RS Thomas Festival/ Shelley’s House Unearthed/Poet’s Home For Sale – Poetry News Roundup August 22nd

Our first poetry news round-up of the week looks at the 2022 R S Thomas Festival, the manor house linked to a poet that has been unveiled by the heatwave and Ted Hughes’ family home, which is up for sale.

R S Thomas Festival 2022

The 2022 R S Thomas Festival, which will take place at Eglwysfach, the parish where the 20th-century poet was also the parish priest, is set to run from 16th to 18th September. Ahead of the festival, the annual poetry competition has already opened for entries.

Eglwysfach, which is near to the town of Aberystwyth, has been the home of this literary celebration of the life of the poet for many years now, and the festival is held on a biannual basis since its inception in 2008. It may be a small parish, but over the years, it has welcomed visitors and speakers from all over the world to celebrate the life and works of R S Thomas.

The festival was unable to take place last year as a result of the pandemic. However, this year the organising committee was determined that it would proceed. One of the most popular parts of the festival is its open poetry competition. This year entrants have been asked to put together a poetic response to some selected quotations which have been taken from the work of the poet. The competition itself will take place in the parish church on the Sunday of the festival, and the winner will be announced by the former National Poet of Wales.

Because of continuing anxieties over Covid, entrants will not be required to attend the festival in person to read their poetry this year.

Any funds raised by the competition and the festival will be put towards the ongoing upkeep of the church, which was close to the poet’s heart; he was the vicar from 1954 to 1967.

Drought Unearths Shelley’s Beloved Manor House

For more than 100 years, a manor house with links to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley has been hidden under the Caban-Coch reservoir, which is in the Elan Valley. The recent droughts caused by the heatwave have dried up the reservoir so much that the foundations of the building, all that remains, are now visible.

The manor house is where the poet’s uncle lived, and he once walked 250 miles to visit him. It was here that Shelley wrote many of his poems as well. He also spent much of his time walking in the walled gardens with his wife. The pair were so enamoured by the manor house that Shelley wanted to buy it from his uncle. However, this was not to be. Just 10 short years later, he died when his boat capsized off the coast of Italy.

The manor house remained standing until 1903, when it was destroyed for the Elan Valley reservoir construction, and its remains now sit in the lowest of the reservoir’s four dams.

Poet’s Former Home Goes up for Sale

A house in Heptonstall, which was the former family home of the poet Ted Hughes has gone up for sale. The property, which is said to be in need of some considerable modernisation, was the marital home of Hughes and Sylvia Plath , his American poet wife. They resided there for several years before they left for America.



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