Morvoren Poetry Project

Morvoren: the poetry of sea swimming is a poetry book about women who swim in the sea in Cornwall.

The group of nine Cornish women poets creating this book are: Ella Walsworth-Bell, Polly Roberts, Hannah Temme, Kerry Vincent, Kate Barden, Ruth Eggins (on Scilly) and Abigail Ottley, Morag Smith and Penelope MacBeth, with support from Katrina Naomi.

Due to be published in June 2022, the Morvoren project has involved interviewing swimmers (sometimes in the sea!), listening to their stories, creating poems together as a community collaboration, and adding photographs to fully immerse the reader. They’ve contacted sea swimming groups such as: She Swims Falmouth, Manamaids, Morva swimmers, Gylly Surf Life Saving Club (women’s group), Gylly Swimmers for Wellbeing.

Photographers Alice Bray and Rita Maureen Hencke, got right in the water with the swimmers to create unique and beautiful images. These bring to life both the poems and the joyful swimming communities of Cornwall.

Poet Ella Walsworth-Bell says:

“Everyone has volunteered time and effort to make this project a success. We are delighted to say Morvoren will be printed in Cornwall. We want to get from the screen to page – to raise the money to format and print our book. This is a wholly women-focused and women-created project which aims to create beauty and magic from sea swimming. Please support us, and support women across Cornwall who’ve worked to make this a reality. The journey has been wonderful so far – we want to spread the word even further.”

Poet and sea swimmer Katrina Naomi says:

“I recognise so much of my own sea swimming in these stunning, anarchic, joyful poems. Here are other women who also delight in cold water, of being ‘burned alive from the ankles up’. These poems ask, ‘Why wouldn’t you swim?’. Read this anthology, see if it doesn’t have you running for the waves, ‘nipples like limpets’. Brava to one and all.”

You can pre-order a copy at an early bird lower price on their Crowdfunder page and help make this book come to life. Other Rewards include: a postcard featuring one of the Morvoren images, with a poetic quote from the book, that will help pay Morvoren spoken word artists for their time performing at festivals; the Library fund, to place the book in Cornish Libraries, making the project accessible to all.

You can meet the Morvoren poets in person as they tour Cornwall: Creative Scilly (12-14 May), Penzance Litfest (8 July) and St Ives Festival (September). They’d love to meet you and for you to hear their poetry live.

You can also join the project in the Morvoren Facebook group, share poems and sea swimming images, applaud others and take part in live/online poetry workshops.