Sunday, 22 April 2012

Queen Mab!

I remember reading Spenser's The Faerie Queen and always wanting to be the royal mistress of my own garden abode. Now, that youthful dream has come true... and I have been crowned as the first ever Poet in Residence of the National Botanic Garden of Wales!

At the time of that imaginative fantasy, I had no idea or even plans to become a poet. Poetry is a thing I accidentally stumbled into... Certainly, I wanted to be a writer, but not the Wendy Cope/Pam Ayres-a-like I seem to have turned into. I wanted to be a seeeeerious writer; a novelist; the voice of Wales! Instead I find, like my mother, I am a chatty girl who can't stop a bit of Cardiff humour spoiling her attempts at being/sounding high-minded/philosophical...

Except sometimes, when the personal or political aspect of a subject becomes a little too meaningful. The poem I wrote about the biggest bud in Wales, in bloom last year in the National Botanic Garden, and which led to me becoming Poet in Residence, was not just about this evil, blood-drinking killer-plant, or even how it transforms into a beautiful, nectar-offering delight when in bloom - it was more about a girl who is at first an ugly duckling, then something like a starlet... I don't think I will ever write a poem that is 'just about a flower' - though, I've got a whole year in the Garden, so, never say never!

Yes, a whole year... Of flouncing and pondering, mooching and meandering, walking and writing - and, since I am a performance poet, in true troubadour spirit I will also be engaging with visitors and staff, through research, workshops, readings, and blogs/social media. Poetry isn't just about the printed page... It's been in existence before the printing press was invented! And that's something I would like to promote during my Garden time, really.

So... A good first weekend in the Garden. I performed some poems in the Great Glasshouse, which is beautiful. I made some notes in the Hot House - some amazing palms, gingers, and orchids in there. AND - I got to see some some animals, including meercats, boa constrictors, and these baby jennets (pictured). Not quite the lion that the Faerie Queen is pictured with above, but - I'll get there! Maybe. Can we get some lions to Llanarthne, please?? Thanks very much!

Please follow my blog, on the right hand side, to keep up with my Garden/poetry adventures! Here are some news articles about it, too:

And, a radio interview! With Bethan Rhys Roberts and Oliver Hides. I am 2hrs 24mins in :-)

1 comment:

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

Congrats, I will make it one of my goals now to become poet in residence of something.