I have never really been one for poetry. It is a medium that I have never understood yet I have made a discovery. Right here in my home town is the Northern Poetry Library. It is set in the beautiful Chantry which has stood on the banks of the river Wansbeck since as far back as 1296. The same building houses the bagpipe museum and holds over one hundred and fifty of these instruments. Many, but not all, are of the Northumbrian variety which has a softer and more gentle tone than its larger Scottish cousin. I have gone off piste.
I have no idea when the poetry collection was housed here yet it contains over fifteen thousand books. It is the largest collection of poetry in England outside of London. I went in to the Chantry to look for some gift ideas. There are a couple of birthdays coming up and of course Christmas is on its way and there is a little shop inside the old chapel which is ideal for such occasions.
A good portion of the down stairs has been set aside for the books. There are shelves and shelves of them. I stopped to browse through a few and in the end I just had to borrow a couple. I don’t know why but I chose ‘Fossil Unicorn’ by Sally Purcell and ‘Careful what you wish for’ by Peter Sansom. If I get on with them I will go back and borrow some more.
And why shouldn’t I get on with poetry? I read a lot of other types of writing yet I think that this may require a different tack. I am trying to slow down, absorb the imagery of the words and avoid reading them with a rhythm like a limerick. It may take time and I may also need some help. Perhaps I should go to a poetry appreciation class or some readings but let’s not get too carried away.
If you are ever up this way then the Chantry is worth a look. For bagpipes, for gifts and of course for poetry. Morpeth has it covered.