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Rogue Bards


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Course dates: 
Monday, 18 July, 2016 to Friday, 22 July, 2016
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With Martin Shaw and Jay Griffiths

"All the moon long I heard,
blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark."

- Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill

Join us around the fire as we explore the art of story in both its oral and written form. Martin and Jay will be looking at the bardic relationship to words and the place of story in the modern world.

From an old woman standing under an antelope robe courting the sky with her language, to a young writer perched over their laptop dreaming of being published, story is a form of relatedness, a way of reaching out and touching the world. We will both explore and create tangles of language so chewy, so dappled with rain, so nutrient rich, so scattered with fiery-embers that we will attempt to make an oak tree blush with the praise we give it.

Expect plenty of time outdoors, storytelling and writing workshops, discussion and investigation of the sense of story and of moment in all of our lives.

No writing or story-telling experience necessary.


Jay Griffiths

While travelling the world in order to write her award-winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in various cultures. One central riddle, in particular, captured her imagination: why are so many children in Euro-American cultures unhappy – and why is it that children in many traditional cultures seem happier? In Kith (link is external) Jay Griffiths explores these questions and many more. Moving from communities in West Papua and the Arctic to the ostracised young people of contemporary Britain, she asks why we have enclosed our children in a consumerist cornucopia but denied them the freedoms of space, time and deep play. She uses history, philosophy, language and literature to illustrate children’s affinity for the natural world and the essential quest element of childhood. “Her work is not just good – it’s necessary.” – Philip Pullman

Martin Shaw

Martin is author of “Snowy Tower: Parzival and the Wet, Black Branch of Language”, and the award winning “A Branch From the Lightning Tree”. Director of the Westcountry School of Myth, he lived for four years under canvas, exploring small pockets of the British countryside. He is principal teacher at Robert Bly’s Great Mother Conference, and devised and led the Oral Tradition course at Stanford University in Northern California. His translations of Gaelic poetry and folklore (with Tony Hoagland) have been published in Orion Magazine, Poetry International, the Kenyon Review, Poetry Magazine, and the Mississippi Review. For more on his work go to

£ 795.00
The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon and includes four nights accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.