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Bard of Stony Stratford

January 10, 2015

This is the write-up of my experience as Bard 2014, as it appears on the Bard of Stony Stratford website. If you want to apply for 2015 you’re too late – applications closed on 6th January.

Stony Live! at the Bull.

Stony Live! at the Bull.

“the Bardship came at a good time for me”

By the time I stood for election at the Bardic Trials in January, I’d acquired a few performance-art related skills. Writing poetry wasn’t one of them. Quite frankly, I was surprised to be elected. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to give it a go. Where I’ve given satisfaction as Bard, it’s probably more through performance style than literary merit.

I’ve made efforts to improve, though. I’ve attended some of Dianna Moylan’s excellent poetry course at MK Arts Central, and recently I visited the house in Swansea where Dylan Thomas was born, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, in an attempt to learn by osmosis.

The highlight of the Bardic Year so far for me was the Bardic Lunch on the Millfield on 1st June, and the preparations for it, working with the Stony Stratford Youth Town Council in the Library. It was a privilege, listening to the poems they had prepared, and then watching them at the event itself. Their creativity and confidence was admirable.

I was asked to write and recite poems for the Beer Festival in February, and for Stony in Bloom in April, both at York House. Both events were lots of fun and it was gratifying to be asked. I also had a poem printed in the Stony Live! programme – my first ever published poem! I even managed to perform as Bard of Stony Stratford at the Edinburgh Fringe, as a guest at a show hosted by seasoned performer Woodstock Taylor.

I think my last duty is to perform at the switching on of the Christmas lights, on 29th November. I’m very much looking forward to that!

Whatever else happens, my final duty as Bard will be to attend the Bardic Trials in January to help select the next Bard. Not just because Stony Stratford is the only “Stratford” to appear in a Shakespeare play, Stony deserves to have a Bard. I’d encourage anybody to enter the trials, and I hope the tradition continues far into the future.

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