Darkness and Light

Thank you for finding your way to this blog. I wish you a very Happy New Year, and look forward with you to 2018. For me this includes a couple of fantastic new collaborations (more on these in months to come), and exciting developments for Horse, my poetry and music piece with electronic composer Peter Zinovieff, first written for Radio 3’s Between the Ears in 2011. We are now working towards a new production, with projected performance dates in 2019. The limited edition book and CD of the piece, with prints by Fantastic Beasts illustrator Olivia Lomenech Gill, is still available if you click here – it’s now a collector’s item. For news of the project’s development, please keep following this blog.

On the subject of collaborations, you can listen if you click here to composer John Casken’s brilliant setting of two of my fishing poems, Uncertain Sea, sung by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, conducted by Ben Parry. You need to sign up to the site to hear it, but it’s free.

In January, I look forward to a school-group workshop on Imagining the Sun with solar scientists from NUSTEM at Newcastle’s Lit and Phil. It’s free, and schools can click here to sign up.

I’m also excited to see heritage potter Graham Taylor’s fabulous new exhibition in Berwick Museum, featuring ceramic vessels from the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership project, Fragments. The theme is the natural and cultural landscape on and around Holy Island, the forms are loosely based on historical vessels, and the content of the decoration has been influenced by workshops with community groups. Several of Graham’s vessels include text from my long radio poem, The Refuge Box. The full text of this poem can be found in my most recent Bloodaxe collection, Two Countries, for which please click here.

Below are two of Graham’s own images of his Fragments vessels.




For more about Graham Taylor and his work, please click here.

From Holy Island to Devon: later in 2018, I look forward to leading a course on the Poetry of Place at the 70th Dartington International Summer School and Festival. You can sign up here.

Meanwhile, in the deep winter darkness, click here for a glance back to the first Durham Lumiere Festival in 2009, which I reviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, together with a specially commissioned poem, Durham Cathedral.

If you’ve has enough of dark nights, click here for a look forward to the Summer Solstice, with a short reading from Dunstanburgh from BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on June 21st 2017.

Lastly, the excellent Grey Hen Press has just launched Songs for the Unsung, a new collection of poems for the unremarked and overlooked, the alienated, marginalised and disadvantaged, edited by Joy Howard. It includes work by many great women writers, including Meg Peacocke, Gillian Allnut, Mimi Khalvati and Sheenagh Pugh – and a couple of my own poems. You can buy it by clicking here. It costs £10 + postage, and a donation of 50p for the sale of each book goes to Age International.

Thank you again for finding my blog, please continue to follow it and, once again, I wish you a very happy 2018!