The Chagword Fringe

The Chagword Fringe


This weekend the Chagword festival was a real inspiration. It was great to hear so many authors talking about the craft of writing and their own experiences of working with words.


To contribute to the festival we set up an informal and impromptu festival fringe. We based ourselves outside the Chagword Café and Bookshop in Endecott House, opposite the Church and under the noisy rookery high up in the trees. Thanks to the Crediton Community Bookshop for being so friendly and supportive. On Saturday we collected comments about Chagford from anyone who would stop and talk to us, and compiled a Chagford poem. As you can see in the picture below the themes are mainly positive and provide a celebratory snap shot of what Chagford meant to visitors and locals on that cold Saturday in March. Perhaps the positivity is helped by the fact that we bribed people with chocolates and grapes to stop and talk to us. Not everyone agreed that what was created was a poem …it neither rhymes nor scans…but plenty of people stopped to read it and added their own comments including ‘Exit Visas Unavailable’…


On Sunday afternoon we displayed the ‘poem’ and asked people about their favourite poems. Some were very honest in telling us that they really didn’t like poetry at all. Others reached back to childhood to retrieve or partially retrieve a favourite verse. We had some great conversations, including with Betty Porter whose favourite poem was ‘The Cast Iron Shore’ a poem she wrote and had published, and which reflects on her childhood growing up in Liverpool. It was great to meet and chat to people from Finland and France as well as locals. A list of the poems which are ‘Chagford Favourites’ can be found below….What’s your favourite poem?