the festival and other such major collaborative events, the foundation also aims to schedule regular readings as well as workshops which work with published poets in order to inspire and innovate their members, who endeavor to meet each month to share and develop each other’s poetry.
The other major contributor to the upkeep and running of the event is Falmouth University, which has been rated as the UK’s premier Arts University for three years running by the Sunday Times. In addition to offering a variety of courses, the university aims to provide leading and thought-provoking courses in English, journalism and creative writing, and seemingly endeavours to utilise events such as this as to offer exposure to fresh poets as well as praise those who are active in the contemporary field.
This year, the festival aims to provide a wide selection of events for poets and fans alike, spanning from Poetry Slam events to panels, readings and an open mic boat trip down the River Fal, at which poets may perform around the theme of ‘Voyage’. On the Saturday of the event, judge Alison Brackenbury also aims to announce the winners of the Open Poetry Competition, which aims to challenge Cornish Contemporary poets to write expressive and provoking poems surrounding the sea and Cornish life.
Whilst Cornwall may be known for its variety of water sports, there may also be a plethora of further attractions available for the avid traveller as the seasons begin to change, ranging from the historic to the contemporary. Tourists may choose to experience 450 years of history at Henry VIII’s southern stronghold, the Pendennis Castle, which later served as a secret base in WWII for the English forces. Alternatively, visitors may explore the Fox Rosehill Garden and its exotic variety of flora, or the National Maritime Museum, where they may travel through a history of oceanic exploration from the Vikings to the ships of today, or even immerse themselves under the sea without touching a drop of water.
Even in the winter, the sea may be within bounds, as some companies endeavor to continue their events and tours on shorter trips. One example of this may be the AK Wildlife Cruises, which aim to run throughout the entirety of the year and explore the native Cornish wildlife, particularly the peregrine falcon nests, dolphins and Fin Wales. Travellers may even have the chance to spot a passing pod of orcas, if luck looks kindly on them!
Whichever attraction pulls travellers to Cornwall this winter, it appears as though the region is permeated with year-round opportunities for artists and laymen alike. With the resurgence of the Contemporary Poetry festival this year, travellers may discover a new lens through which to view the southern regions, and perhaps even the rest of the world in which we live.
How may society continue to use art and self-expression in order to travel and grow?