Positively Cuckoo Pennine Poetry

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Junior poets will be flocking to Marsden, West Yorkshire, on Saturday 21st April for the village's 25thannual Cuckoo Day festival. Local legend has it that villagers built a wall around the cuckoo to keep it in the village, thus putting off the end of Spring. But the cuckoo, the legend has it, still managed to escape over the top, causing locals to declare that they’d built the wall “just one course too low”.

Pupils from Marsden Junior School have joined with Lily Lane Primary School of Moston, Manchester (pictured performing at 2017 Poetry Jam) to write poems on the theme of ‘don’t fence me in’, some of which will be displayed in Marsden shop windows during the festival. They have also built model enclosures on the theme to be judged by local architect Gordon Bruce, a member of Marsden the Poetry Village group which is organizing the work with the schools. The models will be displayed in the United Reformed Church, Peel St, Marsden from 12.30, followed at 13.00 by the children of both schools reading their poems and singing “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Born Free”.

The festival will have a hugely varied programme of events including music and dancing in the Mechanics Hall, the big Cuckoo Parade through Marsden streets at 15.00, and the Duck Race will be putting the Grand National to shame at 16.00.

Visitors to Marsden the Poetry Village can also find shelves of poetry books to dip into in local pubs and cafés as respite from the cuckoo madness on the streets outside.

Write Out Loud Marsden established Marsden the Poetry Village with the help of dedicated local poetry activists to engage more people in poetry, particularly young people. Its annual poetry jam has become a very popular fixture at the Marsden Jazz Festival each October. Lily Lane children performed poems as the top of the bill in 2017.

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