Category Archives: animal

Getting REEL

walker in silhouette

REELPoetry 2022 – the festival of poetry film, is on 25/26/27th February, live (in Texas) and online (everywhere). I’m delighted to have been able to curate a short program of poetry films, which I’ve called Stravaig. I like to think of it as a wander through film-poems both from Scotland, and around the globe about the natural world and our relationship with it.

As well as a couple of my own short films, the Straviag program (Festival program, Day 1: 26th Feb) has works from film makers I am really pleased to be able to include – Life-breath Songs, presented by Scotland’s Makar Kathleen Jamie – the poet driving this national poetry collaboration – is a collection of three beautiful poetry films by eminent Scottish poetry film maker Alastair Cook (founder of Filmpoem), and featuring the gorgeous voice of Eilidh Cormack (of folk trio Sian). The Mirror is a poised collaboration between poet Em Strang and filmmaker Jonny Randall.

I’m also very pleased to be able to include the challenging The animal that therefore I am by award winning Dutch filmmaker Bea de Visser – a unique collaboration with animals (and other human animals). Jesse Adlam’s and poet Greta Stoddart’s Lie in a field on your back gives a precious moment of pause in the rush of the world. Artist Alisha Anderson delivers a remarkable visual-speech-poem centred on the aftermath of forest fire in Meristem. The wave by Janet Lees with poet Lucia Sellars is a song for and of the sea, and for life.

REELPoetry 2022 – the festival of poetry film, is on 25/26/27th February, live (in Texas) and online (everywhere). For tickets and program details see http://www.publicpoetry.net/reelpoetry (Please remember to adjust event times from CST to your own timezone.)

REELPoetry 2022 poster

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Well met

I’ve been reading a remarkable book called The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram. It’s a study in ecological philosophy that seeks to examine and understand world views of cultures that don’t separate human consciousness and the natural world. Frankly, it’s not always been the easiest read – I’m afraid my slow brain does have to chug over some paragraphs several times to make sense of them! However, it’s been worth it. Mostly I’ve found it invigorating, and I’d recommend it.

This short poem is about a kind of encounter which most of us might have had sometime, perhaps often if we are lucky. This (and other meetings like this) played in my thoughts a lot while I was reading David Abram’s book. I see this poem as a meeting between two very different minds in the same domain (i.e. not between ‘a human and nature’). It might be commonplace – it certainly was once. It’s slight, but (I hope) there is more to it than meets the eye.

Well met

Where the fireweed straggles
after the arch of the viaduct

I met the deer in an accident
we closed quietly.

A young doe looking up without
alarm to a slow moment

we measure in-between –
calm breaths elongating

our horizon – until unworried
she turns and walks away.

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Sea symphonies

I’m delighted to have a poem (and some artwork) included as an ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Issue 5 of Consilience, the journal of poetry and science.

The theme of issue 5 was Rhythm and my poem is about remarkable research by researchers from the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews studying the songs of humpback whales in the South Pacific.

There is also a reading in the Consilience podcast.

See https://www.consilience-journal.com/issue-5

more about the background to this poem


Poetry and Science Podcast

I’m very excited to be joining in a podcast by La Ninfa Eco international literary site later this month. The show is about poetry and science, and will feature the Consilience Journal team members, and items from several Consilience contributors.

Special Guests: Sam Illingworth, Steve Smart, Stephen Paul Wren, Ruth Aylett, Angie Lo, Miranda L. Barnes, Clint Wastling & Kate Jenkinson.

Host: Gaby Sambuccetti

Date: 26th May 2021

Time: 3.30 pm (BST)

Click for details about contributors and this episode which will stream live on La Ninfa Eco social media platforms.


To Dundee FC early 1900s

Pleased that my eccentric wee poem ‘To Dundee FC early 1900s’ found a spot in POETRY SCOTLAND‘s sheet for ne’er-do-wells and troublemakers ‘Gallus’ (Scots: bold, cheeky or flashy) – about the right place for it, I suspect!

Not so much a football item really, maybe more of a photography or a time-travel poem. Trouble indeed…