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Sea haiku madness at THE IRON AGE festival

On Saturday I set sail on the squally seas in a Cullercoats fishing boat. I sit in my warm study, contemplating the weather. Wind whips round the yard, rattling the chains of the hanging baskets. Rain lashes the window. This trip is going to be more of an adventure than I’d reckoned.

The trip is the brainchild of publisher Peter Mortimer, founding editor of IRON Press, now celebrating its 40th anniversary at THE IRON AGE festival, Cullercoats (15-19 May 2013).

Sold as ‘sea haiku’, the lure of boat trip plus haiku workshop was too strong to resist. The promise of a fish and chip dinner sealed the deal.

Fish and chips firmly in mind, I am psyching myself up for wind and water. I shan’t be alone. There’ll be six poets per sailing, under the eye of seasoned fisherman John Stock.

What is the collective noun for poets? A brooding? A kerfuffle? A groan? The local News Guardian dubbed us ‘his strangest cargo’. Probably right.

I’ll be ready. I’m hunting down my waterproofs and swotting up on haiku. The Iron Book of British Haiku offers a lucid introduction to the form and includes my favourite haiku by Seamus Heaney. To say so much, so simply, and to say it all in the spaces between words. Now that’s something I want to do…

Join IRON Press alumni Melvyn Bragg, David Almond, Ian McMillan – and many more – for 5 days of words, music, sea, sand, snooker, fish and chips at THE IRON AGE Festival (Cullercoats, Wed 15 – Sun 19 May 2013). 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Stormy seas off the North East coast today. In case anyone in deep cyberspace is worrying, I’m still on dry land. The sea haiku trip has been postponed until calmer weather prevails. Happily the fish and chips are still on schedule. Eighteen poets now thinking that their bread has just landed butter-side-up.

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