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Having taught in schools for 31 years, Hamish Wilson moved to Cumbria in 2016 to set up and run The Garsdale Retreat www.thegarsdaleretreat.co.uk, a residential creative writing centre. This has allowed him the time and space to develop his own writing career.
He has had poetry published in two anthologies: This Place I Know - A New Anthology of Cumbrian Poetry (Ed. Darbishire, Moore, Nuttall/Handstand Press, 2018) and Play (Ed. Taylor, Williams/PaperDart Press, 2018) and was shortlisted for the : WoLF poetry competition in 2017 and 2018 and Write Out Loud’s Beyond the Storm (Poems From the Covid Era) in 2020. He has also had poems in Culture Matters and The Morning Star.
In 2019 he performed Parallel Lives, (a sonnet sequence with live music, film and photography, exploring the creative lives of John Lennon and Dylan Thomas) at The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal.
Written in 2020, Lockdown Journal is a sonnet sequence which explores his experience of the pandemic between 28 March and 21 April, reflecting on daily life in Garsdale as well as the wider world.
Fleur Adcock has commented:
"Hamish Wilson strikes me as a ‘sonnet native’, someone who has breathed in octaves and sestets almost since birth. This genre is particularly suited to his day-by-day record of a month of lockdown in rural Garsdale. April 2020 was exceptional for everyone, but it springs to vivid, pictorial life in these 14-line chunks of experience where the pandemic is viewed from a background of sky-larks, curlews and fells."
Helen Mort comments:
"A profoundly moving chronicle of an unprecedented year. Hamish Wilson’s poems are wry, tender, compassionate and precise — each reflection, each piece stands alone but read together they have a cumulative power, capturing our collective sense of uncertainty."
and Paul Henry says:
"Lockdown Journal tilts movingly between personal and universal concerns, the constructed routines of 'lockdown' and a landscape where a skylark’s 'coal-black speck of dust in the empty sky' can amplify the sense of isolation. Both intimate and resonant, these new sonnets from Hamish Wilson are pellucid containers of a nation’s unsettled spirit. "
'Lockdown Journal' will be launched online on 29th June, with live music and photography to accompany the readings.
Paperback, 12.5 x 20cm, 36 pages