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  • Helen Bowell

Plant Portraits at Kew Gardens & English Heritage anthology

Hello world! Hope you've been enjoying things opening up again. I write this during the half time of the England/Scotland match and it's just nice to hear sounds from the stands, isn't it?


I'm also doing more as the world re-opens - my next project is writing 'plant portraits' of visitors to Kew Gardens' upcoming Secret World of Plants After Hours events. I'm a big fan of Kew and am very excited to chat to people and write poems imagining them as plants by the Temperate House.


I'll be set up here every Friday and Saturday from 7-9.30pm for the next four weeks (25 June - 23 July) - except for Saturday 3rd, when my esteemed colleague Julia Bird will be taking over for one night only!

I've borrowed a typewriter (thanks lovely Connor Byrne) and got my fairy lights at the ready. I'll share some poems as I go - watch this space...


In the meantime, you can now read my poem 'witchknot', written as part of the English Heritage Untold Stories project last October, in this new digital anthology. A group of Writing Squad grads and Barbican Young Poets were asked to respond to an English Heritage site for this project. I chose Tintagel Castle, where King Arthur was supposedly conceived through a rape by deception when Merlin made Uther Pendragon look like Queen Igraine's husband. Yikes. I touch on that in the poem, but mostly I have a jolly old time giving Queen Guinevere the hots for Morgan le Fay, Arthur's half-sister.


At the time I'd never been to Tintagel, or even really to Cornwall, and I could only dream of being somewhere so far away from the confines of my own home. But last week I managed to get away on holiday to the South West and English Heritage very kindly set me up with tickets to Tintagel Castle! It was a perfect day. Thanks to all at EH. I'm working on more of these queer Arthurian poems and hope to share some soon.


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