A is for Aldeburgh

American poet Marie Howe thought it was pronounced Aydelburg, but as we all eventually learn it’s really Ohld-brah. The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival celebrates its 22nd birthday this year and – though like all arts organizations is struggling for survival in rocky times – has brought back the usual throng of poets and readers for a weekend by the sea.

We arrived early, in time to dine on sole from the local farm shop’s sustainable fish shop

and check out Tammy’s allotment, where even after a late planting the radishes were flourishing

likewise the raspberries

and apples

and sloes, begging for gin:

After some heavy poetry workshopping, we fortified ourselves at 152 (feta-pomegranate salad and beetroot risotto with a natty parmesan chapeau for me)

before taking in our first reading of the festival, where we heard J.O. Morgan, Matthew Caley and Don Paterson (who will be giving a lecture on Robert Frost as well).

Several poetry organizations were represented (the Poetry Society, the Poetry Book Society, the Poetry School, and the Poetry Foundation)

and the book tables at the back of the stage were thronged as ever. My bags grow heavier, my wallet lighter.

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