Derbyshire town's budding poets display their work on trees
Budding poets in Belper have contributed to a tree-mendous community project that will be showcased this month.
Wordsmiths as young as five are among residents who have written more than 100 poems that will be pinned to trees in St Peter’s churchyard.
Their creations will be on show from April 17 to May 12 and later displayed on a trail through town as part of Belper Fringe.
Carol Brewer, who is organising the initiative, said: “A poem written by a poet friend of mine, all about a ‘poet tree’, got me thinking about a community event that could be safely undertaken as a positive antidote to the recent challenges we have endured.
"St Peter’s church has two lovely avenues of trees that are often used for community projects, so it seemed the perfect place to start. It grew from there.
"The creative community of Belper never fail to respond positively, it’s been lovely to see so much interest. All the poems have been read and formatted by me. A lot made me smile or think and that’s always good.
"There was no stipulation as to theme or style so we have many varied subjects from a Japanese warrior to a duckling.”
The poems in the churchyard will change on May 1 to give renewed interest in Poet-Trees for those who may wish to visit again.
There will also be a series of six special mystery poems for children to guess the name of a creature, then use the first letter of each creature to form another word. These will also change on May 1.
The Poet-Trees Trail, running for a fortnight from June 28 as part of the Fringe, will see many of the creations attached to trees within the Market Place, along King Street, Bridge Street and down to the River Gardens. There will be the chance to enter a prize draw by collecting 21 hidden code words within 21 of the poems.
Carol said that organisers are hoping to create a booklet as a record of the event. “We would love ‘Poet-Trees’ become a regular annual Fringe event as there has been a lot of interest,” she said.
She published her own poems in a book entitled “Verses the Virus” during lockdown, with a donation from every sale going to NHS Charities Together and Mental Health UK.
One of her poems, The Belper Moo, is being turned into an illustrated book. This poem was inspired by the whole town moo-ing at 6.30pm each evening in a bid to ease the stress and loneliness of lockdown.
Writing poetry helped Carol, 59, recover from a serious illness which cut short her working life as an administrative officer for Derbyshire Constabulary HQ. She was diagnosed with atherosclerosis (narrowed arteries) which resulted in a mini stroke in 2014 that left her with partial vision and mobility problems.
Carol, who lives on John O’ Gaunt’s Way in Belper, said: “I love poetry and the benefits it can bring, both creating it and reading it.”
She made several video recordings for Belper Fringe’s ‘Bedtime Stories’ project last year.
To find out more about Carol’s poetry, go to www.pencilpoised.com