Other poets there included the amazingly dynamic John Hudson, whose new book, "Earth" was launched at the festival; Roger Elkin; French writers Michel Cordeboeuf and Isabelle Soulard; David Cooke; Duncan Falconer and as guest of honour Helen Dunmore. Roisín McAuley the TV presenter skilfully interviewed Helen Dunmore in a taxing bilingual conversation and Helen gave readings from her books in both English and French. The organisers of all of this were the poets Glyn Pope and Gordon Simms and his wife Jocelyn, who is also a writer, to whom we owe a big debt of personal thanks for their support and hospitality, as also to Wendy Wright and her husband, Jim.
Dónall read from his pilot version of "Sifting Sound into Shape", which he has now edited to create the longer 6"x9" edition that's shown on our home page.
Saint Clémentin is a delightful place. The village street is furnished with picturesque towers like these, which inspired Jan to do some ink sketches. There's also a lovely little chapel (La Chappelle des Rosiers) on the outskirts of St Clémentin, where an art exhibition and a concert by the village brass band were held on the first evening we were there. This was a tremendous experience, especially as the chapel is decorated with recently-uncovered Norman frescoes.
You can see Dónall in his panama hat to the right of the bandleader. It was a wonderful family occasion in which all the local community took part.
In Saint Ouen, an even smaller chapel nearby, John Hudson mounted a very interesting installation, "13 Characters in Search of a Light Switch". The locked chapel housed thirteen intermittently flashing lights in its dark interior, which could be seen through a tiny window in the wall, while a loop of readings of John's poems could be heard outside the chapel, in the voices of thirteen different seekers after truth from history and fiction. The readings were recorded by members of the Saint Clémentin community.
Jan drew this ink sketch while she leaned against the wall of Saint Ouen, while the Thirteen Characters spoke at her back about their Search for a Light Bulb, insistently and movingly.