Ottery Tar Barrel Rollers

otb rollers grab2

As it’s the first of November I am presenting my poem Ottery Tar Barrel Rollers, with an illustration by Chris Wakefield, to celebrate the annual Tar Barrel event in Ottery St Mary. This year’s ‘rolling’ will take place on the 4th November.

For further details about the history of this occasion, here is a good place to visit, and do check out the numerous photos online – though you need to see it in person to believe the genuinely spectacular!

Out of interest, a first draft of the image which conveyed much of the inherent menace in the tar-lined, flaming barrels, but it made the rollers themselves seem intimidating  – which is a part of the exciting spectacle, but it is not their manner, so to speak, so we changed!

early version


2 thoughts on “Ottery Tar Barrel Rollers

  1. I love the structure of these list poems. Something about the simplicity that lends itself to the complexity of words. I hope to see the tar barrel rollers some day. Like the new image. Sort of Iwo Jima-ish. Did you have a hand in that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, and list poems work so well with students. Thank you. And well spotted! But that was Chris’ idea, and of course it was DT’s influence, so a little ironic, but also about the camaraderie of the rollers who do have to work together. Look forward to you being here to watch with us one day.


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