Wanderlust Women: Three Poets in Tuscany
Donna Campbell, Lesley Benzie and Linda Jackson make up the Wanderlust Women Trio who have just returned from what Linda described as ‘an inspirational and amazing time’ in Tuscany, specifically, Barga and Pisa.
Linda contacted a poet friend in Italy to get the ball rolling and Diana Devlin, Scots/Italian poet, did just that and so the serious planning began. Poems were sent, glossaries of Scots, a paper on ‘The Languages of Scotland’, songs learned, and the three poets were off on their cultural exchange adventure.
After a midnight arrival they stayed overnight in Pisa. Morning brought delicious Italian coffee and croissants before setting off to catch a train to the gorgeous town of Lucca. Linda was particularly excited because some of her ’Italian’ family come from Lucca as well as Barga. Glaswegian connections with Barga are particularly strong and there were many family tales shared sitting by the walled town in blazing bountiful sunlight.
They decided to travel by bus to Barga to take in the mountain villages of Tuscany en route, glimpsing the leaning tower before marvelling at the cypress trees and red clay roof tiles everywhere.
The Serchio River followed them on the road to Barga town, which dominates the Serchio valley, offering amazing views of the Alpi Apuane mountain chain. In Barga they met Adele, their host in the Villa Gherardi. Adele was quite wonderful, and the Villa (also the Barga library) was home for a week.
Sonia Ercolini at Unitre had done a marvellous
job promoting the poets’ visit with posters all over the town, newspaper articles, online media promotion and then a review of the Barga event in the Barganews.
‘We are now in the process of being interviewed for an Academic journal in Pisa about the poems and the Wanderlust idea.’
The trip met the aspirations of all Wanderlusters
All agree that their trip met the aspirations of all Wanderlusters – and much more. The main aim was a creative exchange with writers/creatives and different audiences in both Barga and Pisa. ‘The Languages of Scotland’ was very well received in the educational environments and the coming together of Glasgow-Italians, the organisers and the three poets at the evening session was enriching for everyone. Many Wanderlust Women books and anthologies of Scottish writers were left there in Italia. Together with Wanderflust Women: Three Poets, a favourite was Glasgow: Historical City. Both available from Seahorse Publications.
Plans for the Future
The three women are planning an exchange event in May 2023 when writers and publishers from Tuscany will be visiting Scotland.
Linda is planning a Creative Writing Retreat in October 2022, where creative writers from Scotland will meet new writers from Barga/Pisa. Please contact Linda Jackson for more information about this trip.
‘I realized Wanderlust Women is not just a collection of poems on travel but that it has facilitated a common currency of emotions, connections, hopes and dreams between Italy and Scotland which became evident in the readings of the work and the response of the audience’. Donna
‘Music wise, I had re-learned a song of the Italian Partisans that I had sang at my brother’s wedding in the CASA D’ITALIA, Glasgow in the seventies. This was a moving experience, I must say’. Linda
‘People were keen to learn from our culture and experience and demonstrated great generosity of spirit in sharing theirs.’ Lesley
The lassies are smiling a lot and about to embark on a trip to Dublin with Scotland in Europe this weekend – more songs, more poems – more wanderings.
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