The Festival and Cornwall

Tucked away in the coastal corner of England, Cornwall is a county of stunning beauty that has inspired artists and writers for generations.

The stunning Cornish coast

The stunning Cornish coast

While we will be hosting poets from around the country, and indeed the world, the history and culture of Cornwall is inextricably linked with the Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival.

Cornwall is county with a rich history filled with stunning panoramas. Stretching from the River Tamar all the way down to Land’s End, it is the furthest south you can go on the island of Great Britain without hitting the ocean. Its beautiful beaches make for popular tourist destinations for people interested in everything from simple sightseeing to fishing to surfing.

The area the festival itself is held in, Bodmin Moor, is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This moorland location is the highest and least-populated area of Cornwall, with its uppermost point being 420 metres above sea level. While not residing on the renowned Cornish coastline, Bodmin Moor is home to the Siblyback Lake and the Dozmary Pool, the latter location believed to be the resting place of King Arthur’s sword Excalibur.

The area’s sweeping moorlands and ancient ruins make for an inspiring environment to wander around, both for those who are and are not familiar with the site. In celebration of this captivating area of nature, we will be hosting a walk around the famed Bodmin Cheesewring, which will also double-up as a mobile poetry reading, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of both the landscapes and the poetry.

Killmar Tor, Bodmin Moor, one of the highest peaks in Cornwall

Killmar Tor, Bodmin Moor, one of the highest peaks in Cornwall

The origins of the festival are rooted in the founder’s wish to bring creativity to Cornwall, and especially to try and encourage the next generation of poets. The festival has partnered with Liskeard Hillfort Primary School, as well as both Plymouth and Falmouth University in an effort to incite the inspire local young people into taking part in poetry.

Poets don’t have to have been born and raised in Cornwall to use it as inspiration; indeed, one of Cornwall’s most celebrated poets was actually Scottish. W. S. Graham was born and raised in Scotland, but spent the majority of his adult life in Cornwall, and based much of his work around its coastal towns, such as Mevagissey and St Ives.

We will be celebrating the life of Graham at the festival in what would have been his centenary year. Writer Tony Lopez will be conducting a talk about Graham and Cornwall, and Luke Antysz and Tristan Sturrock will be, respectively, dancing to and narrating Graham’s most famous poem, Nightfishing.   

Cornwall is a gorgeous and unique location that has served as poetic inspiration for hundreds of years. There’s no place we would rather hold our poetry festival, and we hope you can come along to enjoy it too.

by Seren Livie