Canal poet Winston is angling for waterways poems

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Rochdale canal’s poet-in-residence, Winston Plowes, is fishing for poems – 92 of them, in fact - and hopes Write Out Loud’s poets can help. Winston is curating a collection of poems – one for every lock – for a towpath poetry trail along the 33-mile length of the Manchester to Sowerby Bridge canal, in time for the Rochdale canal festival from 18-26 August. He said:  “I am requesting poems which have an association with the canal. So that might include subjects like water, boats or the many people who use the towpath such as runners, walkers, dog owners and cyclists. You might work or live near the canal and draw inspiration from your experiences or write about the history or industrial architecture of the Rochdale, or any other canal. Don’t forget the abundance of wildlife on our canal system - plenty of scope for writing I’m sure you will agree.”

Rules are:  1)  previously published poems accepted (please give details of where published); 2) deadline 1 August; 3) max length 30 lines (not including title); 4)  optional biog can appear at the bottom of the poem, max 25 words which may include your website address; 50 you may choose a lock for your poem to be attached to, providing it is not already taken; 6) please submit your work as a word attachment to; 7) the decision of the Waterways Trust is final.

By coincidence, the Poetry Society is currently featuring a poem by Ian McMillan about canals on its website. You can read it here


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Greg Freeman

Tue 7th Aug 2012 23:32

Glad it's gone so well, Win. A great idea that obviously captured the imagination of many people.

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winston plowes

Tue 7th Aug 2012 22:16

The Rochdale Canal Towpath Poetry Trail

Firstly a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed their words to this great project. I have had an amazing response from poets from all over the country, which means that we have exceeded the target of 91 poems needed to post one on every lock by some margin. Your submissions have been surprising, heart felt, funny, bizarre and amazing. Over the next few days I will be deciding which poems will be posted and where on the 32 mile long trail and I will then notify all contributors then.

More details of the poetry events during The Canal Festival as well as details of when the trail can be seen on my site here – (under news and projects) and at the festival site here

Could this be the longest ever poetry trail?

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Paul Sands

Wed 1st Aug 2012 23:17

Did you make it to 92?

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Dave D Poet Rhumour

Mon 23rd Jul 2012 20:24

Hi Winston - thanks for the message about this venture.

I have just penned something and posted it as a normal entry so you can see it there (with a picture of the actual lock referred to). If that is the sort of thing you were hoping for then fine, but if I missed the mark let me know and I will tackle it from another angle.

Cheers, Dave

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winston plowes

Fri 20th Jul 2012 18:15

UPDATE - We have now received 62 poems with the promiss of another 20 in the pipeline so there is still time to send something in before the end of the the month and have it included, and maybe chosen for the trail.

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Paul Sands

Wed 18th Jul 2012 18:54

Need to encourage more things like this. Exposure to poetry, even when almost subliminally, is a good thing. It's a public health matter :)

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winston plowes

Tue 10th Jul 2012 23:38

Jolly good Ann, look forward to your contribution. Win X

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Ann Foxglove

Tue 10th Jul 2012 17:20

Whatever will hw think of next? Sounds brill! I'll try & get my thinking cap on!

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