2017 is ending in a flurry of publications and events. The three-year HLF-funded Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership ends this December. Earlier this year the project team commissioned me to respond to a series of portraits of project volunteers by photographer Jose Snook. The volunteers’ words, their responses to Holy Island and the adjoining landscape, and Jose’s eloquent portraits of their hands holding meaningful objects, were the starting place for a new poem sequence, ‘Many Hands’. Our collaboration will be presented in book form to all project volunteers at the annual volunteer conference in Holy Island Crossman Village Hall on Saturday December 9th, 11am – 16.30pm.
Imagining the Sun
‘Sun’, my poetry and electronic music collaboration with Peter Zinovieff, has toured to many events this year, including literary festivals (Poetry-Next-the-Sea, Wells, with excerpts at Words by the Water, Keswick, and Berwick Literary Festival), science communicators’ conferences (Big Event, Centre For Life, Newcastle), and audio conferences (Sound and Environment, University of Hull). Early in November I took it to Dublin. Thank you to all at Sounding Out the Space international conference at Dublin Institute of Arts and Technology for supporting a version for 8-speakers. I hope to continue to tour all four of my pieces with Peter – ‘Edge’, ‘Field’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Horse’: please contact me via the form at the end of this page if you’re interested in hosting one of them at your event.
In the meantime, a book about NUSTEM’s marvellous ‘Imagining the Sun’ project, which includes Helen Schell’s fabulous ‘Solar’ paintings as well as ‘Sun’, is now available. For a limited period, free copies may be obtained HERE
My specially-commissioned poem, Wake, has appeared on a paving slab in the Front Court of my old college, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, using ink that is only visible when wet. It is part of the ‘THwomen40’ anniversary of the admission of women to Trinity Hall and in collaboration with the Poetry School for their 20th anniversary. To celebrate the anniversary, the Poetry School has been working with selected organisations across the country to rain poetry onto pavements, into quads and other places where they can brighten up a rainy day. The poems are sprayed onto slabs with a special ink that is visible when it rains and the poem will last for 6-8 weeks. Read more about it HERE
The literary exchange between twin cities Durham and Tuebingen, Germany, has existed for 30 years. Dr Keith Armstrong has been a stalwart champion of this exchange. I visited Tuebingen with him three times between 2001 and 2003, and read with him in the Schloss alongside fellow-poet Uwe Kolbe. Keith has a new poetry collection out this month from Wild Boar Press, entitled ‘Wallington Morning’. Meanwhile, ‘Word Sharing’, an anthology featuring 22 poets who have taken part in the exchange, including Keith, Michael Standen, Julia Darling, Gerhard Oberlin, Eva Zeller, Uwe Kolbe and me, has been published by Tuebingen University. It’s edited by Keith, Carolyn Murphey Melchers and Michael Raffel. You can read more about it HERE
New Networks for Nature
It’s always a joy to be part of this annual gathering of natural scientists, ecologists and artists – open to all – which takes place in Stamford, Lincs, every November. It celebrates the fact that nature is central to our cultural life and that our humanity is above all an expression of nature. You can find out more about it HERE.
This year’s event was called ‘Changing Nature’, and offered a wealth of thought-provoking speakers and performers, from the spell-binding Sam Lee harmonising with Mike Edwards’ didgeridoo, to Harriet Mead’s compelling sculptures, Carry Akroyd’s glorious prints, Mike Benton’s feathered dinosaurs, and the astonishing 15-year-old Mya-Rose ‘Birdgirl’ Craig.
It was a particular honour to chair the ‘Historical Perspectives’ session with writer and historian Jeremy Mynott, Erica Fudge of the University of Strathclyde and Isabelle Charmantier of the Linnean Soc. Also to read three poems to such an august audience, and to be quoted in new books by friends and New Networks regulars – ‘Beyond Spring: Wanderings through Nature’ by Matthew Oates, and ‘A Tale of Trees: the Battle to Save Britain’s Ancient Woodland’ by one of this year’s gathering organisers, Derek Niemann.
Thank you, thank you, New Networks friends, old and new!
From Harry Potter to Horse
Many congratulations to my friend, the astonishingly-talented and hard-working Olivia Lomenech Gill, who illustrated ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’ for Michael and Clare Morpurgo, and now ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ for J.K. Rowling. Among Olivia’s other recent commissions were the cover for Kathleen Jamie’s latest collection, ‘The Bonniest Companie’, and etchings for our own limited-edition book and CD of ‘Horse’ with music by Peter Zinovieff — which is still available HERE. It would make a great Christmas present!
If you’d like to enquire about any of these publications, or about the possibility of staging an event, you can contact me via this form. Many thanks!