19th Rencontres d’Artistes


A date for your diary:

Due to the ongoing renovation work at the Centre d’Animation Régionale (CAR) the 19th Rencontres d’Artistes will be held in the Espace 2000 at Saulgé. Some sixty artists from across the spectrum of artistic disciplines – painters, sculptors and photographers – will exhibit their work during the Easter weekend.

This year’s guest of honour will be Sophie Amauger who originally trained as a graphic designer, but for the past 14 years has dedicated her working life to creating sumptuous depictions of nature in soft pastel.

15, 16, 17 April 2017 10h to 12h and 14h to 19h (18h on Monday)

Sophie pic
Pastel by Sophie Amauger

Jardin Passion weekend

Jardin Passion

The Montmorillon season opens with the weekend of Jardin Passion: Saturday and Sunday 22/23 April. Here in one place you will find exhibitors and professionals from all fields relating to the garden: horticulturists, nurserymen, landscapers, florists, decoration, do-it-yourself, garden tools (hand-tools and mechanical), garden furniture – everything for the garden from the initial concept and design to planting and maintenance.

On the program this year: conferences, photo exhibitions, animated walks, cooking demonstrations and tasting, poultry farming (with poultry on exhibition and for sale), a working forge, visits to the municipal greenhouses (using a free shuttle running between the square Marshal Leclerc and the greenhouses), workshops for children (drawing contest, planting of bulbs, games around poultry).

The Écomusée du Montmorillonnais will present an awareness of the world of insects in the Writers’ Garden on Saturday, 22 April from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April 2017
Cité de l’Écrit and Place du Maréchal Leclerc from 9 am to 7 pm

Direct sales – Free admission

Information on +33 (0) 5 49 91 69 01



Christopher Hampton

It is just a year to the day since the death of the poet and political historian Christopher Hampton – a good time to take a moment and reflect on his life and work.  Christopher had so many virtues that are lacking in the push-and-shove of the modern world: he was courteous but quietly determined, he listened as well as he spoke and he used language with a careful precision that one wishes were more widespread.

I am happy to say that a collection of Christopher’s poems, some unpublished at the time of his death and some selected from his previously published works, has been edited by Christopher’s daughter Rebecca and his friend Patsy Fraser.  The book, with a foreword by Dinah Livingstone, will be published in time for the Salon du Livre (16-17 June).  Full details will be available shortly.  Advance orders are more than welcome

Christopher Hampton 3 May 1929 – 28 April 2012

The poet and critic Christopher Hampton died at his home in Montmorillon on 28 April.  Christopher was born in London and, studying first as a musician, he worked for a time as a pianist and conductor before giving up music for writing.  From 1962 – 1966 he lived in Italy with his wife and daughter, teaching English in Rome.  On his return to Britain he joined the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster), where he taught for 28 years, as well as lecturing at the City Literary Institute.  Active on the left of the Labour party, he was involved in many protest movements of the eighties and nineties.  In 1997 he resigned from the Party in opposition to Tony Blair’s New Labour Third Way politics.  His poems and articles on philosophy, politics and literature have appeared regularly in print and on the radio since 1960.

Publications by Christopher Hampton include The Etruscans and the Survival of Etruria (Gollancz 1969 & Doubleday 1970); Socialism in a Crippled World (Pelican 1981); A Radical Reader (Pelican 1984) and The Ideology of the Text (Open University Press 1990). He was the editor of Poems for Shakespeare published by Sam Wanamaker’s Globe Playhouse Trust in 1972.  Christopher Hampton published four volumes of poetry: An Exile’s Italy (Thonneson 1972); A Cornered Freedom (Peterloo 1980); Against the Current (Katabasis 1995); Border Crossings (Katabasis 2005).

At the time of his death Christopher had a number of completed projects in the pipeline.  Christopher is survived by his wife Kathleen, daughter Rebecca and grandson Rohan.

Christopher was a man with an inquiring mind.  He was not just interested in books, in poetry, in music or in politics but also in people.  One always left any meeting with Christopher feeling more positive and enthusiastic because his positive enthusiasm was infectious.  I only knew him for the last four years of his life but I feel privileged to have been able to call him my friend.

We held a poetry reading for Christopher in the Glass Key bookshop in May 2010 and you can see and hear Christopher reading his poetry on a couple of short pieces of film posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/pDV4UVh0JIs and

Jardin Passion

This weekend we had the annual Jardin Passion.  Over 40 exhibitors displaying (and selling) plants, trees, miniature tractors and indeed everything that the gardener could want to grow flowers, fruit or vegetables.  The events are divided between the centre of town where the newly renovated Place du Maréchal Leclerc hosts about half the stalls and the others are in the Place du Terrier in the Cité de l’Ecrit.  Despite the cold weather the rain held off both Saturday and Sunday and it was good to see our streets actually thronged for a change.  If gardening is your thing then make a note in your diary for next year and put Montmorillon on your itinerary.

Fossicking time again

10 o’clock Friday morning saw the opening of the Braderie Emmaus at the Parc des Expositions in Poitiers.  A braderie translates as a rummage sale and this is a monster of a rummage sale.  Over the three days that it is open around twenty thousand people will visit the sale.  The Parc des Expositions is a large round building and for this event it is filled with long trestle tables on which are piled or placed the items for sale.  On entry you are offered a large plastic bag and you can fill this with secondhand clothes that are sold by the kilogram.  As well as clothes there are sections devoted to books, to shoes, to china and glass, to fabrics, to furniture and to computers and mobile phones.

On Friday all goods are offered with a 25% discount off the marked price.  On Saturday this increases to 50% and an even higher discount is offered on Sunday.  Of course the longer you leave it the more likely it is that the bargains have been snapped up by someone else.

The next 3-day sale starts on Friday 21 September.  To get a visual idea of this one have a look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWi8_GewYAo

A visit to the theatre

The theatre de la cité, Montmorillon

Last night we went to the theatre in Montmorillon.  Le Théatre de la Cité is a small (but perfectly formed) theatre in rue Champien in the Cité de l’Ecrit.  Seating capacity is around 60 and the theatre is run by Laurent Flodrops and his wife Cristal.  The programme last night was a concert by Presque Oui.

Presque Oui

Thibaud Defever sings and plays the guitar and Sylvain Berthe accompanies him on the cello, the flute and a number of other instruments.  The songs are deceptively low key and sung with a certain wry humour – I only wish my comprehension of French was better so that I could have grasped the full meanings and subtleties of every song.  The rest of the audience (all 58 of them!) were French and they clearly enjoyed every minute of the performance – much laughter and three encores attest to that.  You can find out more and hear a sample song at http://www.presqueoui.fr