The Shropshire legend of Wild Edric is still inspiring both epic poetry and painting, it seems. Nigel Sustins has just published the book-length epic poem Wild Edric: A Narrative Poem, delving behind the folk/ghost stories of a Wild Huntsman who rides with his spectral host and his fairy wife, to find “an eleventh century Saxon leader who fought against the Normans” in the Welsh Marches — at about the same time as Hereward the Wake was doing the same in the Lincolnshire fenlands. It’d be nice to see extracts on Poetcasting soon, and maybe a downloadable audio book?


The book’s cover features a painting of Wild Edric (above, cropped), by Shrewsbury artist Rod Shaw — apparently part of a series.

If you’re ever on a train sliding though the wild pools and marshland north of Stafford station, and happen to look up at the castle, it seems that this vital strategic crossing of the River Trent was the site of Edric’s last stand — since he’s said to have been… “decisively defeated by William [the Conquerer] in a battle at Stafford in late 1069″. And if you’re so minded, you can also walk “Wild Edric’s Way”, a signed 80-mile footpath through Shropshire (via Church Stretton and Ludlow).

Talking of the Welsh Marches, David Tress has a major show opening at his local Machynletth (until 10th May 08), which will then tour. You may remember his work from the Royal Mail’s set of Millennium stamps…


“The Land Greening” (2006) by David Tress.

And talking of poetry — Coventry’s Heaventree Press is running the city’s International Festival of Literature in May 2008, featuring among other events: ‘An Evening of West Midlands Poetry’; ‘Benjamin Zephaniah in Conversation’; and an evening with the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gao Xingjian.