A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday and my present from my Mum was a week in Northumberland – one of my very favourite parts of the world. A lot of cake was consumed, a lot of scenery was seen and an awful lot of poetry was read.
On National Poetry Day someone pointed me towards the Northern Poetry Library, which I hadn’t realised was in Morpeth. On our second day in Northumberland I headed there, read seven or eight poetry books and checked out twenty more to read at our cottage. Over the course of the week I read about thirty five in total and barely touched the books I had taken to read. I reviewed a few and they will be coming soon.
One of the lovely library assistants asked me how I was choosing what to read. It was incredibly hard to pick from the 15,000 copies on the shelves. I tended to choose one of three types of books
1) Collections by poets I loved but hadn’t seen that specific book
2) Books by poets I had never heard of
3) Books with good titles
I spent an awful lot of time in the library – especially as it rained towards the end of the week and it was open until 7.30pm most days. I found some early poems by writers I have always loved and I have some new favourites. I also saw how much poets change over time.
It was in equal parts humbling and terrifying. All of these wonderful writers and I was sitting there and trying to match up in some small way. If you are nearby and have a little time to spare it is definitely worth a visit.