I indulged myself at the weekend with one and half days at the Bridlington Poetry Festival (http://www.bridlington-poetry-festival.com/). This included a workshop on writing sonnets with James Nash, a talk on Pablo Neruda, an Iranian poet reading in Farsi, and performances from Michael Laskey, James Nash, WN Herbert and Jackie Kay (among others). It was both nourishing and inspiring, and took place in the beautiful surroundings of Sewerby Hall.
I learnt from Graham Fawcett that Pablo Neruda had an affinity to the sea which I could intimately relate to. Neruda wrote to 'whoever is not listening to the sea...' that 'the sea will make its answer/to the shuttered heart'. Despite all his wanderings, Neruda returned to the ocean over and over again, and I wonder whether I could ever live too far from it myself again.
Alireza Abiz gave us a timely reminder of the dangers that some poets/writers encounter for expressing their truth. He gave us an insight into the 'Ministry for Culture and Islamic Guidance', the wonderfully Orwell-esque name of the department of censorship in Iran.
However, I guess the highlight for me would be when I approached Jackie Kay after her superb performance and reminded her of her visit to my installation, 'Words in My Head', in the Sitwell Library at Woodend two years ago. And she still remembered it as 'a magic moment'.