Causley Ballads inspire local writing group

Causley’s Collected Poems 1951-97. To buy follow this link: goo.gl/yjGi3E

A selection of ballads inspired by the work of the Cornish poet Charles Causley will be aired on local radio on Thursday.

Although his poems embrace a variety of forms, two of Causley’s best known pieces are ballads, Timothy Winters and the Ballad of Charlotte Dymond.

Poems like these have prompted the Looe Writing Group to put together some ballads of their own that, as well as delving into Cornish legend and local history, also take some good natured swipes at tourism and problematic cafe customers.

The group’s work is a tribute to the poetic genius of Causley in the year that celebrates the centenary of his birth (1917).

Looe Writing Group (Lowrig) came together in the spring of 2016 at a WEA Creative Writing Course held at the town’s Millpool Centre. After a follow-up course, the group performed at November’s Looe Literary Festival. Both courses came as a result of the WEA taking education out of classrooms and introducing it to local communities.

All sorts of people want to write: novels, plays, poetry, short stories and children’s fiction, but they dread being suffocated by theory or being lectured about poor spelling and punctuation. Douglas Bence’s courses are not like that.

They are about firing the imagination and getting ideas out of the head and on to the page, or into a computer hard drive. They appeal to people who want to write, or know what they want to write, but don’t know the best way to start.

Those who joined the Looe group, for example, were exposed to a range of tools, tips and approaches to help the development of writing techniques that will hopefully inspire them, first to reach their aspirations and then to exceed them. They also had fun and met new people with similar interests.

Cornwall College’s creative writing courses have enjoyed a high reputation for a long time, but in recent years funding restrictions have made them difficult to sustain. But thanks to both Heather White at the WEA and Dawn Ferguson-Smith at Cornwall College, there are still opportunities. Watch this space for details.

If you want your community to be involved, telephone or email Heather on 01872 320036 (hwhite@wea.org.uk) or Dawn on 01726 226 720 (dawn.ferguson-smith@st-austell.ac.uk).