National Poetry Day 2017

by Guest Blogger, E.M. Harris

As part of a short work placement for a module on my university course, the Denbighshire Archives offered me the role of ‘poet in residence’. I searched the Archives’ website for a topic that would be suitable for National Poetry Day 2017’s theme of ‘freedom’. Such a broad theme can be both a blessing and a curse, and the Archives’ website introduced me to so many interesting people and events in Denbighshire’s history. In time, I narrowed my choices down to one topic: the Kinmel Camp Mutiny of 1919, in which mostly Canadian soldiers rioted because of postponed and cancelled sailings back to their home. I had never heard of the Mutiny prior to this initial research, and felt it to be an important event in not only our area’s past, but also that of the military establishment. After in-depth research at the Archives, I visited St. Margaret’s Church at Bodelwyddan, hoping for some inspiration. Four of the five men killed in the riots are buried there, and for me, seeing the graves reinforced the importance of the topic. I experimented with form and style, and decided on a contemporary form in my own voice, in order to bring something that happened nearly a century ago into our current time.

National Poetry Week

I would like to thank the staff at the Denbighshire Archives for this opportunity, their help and their patience. This experience has helped me take my first steps into the world of professional writing, and has shown me that this county is, and always has been, an interesting place in which to live. I would also like to thank Mr. M. Hatch, whose amazing and thorough research collection on the Mutiny, which he kindly loaned to the Denbighshire Archives, provided so much information and inspiration.

National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems.


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