Lots of exciting things are happening in 2019. Although some details are still provisional, here are a few of them:
Saturday February 16th, 6pm-9pm
Exhibition opening at Niche Gallery @ The Old Bath House
I’ll be reading poetry and signing books at the invitation of artists Paul and Katie Henery, at the opening of their latest exhibition, ‘Wild Northumberland’.
Paul is an award-winning wildlife painter and printmaker – he has won the BBC Wildlife Magazine Art Award and the RSPB Fine Art Award. Katie, his daughter, is a printmaker who also uses vintage maps, pen and ink and photography in her work. Their work is inspired by the wildlife, landscape and marine environment, with a particular focus on the Northumberland coast.
My poems for the evening will reflect themes from their new work created this winter.
For more information, please see:
Niche Gallery, The Old Bath House, Radar Close, North Broomhill, NE65 9UJ
Saturday, March 9th, 11am – noon
Can She Bait a Line?
The unsung heroines of the North East’s fishing communities
Until the mid 20th century North East coble fishermen relied on their wives and daughters for the unpaid, land-based tasks that kept the boat at sea. This included gathering bait and preparing the long lines, each of which carried 1,400 mussel-baited hooks. It was also the women’s job to sell fish in neighbouring villages.
From the early 19th century some women gained economic independence in the more industrial summer herring fishery. Fisher lasses worked in teams, gutting and packing herring into barrels with layers of salt.
My talk will include some real-life examples, and we’ll consider what we can learn from fisher women’s lives about human relations to nature, place and sustainability.
Old Low Light, Clifford’s Fort, Fish Quay, North Shields, NE30 1JA
Coble Sunbeam, Beadnell 1938 (photo credit David Horsley)
Friday May 24th
From the Coble Coast to Bantry Bay – Poetry and Music of the Sea
The Blue Lonnen by Katrina Porteous with original music by Alexis Bennett.
The Blue Lonnen is an elegy in words and music for the coble, the traditional wooden boat of the English North East coast. Poet Katrina Porteous celebrates the last working examples of this lovely craft, and the traditions, culture and community which it embodied. In this newly-devised performance, her words are interspersed with original music by Alexis Bennett, created entirely from sounds made by the fiddle, played live and processed electronically.
Alexis Bennett lectures at Goldsmiths, University of London, has performed widely as a viola player with early music ensembles, and is well-known on the folk scene as a ceilidh caller and fiddler. As a composer he works primarily with poets, filmmakers and animators, and his music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Channel 4, TCM and at major film festivals throughout the world.
Bantry Bay by Mick Delap
Bantry Bay is an exuberant sound piece for poetry and music that tells the story of the Bantry Long Boat, the oldest surviving ship in the French Navy, captured in Ireland in 1796 when a French invasion fleet was beaten back by the weather. Mick Delap traces this remarkable story from 1796 to the Bantry Long Boat’s 21st century successors, the Atlantic Challenge Gigs, via Commander James Wolfe, the Woolwich hydrographical surveyor who first charted Bantry Bay in the 1840’s. Bantry Bay uses a series of contemporary voices, mixed with the music of the time, to capture the feel of the sea 150 years ago. As well as Mick Delap, readers will include two leading Irish poets, Paddy Bushe and Theo Dorgan, in Greenwich specially for the Bantry Bay performance.
Mick Delap, long time Greenwich resident, is a poet and sailor who has first-hand experience of the waters of the West of Ireland, where the Bantry Bay sequence is set. He has published two collections of poetry, “River Turning Tidal” in 2003, and “Opening Time”, which includes his Bantry Bay sequence, in 2015.
August 3rd – 10th
Dartington International Summer School and Festival, Devon.
I’m delighted to be running my popular Poetry of Place course again this year, and to be performing in The Great Hall with Alexis Bennett on Sunday 4th at 5.15pm. Tickets go on sale in February. More details to follow.
Coble the Golden Gate leaves Beadnell Harbour, 1994. (Photo K. Porteous)