Sissinghurst Castle

Dark Angels Note 138

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our weekly Friday Note.



This week we are celebrating the birthday of English poet, novelist and diarist Vita Sackville-West (9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962).

Although her writing career may be overshadowed by the tower of Sissinghurst Castle or her relationship with Virginia Woolf, it started with the publication of Poems of East and West, a collection of 22 poems which drew on her experiences of living in Istanbul.

During her career she wrote many novels, poems and gardening books including her prize-winning poem The Land which commemorates the agricultural customs of her home county Kent.



Vita’s writing room in the twin-turreted tower of Sissinghurst Castle has recently undergone a complex conservation project which finished in February this year.

Read more about the conservation timeline including preserving Vita’s handwritten phone numbers on the walls and relocating the Hogarth Printing Press.



Vita’s long poem The Land was divided into four parts – winter, spring, summer, autumn – influenced by the changing seasons.

Here we are on the cusp of spring. Go for a walk to spot the first signs of spring. Try documenting it when you return home. What did you notice and how does that make you feel about the changing seasons?



Keep sending us your poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family.



Dark Angels & 26 poetry event

Wednesday 5 April at 7pm (UK time), on Zoom.

We’re delighted to invite you to a joint gathering for Dark Angels and 26 members, co-hosted by Neil Baker and Martin Clarkson. Therese, Tim and John will give readings from the book, as well as being in conversation with Neil and Martin. It promises to be a poetry event different from any other.

Register here.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

Over the coming weeks, we have a few adjustments to the schedule of our weekly gatherings.

14 Mar: no gathering

21 Mar: no gathering

28 Mar: 7pm as usual

Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome; in fact, invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on.


Hearts, Inspired, 16-21 June 2023

Join us for a 5-day writing retreat on Whidbey Island, in the US Pacific Northwest. We’ll explore writing, creativity and inspiration through guided writing, personal projects and time in nature.

Find out more here.


Words Are Seeds, 19-23 June 2023

Five days of writing, rituals and nature connection at Bore Place over the summer solstice. We’re expecting a lively, stimulating and playful experience, with plenty of time for individual pondering, wondering and wandering – and writing.

Find out more here.


Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.

From everyone at Dark Angels