Last Sunday afternoon the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth, played host to the start of the Shore to Shore poetry tour. Headed up by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, the tour celebrated independent bookshops, poetry and community. Dame Carol Ann devised the tour to give something back to the local, independent bookshops she has such an affinity with.

Carol Ann Duffy is joined on the tour by fellow poets Gillian Clarke (who until recently was the National Poet of Wales), Jackie Kay (the Scots Makar), Imtiaz Dharker and musician John Sampson, as well as a special guest poet from each stop along the way. Local poet Penelope Shuttle joined them on stage in Falmouth, opening her spot with an amusing poem incorporating the Cornish language. Each poet took to the podium and read a short collection of their work, with hilarious yet skilled musical interludes by John Sampson. Topics covered love, loss, families and culture, and held the audience enraptured.

Gillian Clarke shared with us her poem, ‘In A Cardiff Arcade, 1952′, recalling a memory of finding a book in a little shop in Wales.

In a Cardiff Arcade, 1952
Gillian Clarke

One of those little shops too small
for the worlds they hold, where words
that sing you to sleep, stories
that stalk your dreams,
open like golden windows in a wall.

One small room leads to another,
the first bright-windowed on the street,
alluring, luminous. The other is dusk,
walled with pressed pages, old books
with leathery breath and freckled leaves.

What stays is not the book alone
but where you took it down,
how it felt in your hands,
how she wrapped it in brown paper,
how you carried it home,

how it holds wild seas
that knock the earth apart,
how words burn, freeze,
to break and heal your heart.

Shore to Shore summary_image

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