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Through the Woods at Ted Hughes Festival

Thank you Anna Turner,

Anna Turner, programme director

for booking Through the Woods – with David Calcutt

David Calcutt reads Dinmore Woods


and Nadia Kingsley

Nadia Kingsley, Ted Hughes festival,2014

and Helen Calcutt – at this year’s Ted Hughes festival !!


Helen Calcutt, at Ted Hughes Festival 2014


What a wonderful experience !

The Poetry Cafe at Erringden Rooms in Mytholmroyd is perfect for poetry  – great light, great acoustics, a relaxed intimate space, hot drinks and delicious home made cakes

David Calcutt and I, Nadia Kingsley read from Through the Woods, surrounded by Peter Tinkler’s art. Helen Calcutt read from “Sudden Rainfall” and also new poems. The audience were just as you’d hope – interested and responsive; appreciating our work in the same spirit and attentive ear they gave the Ted Hughes poems we each read out


Nadia Kingsley read The Heron by Ted Hughes


David Calcutt, Ted Hughes festival, 2014
Nadia Kingsle, David Calcutt, Through the Woods

Helen Calcutt, Ted Hughes FestivalDavid Cacutt, Dinmore Woods

Ted Hughes Festival is run by The Elmet Trust and is held at the end of each October.  Watch out for a dramatised performance of Ted Hughes’ Gaudete in, I think 2016, by Oliviero and Kate Papi who were in the audience.. They were in Mytholmrod, the birthplace of Ted Hughes, hunting down local voices for their forthcoming production ( – though in October 2014 this website is still to be constructed)


What a delight after a walk on the windswept oranged-and-browned moors above Marsden, (where Simon Armitage grew up), to find this review of Through the Woods pamphlet waiting in my inbox… Thank you Jean!

Jean Atkin, poet (Oversteps Books, Biscuit Tin Press, Roncadora Press, Ravenglass Poetry Press. Shortlisted for the Callum MacDonald Prize 2011)                                                                Children’s writer, writer in education and the community

This pamphlet consists of two long poems, ‘Dinmore Woods’ by David Calcutt, and ‘Bridging the Unpath’ by Nadia Kingsley.

Calcutt’s work explores the history and people of Dinmore Woods in Herefordshire:

Names flower in the mouth
That bits on its root
The slow forgetting
The fallen fruit.

I really enjoyed the pace of this work, its attention to detail, to loss and to what survives. Calcutt captures a sense of passing time and eroding traditions without sentimentality. Running through the poem is the River Wye. I loved this glorious description of catching a trout, which is about catching so much more:

the writhing, thrashing, banging life of it
Like reeling in the river itself
From source to sea, the whole country
With my hook in its lip…

‘Bridging the Unpath’ by Nadia Kingsley, is a more experimental piece of writing starting in close, microscopic focus of moths, but rapidly expanding:
white/ pond white/ river wet/ roads Moon/ so round it hogs/ the limelight

I found Kingsley’s work invigorating in its energy and imagery, an incantation to woods, to river, to human experience and wonder.

Don’t stare.
lightonlightoff lightonlightoff

I know you’re there charges the ether
stillness a gasp

a sudden fast

It’s also important to say that Through the Woods is illustrated by Peter Tinkler. There is an arresting, mysterious, wordless cover, and finely reproduced drawings inside, a wonderfully sensitive response to the poetry    

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