Poems From The Pennines



Poet Simon Armitage takes listeners on a journey to the Stanza Stones.

Poet Simon Armitage takes us on a journey round the Stanza Stones - new poems on a theme of water carved into the Pennine rocks.

The poet Simon Armitage has been involved in a project to write six specially commissioned poems and have them carved into six stones along the Watershed of the Pennine moorland from Marsden to Ilkley in West Yorkshire. The area is close to Simon Armitage's heart as he grew up in Marsden and still lives in the Pennine area. The poems take the theme of water in six different states - rain, mist, snow, puddle, dew, and beck and look at our relationship with water and our moorland.

Over the last couple of years, the project (commissioned by Ilkley Literature Festival and with money from the 2012 Cultural Olympiad) has taken shape with the help of Land Architect Tom Lonsdale who assessed the rocks and land for suitable sites with Simon.

Each stone has been carved by hand by he stone letter carver Pip Hall - a process that has taken two to three weeks per stone. The final stone, the Beck Stone, saw Pip carving while standing knee deep in water, in the middle of a free flowing beck on Ilkley Moor.

In this programme, Simon Armitage talks about the creative process of writing the poetry and the challenge of writing poems that may be read on the moors for a thousand years to come. He also reveals the history of people carving words on the rocks on the moors and looks at the nature of our relationship with water.

Armitage is not drawn however on the location or title of a seventh stone and poem, hidden somewhere on the Pennine watershed, to be discovered one day by a passing walker.

Producer: Laura Parfitt

A White Pebble Media production for BBC Radio 4.