Isola San Giulio, on Lake Orta.
It must be something to do with the autumn chill waiting for a bus on the corner of my road, but one last jaunt before I hibernate for winter has become hugely enticing. Especially to Orta San Gulio and its enchanting small poetry festival of three days held in various venues in OSG and on the island, Isola San Guilio. Think terracotta, yellow and rose coloured stucco walls, the arcaded piazza with one side open to the lake framed by forested mountains and a glimpse of snow-capped Alps peering over.
It may not be warm. Last time I went (2008) mist swirled down from the mountains over the lake for several days. In the market braziers roasting chestnuts did a good trade. Then the sun came out and we had blue skies and vibrant colours, bright red berries and ivy and the poetry, of course.
This year, along with the winners of the competition, the fine Irish poet, James Harpur and the splendid Carol Ann Duffy will give the last night reading in a 17th pallazzo on the island.
I'm thrilled that I will also be getting a chance to read - a poem selected for the 10th Anniversary of the festival's anthology 'Reflections on Lake Orta' and the poems will be read whilst sailing round the lake! I also had a poem commended in the competition and will be reading that at some point during the festival, possibly when everyone climbs the nearby mountain, Sacro Monte and readings are held at various chapels on the way up.
Festival website: http://www.poetryonthelake.org/
For more photos, see:
and for an account of the 2008 festival see:
Stephanie Green's Blog/Journal: Poetry on the Lake Festival, 2008