Writing around and about here…

With the news that there is to be a literary festival in our town of Weston-super-Mare, I’ve been thinking about what I can do, and what the groups and other writers I’m involved in can offer… I was looking at literary connections here and in our county of Somerset, and there have been quite a few over the years!

As well as Jeffrey Archer, Roald Dahl , Hannah Moore and William Lisle Bowles  who lived or were born in Weston, here are just  a few writers/poets/dramatists i have come across with a Somerset connection:

  • Bill Bryson – Weston-super-Mare
  • Arthur C Clarke – Minehead, Bishop’s Lydiard, Taunton
  • Daniel Defoe – Battle of Sedgemoor, Westonzoyland
  • Elizabeth Goudge – Wells
  • Evelyn Waugh/Auberon Waugh – Combe Florey
  • Fay Weldon – Pilton
  • Henry Fielding – Walton
  • R.R.Tolkien – Clevedon, Cheddar
  • Jane Austen – Bath
  • John Steinbeck – Redlynch Bruton
  • Michael Holroyd and Margaret Drabble – Somerset.
  • Penolpe Lively – Roadwater
  • RD Blackmore – Porlock.
  • Robert Southey – Porlock, Minehead, Dnster
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Nether Stowey
  • Terry Pratchett – Bridgwater, Rowberrow, Wincanton
  • Thomas Hardy – Yeovil
  • TS Elliot – East Coker
  • William Makepeace Thackeray -, Clevedon Court,
  • William Wordsworth – Holford

East Coker

V

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

T.S.Eliot

A Cavern That Overlooks the River Avon

When I was growing up in Cambridge, we had local giants, Gog and Magog, or maybe it was a single giant Gogmagog after whom some low chalky hills were named… or so I always believed and so we learnt in our local history lessons when I was at junior school.  However there is also a Biblical connection, but Gog was the giant and Magog was his land…

Now we live near Bristol, it seems there were giants here too, Goram and Ghyston, or Vincent, who lived in a cave in the Avon Gorge… you can still see the cave today, but here is a poem by Robert Southey, who lived from 1774 to 1843; he was born in Bristol and obviously knew the legends:

For a Cavern that Overlooks the River Avon

Enter this cavern, Stranger! Here, awhile
Respiring from the long and steep ascent,
Thou mayst be glad of rest, and haply too
Of shade, if from the summer’s westering sun
Sheltered beneath this beetling vault of rock.
Round the rude portal clasping its rough arms,
The antique ivy spreads a canopy,
From whose gray blossoms the wild bees collect
In autumn their last store. The Muses love
This spot; believe a Poet who hath felt
Their visitation here. The tide below,
Rising or refluent, scarcely sends its sound
Of waters up ; and from the heights beyond,
Where the high-hanging forest waves and sways,
Varying before the wind its verdant hues,
The voice is music here. Here thou mayst feel
How good, how lovely. Nature! And when, hence
Returning to the city’s crowded streets,
Thy sickening eye at every step revolts
From scenes of vice and wretchedness, reflect
That Man creates the evil he endures.

Robert Southey

Her is what the cave looks like:

https://www.cliftonobservatory.com/giants-cave/