Poetry celebrates the next chapter of Norwich’s ambitious literary future
- Credit: Joanna Millington
The words of poets Ruby Pinner and George Szirtes have been heralding the next chapter for Writers' Centre Norwich and the National Centre for Writing. Arts correspondent Emma Knights reports.
'I do not know another place quite like this,' begins the evocative poem written to mark the latest stage in the modern day literary life of Norwich's historic Dragon Hall.
Once a medieval trading hall, the King Street venue is set to be transformed into the National Centre for Writing by next summer, a fitting symbol of Norwich leading the way with words as a UNESCO City of Literature.
And what better way to celebrate the beginning of the building work on this ambitious project, led by Writers' Centre Norwich (WCN), than with the words of poets.
WCN Young Ambassador Ruby Pinner was commissioned to write a new piece of poetry which she presented at Tuesday's breaking ground ceremony at Dragon Hall.
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Called New Era, it cleverly takes as its starting point another work written by Wymondham-based poet George Szirtes called This is the House the Word Built, and which was written to celebrate Writers' Centre Norwich moving into its new home at Dragon Hall.
Here we share Ruby's new poem and some of the words that inspired her.
• For more on the National Centre for Writing, visit www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk
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An excerpt from George Szirtes' poem This is the House the Word Built which inspired Ruby Pinner's poem New Era
This is the trading hall, this the undercroft,
these are the dragons, the witches, the roofbeams,
the house of the treasurer, the property of the businessman
the house of the mayor and mayor again
that was built with the money and fabric
the word built.
This is the house the word built.
New Era by Ruby Pinner
I do not know another place quite like this.
Where so many footprints have been planted, is
There an untouched spot left? Year after year this place takes the
Stage again: a new costume, a new role, a new face, trading
Old walks and ways for new and still this hall
Is ink-dripping with magic and spells. This
History is forever and the
Old world will always find its way home, crawling out from the ancient undercroft.
I do not know walls that have seen the world as these,
Rubbed shoulders with the rich and poor, are
They ready to welcome a new era? Will the
Doors open up and let the young ones fly on the backs of the dragons
That sleep here? The
Light, I'm sure, will shine through but still leave the witches
In peace and let the newborns sing along with the
Symphony of fluttering page after page, the roofbeams
A ribcage armouring the pounding heart, with the
Words of every continent so at home in this house.
I know not what the future holds, of
What mysteries lie beneath the
Ground we break, what treasure
Rests in wait. But it will be the property
Of every age, of
Every footprint from the
Writer, the student, the artist, the teacher, the architect, the businessman.
There is no other place like this.
A pocket stuffed with some of the
Greatest stories ever told, trinkets of time handed down year after year after year, a house
For every thought, every sentence, every language, every poem, play and song. The
Soil is rich with memories that grow with every word,
Ready for the next life to be built.