The Marking Time Project – Bronllys Hospital

The Marking Time Project – A Wellbeing Woodland Walk

On this heady, heat-filled mid-June morning it’s hard to cast my mind back to the terrible weather we endured last November. Ice-rain lashed, gales roared and daily weather warnings suddenly became the norm.

dscf3635-2.jpgOn just such a wet, wind-tossed day I first visited Bronllys Hospital and discovered the Marking Time Project. I’d been invited by fellow poet Mark Christmas (‘The Abandoned Soldier Project’ and ‘The TAS Project). Although I had very little time available, (shuttling between Hay-on-Wye and Somerset mid-way through other projects), I was still keen to do something.

Back in 2015 an “At Ease” Garden had been created near the Psychology Department at Bronllys Hospital providing a new outdoor therapy space for veterans and other patients. Leading on from this inspired use of vacant space within the hospital grounds, by 2016 a phase 2 had naturally been envisaged; spilling over into a small but ably mature piece of woodland. Thus, with continued financial support from the Ministry of Defence Community Covenant Fund a ‘Wellbeing Woodland Walk’ was planned, leading to a wooden seat and organic sculpture at its heart. A calming, contemplative and peaceful space set among the sanctuary of Nature.


There seemed very little calmness on that stormy day back in November. Mark introduced me to Sculptor and Ceramic Artist, Rebecca Buck, Community Projects Manager at The Green Valleys CIC, Gareth Ellis, Poet, Mick Farrell and Project Supporter, Janet Epplestone. They were all hard at work, ankle-deep in mud, digging and trying to lay concrete under the groaning of wind-torn trees.

Even then I could see their commitment to this project was unstinting!

I only managed to visit the site a further six times over the next four months taking photographs, notes and sound recordings. Each time the hard physical work of careful landscaping and construction had been evident. By mid-February my poem, “A Path Among Trees” joined Mark Christmas’s “Catching A Moment” and Mick Farrell’s poem on site. Rebecca’s incredible sculptural work, aided by the pupils of Mount Street Juniors School in Brecon and Llandrindod High School was close to completion too, tirelessly consolidated in its new home by Gareth.



Now summer flames bringing fine weather and greenery to the wood. The sculpture installed and rooted, a wooden seat placed, paths dug, poems engraved and an opening ceremony planned for 22nd June.

Majestic trees, soothing bird song, woodland flowers, insects and the soft, slow tramp of footfall will now inhabit this incredible space. A place where crowded minds can take full ease under the dappling shade.



To find out more about this wonderful project please follow the link to Rebecca Buck’s Studio Diary –

Follow the ‘Marking Time Project’ Facebook page – 


DSCF3660 (3)A Path Among Trees 

Come now – the trees’ quiet council stirs,
Your growing years ring round their hearts,
They nod and know your every step,
Watch calmness yield as fear departs.
A path to ease through branching leaves,
Where snowdrops sooth all winter wars
And swaying canopies scatter sun
For you, through oaks and sycamores.
Just like a bird encased in clay –
Stretch out your limbs above the weight
To find yourself a lighter course
In leafed repose – rejuvenate.
So here in Nature peace transfers.
Come now – the trees’ quiet council stirs.

By Emma van Woerkom ©2017




ADDITIONAL – If you would like to take away a small memento of your visit, why not do a brass rubbing of the poems? After the opening ceremony re-usable Brass Rubbing kits will be attached to the posts displaying the poems. After use, please don’t forget to re-seal the kits ready for the next visitor. 🙂

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New edition of The Curlew: Fraxinus

I’m delighted to announce that the second volume of The Curlew has just been published which includes one of my poems.  Humble thanks to it’s editor Dr. Lynn Parr for my inclusion.

Fraxinus – is a beautiful paperback volume inspired by the natural world and includes essays, poetry (one by me!), prose, photographs, art illustrations and short stories from writers and artists across the globe. The book also supports numerous conservation charities.

“The Curlew is a high-quality periodical dedicated to fine writing about the natural world, drawn from considered thought, not dashed off in haste and chased with regret like most of today’s communications.

In The Curlew  we present ideas, emotions, imaginings – but most of all beauty. We want passion, images that make us smile or shiver, word pictures that stay with us and make us think. In other words, writing that enriches our lives.” The Curlew.

It’s available direct from priced £11.99
(free UK postage for one copy)   To order your copy CLICK HERE
Each purchase helps endangered species and habitats!

***In other news – still 6 days to vote for FOUND ME by Emma van Woerkom at  category: Best Poetry Pamphlet 2017.
If you haven’t voted already, get clicking. If you have voted, thank you and why not ask family and friends to vote too! 🙂 ***

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Shortlisted for the 2017 Saboteur Awards!

saboteur awards pic

To say it’s been quite a week seems a little lacking in drama, but let me assure you it’s been an incredible couple of days.  My weekend was spent meeting amazing bookstagramers from all over the globe in my home town of Hay-on-Wye. We celebrated books, independence, Good King Richard, Prince Derek and for one day only, the many wonders of Wayzgoose at a thrilling exhibition at Baskerville Hall – the brain child of Emma Balch. Could life get any better?

It seems the answer was YES!


On Monday, while I berated the lack of internet connection in the foot hills of the Black Mountains, my little poetry pamphlet FOUND ME was shortlisted for a literary award. The official email letting me know lay hidden under the cloak of those deflating words – “Trying To Connect”. Around 2pm I imagine a satellite dish angled itself around the curvature of the earth and gave me two bars of reception. It was just enough. My phone went berserk!  A fit of pings, trings, vibrations and pops – I really thought a family emergency was on the cards! And then I read the email…..
“Congratulations! You have been shortlisted in the Best Poetry Pamphlet category for the 2017 Saboteur Awards!”

BOOM! An emotional roller coaster ensued!

There are quite a number of people who deserve my sincerest thanks, but someone very special is Susan Evans. Both a shortlisted and longlisted Saboteur Awards Best Performance Poet 2016 & 2017, Susan’s creative spirit, lively performances and infectious inspiration are one-in-a-million. If you’ve never seen her on stage, you have truly missed out. Not only that, Susan is an emphatic supporter of many charities and causes. She quite selflessly gives her time, energy and advocacy to promote and highlight inequalities.

I firmly believe without Susan’s momentous support and friendly kick-up-the-rear, I would not have been nominated or attained my place on the shortlist. Thank you Susan – literally, there not enough words. 🙂

What next?

Please vote for FOUND ME here —> CLICK

Shortlist voting has already started and will close on April 30th, so if you can, please vote for FOUND ME by Emma van Woerkom and it’s cause. My poetry pamphlet was published solely in support of keeping Hay-on-Wye library open and £1.00 from each copy sold (cover price just £3.00) donated to the library.  HOWLs – the Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters assists and encourages the delivery and development of the library service within the local community, in partnership with other community groups. I’ll hoping to collect donations on May 13th at the Saboteur Awards ceremony in London.

howls piccy-page-001

And finally,
a huge thank you to Hay Festival for being such an excellent source of inspiration. Many congratulations to everyone shortlisted & longlisted for a Saboteur Award. Thank you to Claire Lucille Trevien, Anna Jamieson and everyone at Sabotage Reviews.  See you in London on May 13th! 🙂

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Fantastic Feedback For Shared Reading Project in Hay-on-Wye

We’re speedily heading towards week 8 of our 10 week Shared Reading Project, “Memories Are Made Of This”, kindly supported by the Dementia Matters in Powys charity.

Weather permitting we’ve enjoyed full sessions, with lots of lively discussion where wonderful memories have been aired and new friendships have been formed. It’s been enormous fun and I just wanted to share some of the fantastic feedback we’ve received so far.

(Don’t worry if you can’t read the text in the photo – I’ve written the feedback below.)


Q – Did you feel welcome ad included in the group?
– 100% answered YES

Always made to feel valued and wanted”

“I knew at least half of the group and everyone joined in the discussion.”

“Same ‘age’ group. Reading by Emma so good it makes the story come alive.”

“Always the same – very friendly and informative.”

“Yes, to meet the joyous, intelligent people.”

“Friendly, companionable, welcoming.”

Q – Did you think the location of the venue was a good choice?
– 100% answered YES

“Excellent – quiet friendly – good size.”

“Light, airy and Jayne (librarian) very helpful.”

“Easy to get to and some parking.”

“Good seating – good lighting.”

“Warm, light and airy.”

“Comfortable, relaxing and warm.”

“Could not be more appropriate.”

“Central Local Library.”

Q – Did you have trouble following the text or hearing the reader?
– 100% answered YES

“Leader speaks very clearly.”

“All very clear and interesting.”

“Speaks well and clearly (and I am deaf!).”

“Very well explained.”

“Speaks clearly so that even we ‘deafies’ can hear.”

Q – Would you recommend these Shared Reading Groups?
– 100% answered YES

“They bring out everyone’s memories, encourage good conversation.”

“No matter how shy – everyone contributed a memory.”

“Informative and friendly.”

“They bring new ideas and interesting slants on things that are normally not even noticed.”

“Yes – they help people to mix and talk and laugh.”

“Very sociable and jolly group.”

“Mind expanding experience.”

Q – Sum up in one sentence your experience today.


“Very enlightening.”

“Informative, friendly.”

“Enjoy meeting other people and hearing about such varied lives.”

“To make you understand the reading of the day.”

“Very enjoyable and informative.”

“An enjoyable occasion.”

“An excellent session – most informative and entertaining.”

“Made me feel good – took me out of my daily routine.”

“Interesting – varied opinions – good company and laughter.”

“It was extremely enjoyable.”

“A sociable occasion and one that I hope to repeat.”

“Informative, enjoyable, helping me to see things though other eyes.”

“Trips down memory lane.”


“So glad I came.”

Q – Would you be interested in returning to my Shared Reading Groups?
– 100% answered YES

“A jolly and informative group.”

“I love the readings and discussions.”

“It is such a pleasure to talk and meet other people.”

“Gets me out of the house.”

Q – Is there anything that I could have done to have made your experience more successful?
 – 100% answered NO

“You did everything possible.”

“It was most successful.”

“Really enjoyed it.”

“Provide some champagne!”  (<– there’s always one!)

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Saboteur Nominations for FOUND ME by Emma van Woerkom

Please Vote for Hay Library & Found Me at the Saboteur Awards 2017. 😎📚✔

The Saboteur Awards 2017 pic-page-INSTAGRAM

I’ve recently learned that my modest poetry pamphlet ‘FOUND ME’ has received numerous nominations for a Saboteur Award – it’s incredible news!
Nominations close on 31st March 2017, so there is still time to vote and I’d love to see my pamphlet on the shortlist – it will help boost the profile of Hay-on-Wye Library and it’s dedicated supporters (HOWLs) who want to keep it open.
If you can spare a minute please vote – instructions below.
The Saboteur Awards 2017

Website –

Click on the ‘NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN’ button (upper middle)

You have to vote in 3 categories for the vote to count, here are some suggestions:

Best Poetry Pamphlet – FOUND ME by Emma van Woerkom

Wild Card – Emma van Woerkom

Best Spoken Word Performer – Susan Evans

Best Anthology – Driftfish by Zoomorphic

Best Poetry Magazine – Mslexia


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Cracking Celtic Crime Noir – Book Review

Remember No More by Jan Newton –  A Majestic Mid-Wales Murder Mystery.

Sometimes, a glorious opportunity falls into your possession that you simply can’t ignore. For me, the most recent arrived in the shape of a weighty, A4 pre-publication manuscript of Jan Newton’s debut crime novel, Remember No More, from Honno Press.

I have to say, it’s been one of the most delicious reads I’ve enjoyed in a long time. I’m no remember-no-mmorestranger to Jan’s prize winning short stories. She has a superb skill at crafting well-paced, intriguing tales and creating memorable characters; you know, that elusive type you either cheer for or find yourself shouting at! I wondered, could Jan weave her storytelling skills over a three hundred page novel….only time would tell.

So, it was very late on a Sunday night when I finally began reading.  I (foolishly) imagined that ten pages would be my tally before sleep would overtake me. I could not have been more wrong. Exhaustion finally halted me at page one hundred and fifty eight! I simply could not put this book down. The following morning, bleary eyed, I immediately pawed the bedside table for the remaining pages. Within hours I’d feasted, and I can tell you, it was good!

Right now I am fighting the urge to spill the beans, to let you know who, what, where and how…..but why should I rob you of this pleasure. Jan has totally succeeded in stepping up from a short story to novel proportions without any loss of stride or charm. She has also given us a detective novel firmly rooted in mid-Wales from someone who knows the subtleties of both location and locals.

“From up on the hill, the cottage looked like a dolls’ house, dwarfed by the steep-sided valley.  She could see Cam just along the lane, and cows, like little figures on a fuzzy-felt board.  Directly beneath her a collection of low farm buildings huddled in the lee of the hill.  That must be Menna’s.  She could hear the whine of a quad bike drifting up the valley.  For the first time she began to realise the significance of each person, each farmstead in this remote landscape.  How many people had lived on her street in Manchester?  How many of them had she met or would even recognise if she met them in the pub or the supermarket?  The quad bike rounded the crest of the hill.  She could see the collie clinging onto the back, the dark-clad figure of Joe, hunched over the handlebars like a kid on a BMX, as though that would make the bike go faster.
As she watched Joe, she thought how conspicuous she must be here, how conspicuous any newcomer must be….” Remember No More, Jan Newton.

I’m not alone in praise of this excellent book “Elegantly written, meticulously paced…A rare treat from a fine storyteller“, Fflur Dafydd, author of The Library Suicides.

Remember No More by Jan Newton 
Paperback – 302 Pages –  Published by Honno Press
ISBN – 978-1909983564 – Price £8.99 (+postage)
Available from 16th March 2017 via Amazon
CLICK HERE to order your copy.

But there’s more:-

Just in case you find yourself ready to click the Amazon ‘pre-order now’ button, hold off for a second. Jan Newton and Honno Press will be launching Remember No More at The Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells on Thursday 16th March, 6pm – everyone is most welcome.

So pop along, grab your copy and get it signed….I have the distinct feeling that D.S. Kite will be back very soon with another crime to solve, and I can’t wait!



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Full House! Hay Library Shared Reading

Week 4 of the new Memories Are Made of This project and suddenly we are at full capacity.
I think the word has got out!


Some of the Memories Are Made Of This group at Hay-on-Wye Library, 2017.

Stoic regulars braved the elements, as did toe-dipping newcomers and a couple of fresh-faced visitors to Hay. We squeezed around the tables and poured over the wonderful and comical “Icarus” by George Mackay Brown and an old favourite, “Meg Merrilies” by John Keats.

So many memories shared of growing up  and knowing eccentric folk in families, towns and villages. It’s also nice to hear that Hay is home to many eccentrics still! Numerous discussions of going to agricultural shows and game shows, past and present. Occasions of mistaken identities (this related memory received a huge burst of laughter from the group) and lots of tales of family and friends all inspired by the text. I have to say, everyone who came was in fine form.

Next week’s subject is Work – although I hope it won’t feel like it. We’ll have a few spare places owing to hospital appointments, so if you fancy testing the water why not come along. It’s at the warm and cosy surrounds of Hay Library and completely free.
Monday 27th February – 2.00pm – hope to see you there.

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