Over a week has passed since I got back from Uncivilisation 2011 – this year’s Dark Mountain Festival at the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire – and I’m still reflecting on all the discussions, conversations, talks, readings, workshops and performances that took place over the course of the weekend.

I was directly involved in two sessions again this year – the first, my ‘animate earth’ poetry workshop, inspired by some of the ideas in David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous, took place in the woods in the only rain of the weekend. (It seems to be an unwritten law that all my outdoor writing workshops must take place in the rain!) Later, I took part in a poetry reading and panel discussion on Wild Writing with Paul Kingsnorth, Adrienne Odasso and Em Strang, in the lovely woodland space (pictured).

The weekend offered so many highlights (listening to Jay Griffiths, alongside Benny Wenda of the Free West Papua campaign; meeting, at long last, Sharon Blackie of Two Ravens Press; Mario Petrucci speaking on poetry as a source of sustenance in the Sustainable Age; the after-dark woodland participatory theatre piece, Liminal...) and I wish I had more time now to elaborate on them all. You can, though, get more of a flavour of the festival’s ethos and atmosphere, as well as an insight into many of the other sessions and performances I haven’t mentioned, in this review in The Independent.

And in a future blog post, I’ll offer some thoughts on Dark Mountain 2, the project’s second volume of uncivilised writing, in which an extract from one of my art-poetry collaborations with printmaker Pat Gregory, appears.

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