Connecting to place: Mikey’s postcard from Tintern Abbey

Visiting Tintern Abbey with the BARS Conference 2015

Visiting Tintern Abbey with the BARS Conference 2015

Why I went…

My primary reason for going to Tintern Abbey was because it formed a central part of the British Association of Romantic Studies 2015 conference as run by Cardiff University. As I was helping out at the conference I had to go to make sure all the delegates knew what to expect and to make sure we left with the same amount of travellers as we left Cardiff with.  More personally, as I have not been to Tintern Abbey for many years (we used to go quite often in school), I also wanted to see how I now felt about the place, especially after years of studying English Literature. As the great poet Morrissey once asked,  ‘has the world changed or have I changed?’

What I got out of the experience…

As pretentious as this may sound, this was the first time that I had visited Tintern where I had truly felt connected with place. I’m not sure whether it was the exhaustion that comes with working at a conference or not, but I found the experience quite emotional; perhaps because, for me, the place does not just form part of literary history but is also very much part of my own. I also learnt that I am very lucky to be working with some very talented creative writers  (Emily Blewitt and Christina Thatcher) who gave recitals of their own poetry. I have also developed a new found respect for teachers who take their pupils on school trips and manage to retain sanity: counting people and ensuring everyone is in the right place at the right time is, surprisingly, quite challenging (!).

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