Makar’s Tenure Ends/Ted Hughes’ Footsteps – Poetry News Roundup March 10th

Today we look at the Makar’s Malt and the poets walking trails in our poetry news round up.

Scottish Makar Marks End of Tenure

8th March marked International Women’s Day and two of the oldest crafts in Scotland came together to celebrate, poetry and whisky.

Jackie Kay, the Scottish Makar, selected the Isle of Raasay Distillery, which is in the Inner Hebrides to create a special edition single cask malt to mark the end of her tenure. The bottle will feature “Here’s Ta Ye!” one of her poems on the label and will be helping to raise money for the Glasgow Women’s Library. The charity which will receive 10% of the money from each bottle sold has been selected by the Makar personally. The whisky is described as being a lightly peated, fruity dram and has been matured in the distillery’s signature first fill Bordeaux wine casks.

Kay said that she is delighted to have been able to collaborate on the venture and that for her the alchemy of whisky and poetry is a perfect one.

The collaboration is great news for the distillery as well after a difficult twelve months. And those involved are hoping that as soon as the pandemic has eased, and travel restrictions have been lifted that people will consider visiting distilleries.

This is the first time that there has been a Makar’s Malt and the decision to release it on International Women’s Day was made to help promote, inclusion, equality and diversity.

Follow in the Footsteps of Ted Hughes

Huddersfield University have put together their
This is a series of 6 different trails that include walks in the areas where the poet was raised, where he wrote his first pieces of poetry and where he completed National Service in the RAF. They come complete with maps designed in Hebden Bridge.

The walks take in sites like Lumb Bank where the poet lived for several years and Heptonstall cemetery, which is where Sylvia Plath, the poet’s wife is buried.

The Ted Hughes Network revealed that the maps had been created based on some of the latest research that had been carried out into the poet’s life and offered walkers the unique opportunity to really explore landscapes that were a real inspiration to the poet many of whose poems are based on local areas.

The Upper Calder Valley is thought to have been of significant importance to Hughes, not only in his life but also to the poetry that he wrote, and he penned well over 100 poems on the area. Many of these can be found in “Elmet” his 1994 collection.

There are panels to mark the start of each walk, and whilst the walks themselves stay well within the areas associated with the poet, the maps extend beyond that offering more flexibility to keen walkers.

The launch of the maps had originally been planned for the spring and summer of last year, with plans for guided walks and community writing workshops and poetry reading running to help mark the launch however those activities have been put on hold due to the pandemic. It is hoped that these will be able to go ahead once the restrictions are lifted.

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