Best-selling author Joanne Harris is to launch a pioneering project in Huddersfield’s award-winning Beaumont Park aimed at popularising poetry.
The Huddersfield author of several best-selling works including Chocolat, Blackberry Wine and Lollipop Shoes will present awards to the winners of a poetry competition which attracted 130 entries from 18 counties in the UK.
The winning poems will be permanently displayed on plaques at various locations in the 21-acre Victorian park creating Beaumont Park’s Beautiful Poetry trail starting at the bandstand and leading through all its formal and wooded areas.
She will present the awards at 11am this Saturday at the park bandstand and then officially open the trail and meet the successful poets.
The competition and opening event have been organised in conjunction with the Huddersfield Literature Festival which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It is believed that it will be the first permanent poetry trail in a UK public park with poems selected from open competition and has been funded by the Arts Council , Kirklees Art in the Neighbourhood and the Friends of Beaumont Park.
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The ages of entrants ranged from five to 76 years and were judged by local poets Julia Deakin, Justine Knight, Winston Plowes Gez Walsh and John Mason, the park’s head gardener.
Four of the five categories were based on age – five to 11 years; 12 to 18; 19 to 55 and 56 plus. The fifth was for anyone living within a mile of Beaumont Park’s visitor centre. Winners of each category and the overall winning poet will be awarded with national book tokens.
The park’s thriving Photography Group has assisted in the publication of an accompanying book containing Beaumont Park’s Beautiful Poetry book with a foreword by poet Ian McMillan As well as photographs, the book includes profiles of the poets and the judges, contains the winning poems and a map of their locations.
Roy Mason, chairman of the 450-strong friends, said: “ This project confirms that poetry is not for the few but can be enjoyed by large numbers of people. The many paths in the park winding through picturesque woodland, high cliffs, grottos and a pond are ideal settings for a poetry trail.”