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Creative Writing at Cardiff
Wed 29 May 2002
Creative writing colleagues and former students gathered in Cardiff to mark the retirement of Norman Schwenk and to celebrate the achievement of the distinguished team of tutor/writers who, under his leadership, were responsible for the creation, development and successful running of the Cardiff MA in the Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing over the last nine years.
Those contributing to the event included part-timers Karen Buckley, Anne Cluysenaar, Deborah Davies, Colin Evans, David Greenslade, Jim Tucker, Hilary Llewellyn-Williams (none of whom will be employed by Cardiff University next year) as well as Roger Ellis and John Freeman who will not be teaching creative writing. The intention was to affirm and illustrate the values which have underpinned the teamÒs work over these years.

Events like this are notoriously difficult to design and run Ö there is such a mix of celebration and sadness. The particular design the team came up with was an attempt to enact the values and working methods of the group. Each team member had five minutes to read chosen texts of theirs which had resonance with the purpose of the evening. After each reading everyone in the room wrote a line or two on a card taking a word or phrase from the reading, or an association. After the interval people stood up and read out these texts, reminisced, paid tribute...

Norman Schwenk closed the session with a poem he wrote at Druidstone Hotel on the cliffs in Pembrokshire, where members of the team had met for a weekend in 1989 to write and plan together. It was a perfect ending. (Colin Evans)

Druidstone Haven
by Norman Schwenk

Quiet at last. Though I hear muffled voices,
giggling bedtime noise. The fridge starts up,
then shudders to a halt. Above the silence,
whispers of feathered surf and flying moon.
Now is the time of night when things happen,
UFOs and witches, and things unspeakable,
when people die in sleep, and lovers wake
the one they truly love deep in the dark.
Good Goddess, bless our frail house, may we last
the night out to the day and far beyond.
We are good people, followers of yours,
you might say, who are sworn by all that's holy,
by all we have done right and will do wrong,
to mark this moment of stillness together.