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Poems: 'Cotton Grass', first draft

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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Although ‘Cotton Grass’ appears at the end of Walking Home, it was the first poem to be written on the Pennine Way by Simon Armitage. A first draft of the poem appears on the final page of the Day 1 entry of the notebook, with a second draft written during Day 3.

Cottongrass is widespread on moorland in Britain and is found on the moors surrounding Armitage’s home village – on the Yorkshire side of the border with Lancashire. He has written about its beauty against the bleak backdrop of the moors, and also about plucking a stem and taking it as a ‘token of a different world’ to friends in urban Manchester, a short drive over the hills.

‘Cotton Grass’ works as a postscript at the end of the published Walking Home. Following the journey of the book’s title, it situates the end of the narrative in the specific landscape of ‘home’. In contrast, the notebook reveals the distance and homesickness implicit in the poem. For Armitage, on the isolated hills of the Pennine Way and three weeks from home, cottongrass was a familiar and a homely presence.