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Poems: 'Fell Ponies'

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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Not all of the new poems published in Walking Home appear in the red notebook: there are no drafts for ‘Fell Ponies’ or ‘Yellow Rattle Poverty’. However, ideas for them were clearly generated during the Pennine Way walk.

Day 9 (Dufton to Langdon Beck) includes the entry ‘Sudden emergence of 5 black fell ponies, sodden, got up from peat, black roots of manes, aurochs’, and one page of the notebook is blank except for the heading ‘Fell Pony’ - written in anticipation of a poem.

Similarly, the instruction ‘Yellow Rattle (Poverty) – write poem’ is included in the summary list of the day’s events for Day 10 (Langdon Beck to Baldersdale).

The absence of drafts here is illuminating. It might suggest a lack of time in the demanding schedule to write, but it may also indicate a pause in the writing process. Headings or instructions signal the intention to write a poem, which might not yet be fully grasped in language. Armitage has described poems like this as ‘insecure’; ones in an early stage of development that cannot yet be fully articulated.