Eisteddfod 2014

Today was the fifth Suffolk Eisteddfod, an event I have been organising for several years now out at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village near Bury St Edmunds. The event was smaller this year than previously, due to the difficulty in drumming up enough interest from competitors. We had a decent turn out in terms of viewing public, and the weather was more bearable (for me) than the sweltering conditions last year.
The performances were of a high standard and, where some people compete in more than once, it is interesting to watch how their performance skills mature and develop over time. Sometimes the growth of skills is remarkably quick.
Beverley Price won the poetry contest with a very assured poem about a traumatic relationship, and Rachel O'Leary won the storytelling with a tale of the moon goddess's descent into the mires, blending elements of the myth of Inanna confronting her sister Erishkegal with a traditional Fenland story of the moon being kidnapped by boggarts.
The two workshops provided a feast for thought, the morning exploring the definitions of what may or may not constitute pagan poetry, whilst the afternoon looked at the concepts of cultural ownership and imperialism within storytelling ~ some issues already touched on in this post. When I am more mentally alert, I shall expound some more on these areas in a future blog post. I find the presence of the storyteller/poet as a sliding scale between cypher and individual an intriguing one.
Last year's winners, who served as this year's judges, contributed a sort of meta-poem about writing poetry and the saga of Baldur's demise, plus a few poems from myself and Terry.

Sadly, I have decided not to run the Eisteddfod in 2015. This has come about partly because of the difficulties in drumming up a sufficient number of participants, and partly because I want to have a life that involves doing more than just organising events and being a "worthy" busybody. My sanity requires more romance & adventure and fewer committee meetings. In recent months it has become increasingly clear that getting a life is quite a time consuming affair, and there simply aren't enough hours in the day to do everything. So something has had to give!
Whether or not the Eisteddfod restarts in 2016, I cannot say at present as it feels to far ahead to plan. If it does begin again, it may of course be with somebody else at the helm. Time will tell its own story on that matter.


  1. I can sympathise, but let me know how it develops. Sounded good and would be a shame to let it slide. Kevan

  2. If you don't enjoy running the event, Robin, let it slide. If other people want it to happen, then somebody will come forward to run it.


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