Sunday 4 April 2021

Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah - Who’s making a noise at this year’s Buxton Fringe?

photo credit: The Wildlife Trust

Calling all wildlife lovers, poets and conservationists. You won't want to miss this!

Live at this year's Fringe, Yorkshire poet, writer and conservationist Steve Ely will be sharing his poems dedicated to two of the UK's fastest declining species, the Willow Tit and the European Eel.

Steve will read from his books Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah (the words to the willow tit's song for the uninitiated) and The European Eel at the events, which are sponsored by Milners Law, who  have offices in Leeds, Harrogate and Pontefract.

Also a big Ted Hughes fan, proud Yorkshireman Steve will reveal how his home county shaped the work of the former Poet Laureate.

For full details of these events see the full press release below. With entries starting to build up, we hope to bring you the inside stories on a host of other shows in the coming months. In the meantime don't forget to check out the Fringe website.

Carol Garner

Press Release: 

Yorkshire poets and poetry at Buxton Festival  

Poet and writer Steve Ely will be sharing some of his passions with  audiences at this year’s Buxton Festival Fringe. 

The European Eel and the Willow Tit are two of the fastest declining species  in the UK. Their populations have crashed by 95% in 50 years. As it happens  Willow Tits do relatively well on some brownfield, former industrial sites and  Steve Ely lives close to a former coalfield in Yorkshire and is able to monitor  bird numbers locally. 

He published a small volume of poems Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah: the song of the  Willow Tit three years ago. This year sees publication of his book-length  poem The European Eel. For the Buxton event Steve will read poems from  the books and talk about how autobiography and interests in conservation  and literature came together in their writing. 

Steve’s observations of the natural world sharply inform his writing and this  is evident in a further collection published this year, Lectio Violant - ‘profane  readings’ that were the result of contemplative study of parts of the New  Testament in the King James’ edition. 

Steve also teaches creative writing at University of Huddersfield where he is  Director of the Ted Hughes Network. Hughes - who was poet laureate from  1984 until his death in 1998 - was born in the Calder Valley village of  Mytholmroyd and the moorland landscapes where he was born are often  associated with his writing. Hughes moved to live in the South Yorkshire  industrial town of Mexborough between the ages of 8 and 21. 

Steve Ely published a study of this period of Hughes’ life and the place  where he wrote his first poems. Steve argues that it was Mexborough that  formed Hughes as a poet. It was the place where he encountered the  influences that shaped him as a poet, leaving a lasting impression on his  personality, sensibility and practice. For the Buxton Festival Steve will reveal  this still too little-known story. 

These two Buxton Festival Fringe events are sponsored by Milners Law, who  have offices in Leeds, Harrogate and Pontefract. 


Notes for editors

The Buxton Festival Fringe was established in 1980 and takes place every  July. This year’s Festival runs from 7-25 July when hundreds of events  embrace the visual and performing arts. 

Steve Ely will be at the United Reformed Church on Tuesday 13 July. His Eel  and the Willow Tit is from 3-4pm and Made in Mexborough: Ted Hughes’  South Yorkshire from 5-6pm.

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