Cathedral Poet-in-Residence: A Sociable October

Although writing is a solitary activity, it can also be very much a shared and social one. It’s an aspect of writing I’ve been very much aware of during October in my tenure as Chester Cathedral’s Poet-in-Residence. ‘A contained vastness,’ a sense of being in the present moment but standing under ‘the weight of time’ are two comments made by workshop participants in Write for Growth’s ‘From Stone
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Cathedral Poet-in-Residence: Making Waves and a Monk Seal

‘Careful now!’ the Organist calls out as I gingerly tread the stone spiral staircase leading to the Cathedral’s organ loft. ‘I broke my leg coming down here a couple of years ago.’ It doesn’t bode well. We are on our way up. At the top, we shuffle past the wooden seat to look at the hard tiled floor way down below, alongside a Verger who, somewhat inexplicably, we find already up here. ‘Whatever you
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Do you have to live in the Cathedral now?

  This comment from a former student of mine popped up on LinkedIn as I updated my job profile to include ‘Poet-in-Residence at Chester Cathedral,’ the year’s Volunteer Role I’m privileged to have started on August 1st. I’ve had excited smiles from my friends and a warm welcome from the Cathedral community as I’ve taken up the role, alongside two recurring questions: What does that mean? What are
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Turning Points at Write for Growth

It so often happens: A Write for Growth topic I thought would be quite straightforward is more complicated than expected.  As we gathered at Gladstone’s Library earlier in July to explore our theme of Turning Points, we started by looking at Robert Frost’s deceptively simple poem, ‘The Road Not Taken.’ The reader can easily be soothed into a false sense of security by the regular rhythm and rhyme
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Reading As Above So Below

  ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ So says Shakespeare’s Hamlet to his friend, shaken by the sight of Hamlet’s father’s ghost. As Above So Below is a new online magazine dedicated to poetry in the territory of these ‘more things.’ It explores themes of spirituality and is initiated and edited by poet and creative writing practitioner Be
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Journalling into 2019

Write for Growth’s  New Year, New Journal Workshop at Gladstone’s Library on a January Saturday always draws a full house. We gathered to explore fresh angles on journalling our way through 2019. Making space to write is one thing, but once we’ve done that, we can find another gap – between our desire to write and actually putting words on a page. Closing that gap can be a challenge for every writer.
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Coffee with a Poem

‘It’s all about how we have choices,’ said a Write for Growth participant, as we looked at this poem under our workshop theme Space and Light. See what you think over a cup of coffee as we sit down with Naomi Shihab Nye’s ‘The Art of Disappearing.’    The Art of Disappearing When they say Don’t I know you? say no.   When they invite you to the party remember what parties are like before an
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Poetic Spirit in the City

It was Race Day in Chester in Saturday as we came together at Retreat House Chester for the more gentle pursuit of the poetic spirit.  Poetry and spirituality inhabit a common landscape. Derek Walcott, whose poem Love after Love was amongst those we read, has said, ‘I never separated the writing of poetry from prayer.…it is a vocation.’       The writer Mark Oakley comments that God gives us our being; w
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Between Seasons

When  August is drawing to a close – particularly after the Bank Holiday – I always have a sense of the season starting to shift. The light becomes more tawny and slant; there’s a new chill in the breeze and the clear, light evenings of June have given way to twilight’s earlier curtain. It may not be Autumn quite yet, but it is no longer quite Summer.  Change is in the air. September brings the n
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Encountering Animals at Frodsham

Animal Encounters was our theme for April’s Write for Growth at Castle Park Arts Centre, amid the stimulus of the annual exhibition of the Association of Animal Artists This year’s exhibition is even more inspirational than last year, incorporating categories from Power and Pace of Life to Fragile World and Windows to the Soul. It’s on until mid-May, so do go and see it for yourself if you can. We wrote about
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  • About Julia

    Julia

    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

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