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Inspiration of Nature, Writers Retreat and Course
Sun 24 Jun 2012 to Fri 29 Jun 2012
Looking at nature writing: its history, its uses to communicate or symbolise socio-political issues with reference to post colonial writing, the romantic poets and others

Inspiration of Nature,
Writers Retreat and Course

Writers’ Retreat and Course at Lindley Hill, near Leven, East Yorkshire,
Monday June 24th(12 noon) –  Friday 29th (early afternoon)
Theme: Inspiration of Nature 

Tutors: Paul Sutherland and Afifa Ematullah

We will be looking at nature poetry/writing: its history, its uses to communicate or symbolise socio-political issues with reference to post colonial writing, the romantic poets and others. Does the representation of nature change from culture to culture? Does the Japanese haiku or the Persian rubai allude to a very different attitude to the natural world compared to the European tradition? Yet within a recognised  tradition there appear to be differences; for example between the perceptions revealed in Ben Jonson’s ‘To Penshurst’, Shelley’s ‘Mont Blanc’ and John Burnside’s ‘Animals’. We will be referring to exponents of nature poetry/writing at the present time; also delving into the conflict or shifting perspective between urban and nature focused writing. Ecology has also given importance to portrayals of nature within all artistic forms, the literary being no exception. The Canadian poet, Donna Langevin, ‘If I was a Sugar Maple’ seems to combine Native American and contemporary ecological concerns. The Canadian example is intriguing. In her polemical study Survival Margaret Atwood depicted nature as a monster, an attitude at odds with the ecological stress upon the natural world as Gaia needing our observation and protection.

Afifa Ematullah will investigate the spirituality that may be implicit or explicit in much nature writing. She’ll run a workshop from the contemplative and visual point of view, inspiring participants to expand their vocabulary, of colour names for example. The use of exact species in descriptive poetry has political implication, e.g. Derek Walcott, the West Indian poet, details the particular flora and fauna on his Caribbean islands in his poems not only to create local colour but to make a political point that knowing a locale’s vegetation underlines the importance of that place, making each fragment the centre of the world. Inspiration of Nature will feature practical exercise, close-reading of particular poems and more general discussion on the subject. 

These are starting points for a lively debate in which many examples will be presented to support various perspectives. There will also be ample time for writing, discussing, sharing and networking. Paul Sutherland will be offering one to one sessions with participants.

The writers retreat will be held in a beautiful setting beside the River Hull in East Yorkshire.

Linley Hill is remote at the end of two mile long lane, on the banks of the river. Linley Hill is also an exquisitely and painstakingly converted barn, with a vast display of art and artifacts inside and views outside to inspire the writer. The rambling structure contains many nooks and crannies where you can relax, muse and write. Also the location offers facilities for relaxation and enjoyment: walks by the river, kayaking on the river, a games room in the house, a place for painting, a meditation and music room. Also the historic and attractive city of Beverley is only 10miles away and offers many opportunities to explore and be inspired.

The Writers’ Retreat costs £275 per person in a shared room and £325 for a single room. There are few single rooms. A couple in a double room is £400. 

Cheques should be made payable to N.P. Sutherland; a £50 deposit should be paid at first to book a place, the rest can be paid on your arrival at Linley Hill

Please send cheques to Jasmine Cottage, 4 Church St, Market Rasen, Lincs, LN8 3ET. Any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact Paul Sutherland at, or by phone 01673 844325 or mobile 07799898087

Paul Sutherland has co-led writers’ retreats over the last four years. A Canadian-British poet; settled in the UK since 1973. He won the Prize for Humanities at York St John University, MA English by Research from York University. Literature Development Officer for Lincolnshire. Writer in Residence, Lincoln book Festival, Writer in Residence at Whisby Nature Park. He has seven published collections. Seven Earth Odes gained critical acclaim in UK, Canada and US. Edited seven collections. Founder and Artistic Director of Dream Catcher a distinguished national-international journal in 25th  issue. Public readings, e.g. Lauderdale House, London. Attends festivals, leads workshops: creative writing for all ages and abilities, a workshop on publishing for The Wordsworth Trust. Has poems and short fiction in journals, newspapers and anthologies; A poem in Writing Your Self, (ed. Myra Schneider and John Killick,). Collaboration with calligrapher Mick Paine, Selected Ben Nicholson Miniatures. Turned freelance in 2004. Same year became a Sufi Muslim adopting the name Abdul Wadud. 2010 Spires and Minarets from Sunk Island Publishing. Journeying is planned for Sept. 2012 from Valley Press. Won Nassau Review (US) Poetry Prize for best poem submitted to journal and 2ndEnglish Association Poetry Prize. His poem ‘The Diver’ selected to be used/displayed at the Olympics 2012. More about him can be found hereFor more Information about Dream Catcher.

Afifa Ematullah, artist, published poet, sufi. Experienced workshop leader and facilitator in all these areas. Background: Art training in Birmingham, Lincoln and London; Arabic calligraphy in Istanbul; BA Joint Hons in Philosophy & Literature, University of Warwick. Lecturer in English & Theatre Studies; Free Lance work in most of the major London Theatres; Costume specialist for Covent Garden Opera House; Costume for Channel 10 TV in Sydney, Australia; Freelance artist/calligrapher. Has written all her life, mostly poetry; published in anthologies and one collection of Sufi poetry, art and photographs: Return. Has been a practicing Sufi for 32yrs, most recently co-leading a day of workshops on the theme of “A spiritual experience of Illness” as part of an International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace. Authorised Spiritual Healer.



Additional Information:
Lindley Hill

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