Cley festival makes poetry fun

Poetry fans of all ages headed to a north Norfolk village hall to read, write and have fun with verse.

A 'Strictly Spoken' session saw allcomers reading a short W B Yeats poem, the Lake Isle of Innisfree, in front of panel of judges who held up marks out of 10.

Families went for a wander around Salthouse's British Colombia hall to gather inspiration - physical items, sounds, or just atmosphere - to use in penning a poem of their own.

And a tea time session mingled a cake and cuppa with poetry games such as consequences, with people taking turns to write a line each before revealing the combined effort.

The Cley Little Festival of Poetry has been running for 61 years since local resident Elsa Martin launched a poetry circle to encourage people to enjoy the literature format.

Festival secretay Helen Birtwell said the original aim to make poetry more accessible continued today, and she was delighted to see a wide range of people from pensioners to children taking part.

'Poetry used to have an image of being something just for the well off and well educated - something a bit airy-fairy only pursued by the elite,' she added.

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That had changed thanks to schools encouraging poetry as a means of freedom of expression, and the festival strove to combine some serious poetry with plenty of fun.

Poets Michael Mackmin, who is editor of The Rialto poetry magazine, Hannah Lowe and Jack Underwood read poems that influenced and inspired them. A poetry evensong in the neighbouring Salthouse church included a celebration of King James Bible led by the Dean of Norwich Cathedral the Very Rev Graham Smith, before a poetry and Pimms finale of further readings

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