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Prose: Day 15, Malham to Ickornshaw

SA_Walking Home/1
In 2010 Simon Armitage spent 19 days walking the 256 mile Pennine Way as a 'modern troubadour'. This online resource presents archive material relating to the walk and creation of Walking Home, held by Special Collections.
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Simon Armitage describes writing 'Walking Home'
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SA_Walking Home archive materials
A summary of the Walking Home archive materials
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Armitage Harmonium proposa
Details of book proposal 1
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Armitage Walking Home Proposal doc
Details of book proposal 2
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SA_Walking Home Red Notebook
introduction to the red notebook
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Walking Home SA/8
prose diary entry for day 0
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Walking Home SA/13
prose diary entry for day 1
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SA_Walking Home/126
Prose diary entry for day 15
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SA_Walking Away/162
red notebook poems introduction
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SA_Walking Home/18
first draft of the poem 'Cotton Grass'
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SA_Walking Home/31
second draft of the poem 'Cotton Grass'
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SA_Walking Home first proof/287
second draft of the poem 'Cotton Grass' continued
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SA_Walking Home_74
blank page entry headed 'fell ponies'
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SA_Walking Home/130
Comparison of three types of writing referring to black huts.
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SA_Walking Home/134
Notes on the changing imagery of 'Above Ickornshaw, Black Huts'
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Armitage Notebook Black Huts
Notes on the importance of landscape for the poem
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SA_Walking Home/108
Notes on the importance of poetic influences
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Walking Home SA_162
writing themes listed at the back of the red notebook
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SA_Walking Home/Glossop Audience
introduction to the Walking Home photograps
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SA_Walking Home/slug088
Walking Home photographs as visual narrative
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SA_Walking Home/digital_image/21
Walking Home: poetry as travel guide
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writing themes listed at the back of the red notebook
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Further reading material for Walking Home.
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From Day 10, Armitage begins to use quick lists as a strategy to summarise the day before writing about it in more detail. On Day 15 this list is followed by a page of dense notes in fractured prose.

On the final pages of the entry a single idea is reworked in repeated sentences and paragraphs, a type of drafting that only appears elsewhere in the notebook when poems are composed. Here Armitage describes the border-crossing from the Dales to West Yorkshire experienced as a change of light. While the limestone Dales have a ‘luminous’ quality, the landscape of their neighbours is altogether darker:

‘As if those moors and their dark heathers and drab grasses still wore the widows clothing of the industry which once surrounded them.’

Here the landscape itself seems to demand a change in writing style: one which is poetic, although written in prose. Simultaneously, the change of light appears to be accompanied by a darker, more critical, mood and tone. Phrases and questions suggest that this part of the walk is mentally as well as physically challenging:

‘Today is a long walk’,
‘Could do without that final hill’,
‘A rod for my own back’,
‘Am I running out of humour not energy’?

These changes in style and tone invite us to consider the complex relationships between mood, perception and landscape.