Stop Making Sense! is a poetry project I’ve just finished making in collaboration with talented poet and performer Kirsten Luckins, enigmatic yet irrepressible artist Logan Hanbury and others. It’s a small contribution to one of StAnza International Poetry Festival’s 2021 themes – ‘No Rhyme nor Reason’.
Stop Making Sense! is a website with light-hearted activities spinning a dizzy birl around the fraying threads of poetry and not making too much sense at all. There’s a collection of contributed nonsense to rummage about in (and contribute to) plus – it’s entirely FREE and anyone can join in, without actually having to go out!
Thanks to those worthy souls who’ve already contributed a verse.
Have a look, have a go, but most of all, have a laugh!
The Antarctic Poetry Competition is unusual in asking entrants to submit both poems and photographs, and specifying that the photographs must include the poems entered! I’m excited that that one of my entries for this year’s competition was shortlisted and will be on display, along with work by all the other shortlisted entrants, at Dunedin Public Library in New Zealand from 8th-31st October.
As well as my shortlisted poem, Polar Exploration, I’ve included a selection of photographs below. These were taken on the polar research vessel RSS Discovery, a research vessel launched in 1901 during the ‘heroic’ age of polar exploration. Discovery is a connection to Antarctica which is now permanently docked where it was built, in the city of Dundee, near to where I live. Gill Poulter and Suzanne Paterson at Discovery Point kindly arranged for me to have access to Captain Scott’s cabin, the chart room and other locations aboard, and also to access some of the unique objects from the Discovery collection. I’m very grateful for their help.
Reading about the experiences of polar travellers, it seemed to me that people journeying in these regions are as much exploring something within themselves as experiencing an unknown place, or a physical challenge. In the poem I tried to riddle basic challenges which Antarctica presents to human beings alongside questions about this kind of inner journey.
Who are you in a place with no name?
Stranger here or home at last?
Are you an Adam now, or a wiser Eve?
What are you in a place with no life?
Curiosity of transient biology?
Are you an alien, or a fresh infection?
Where are you in a pyramid with no stones?
Smiles alive under Scott tent shroud?
Are you a moth unformed, in swaddle-down cocoon?
When are you in a land with no night?
Pacing on and on or clock unwound?
Are you awake still, or persistent dream?
I’m going to be joining fellow Wyvern poets for a Franken-poetical event on Wednesday November 21st at 17.30 in The Global Room at Dundee University. As part of this year’s Being Human festival, we are celebrating the 200th anniversary year of the publication of Frankenstein with readings of new poems ruminating on Frankenstein, technology and identity, and Mary Shelly’s own early association with Dundee.
Tickets are available free from eventbrite.
Darren McFarlane’s painting of D’Arcy subject to one of his own mathematical transformations!
I enjoyed a visit to the exhibition Harmonious Complexity at the University of Dundee Tower Building. This is part of a season of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of D’Arcy Thompson’s book On Grown and Form. Continue reading