A portrait of our times as peat
Rain upon rain tilthed loam,
levelled to pudding black lake,
a dark carboniferous hag
of uncertain depth and liquidity.
Too far for giant leaping.
Is there a submarine step
sunk safe a pace ahead?
Perhaps – there often is, or
so they say.
I love the idea of landscape as layers upon layers of fragmented story, like an old hoarding in town where torn and muddled fragments of years of past paint and posters are visible if you have the time to look and pick a bit.
Stanza’s Poetry Map of Scotland – a map with a meta layer of poetry – appeals on many levels. This post is about an event next week where some contributors to the map (including yours truly) will be reading contributions as part of Book Week Scotland. There’s also an open mic for ‘readings from the map’ so you can join in too if you like (see below for details).
Quoted from the Stanza blog:
For Book Week Scotland in 2016, StAnza will turn its hugely popular project to map Scotland with poetry into a live event, taking place at Zest Coffee Shop in St Andrews on Thursday 24th November. More than 200 poems have been submitted since the project was launched in 2014. We have invited a selection of poets whose poems feature on the map to lead us on a poetic journey around Scotland, and Zest will make sure that we don’t lack food and drink for the trip.
Those taking part include Gordon Jarvie, Sue Haigh, Steve Smart, John Brewster and Lyn Moir. We’ll also have some open mic slots if anyone else would like to read their own poem from the map, or perhaps a poem from the map about a favourite place. You can browse the map online and if you’d like to ask for a reading slot, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is free and unticketed but if you’d like to be sure of getting a seat, email email@example.com for that as well.
Meantime here are those details again, and we hope to see you there: Thursday 24 November 2016 18:30 – 20:00 at Zest Coffee Shop, 95 South Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9QW.
In the UK, if you’re over fifty, every couple of years you receive an excellent little test kit from the National Health Service. It does rather bring you down to basics. Before continuing can I raise a quick cheer for cancer screening. I know it’s a faff, but really, it does make sense – so if you’re in the age range and you’re contacted by a screening programme where you live, I would encourage you to get over the ick factor, and get on with it 🙂 !
Although the kit does come with excellent instructions, you do have to figure out your own method for some of the fine details (so to speak). I suspect that the kit has probably seldom been an inspiration for poetry, but I have always found the versatility of cardboard a very marvellous thing…
The same cloth
Dragon chewed edges chart
My cardboard construction skills,
Once creased castles to house plastic
Knights and errant imaginations.
Or a two foot Arc Royal flat-top as,
Floor bound navigators on our knees,
We projected playtime power.
The throne of easement today requires a
Temporary transom to stage my fifty something
Three day perforated tournament of poo sticks.
So salvaged corrugated cardboard,
Will again be pressed to unfold a counter,
And jury-rig a diagnostic flight deck.
My rhumb lines of luck or doubt.
About screening for bowel cancer in UK:
Bowel cancer screening UK (includes a very helpful video)
THE GREAT NEBULA OF ORION: A digital print of a photographic plate from the Ritchey 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, made in 1908. from the archive of the Carnegie Observatories, in Pasadena, California.
more about this
Not all spaces weigh the same.
There are variations. The depths and darknesses,
Volume, lightness, and quintessences, of
Every emptiness’s chiaroscuro.
Not all spaces are devoid of presence, some
Harbour unstated substance in subtle doubt,
Pass trembling semaphores of existence,
Harmonise plainsung intimations of light.
Not all spaces are rendered on our charts, still
Undiscovered emptier places may await. Nulls of
Colder, quieter, unexpressed embraces. Voids as
Void as only absence might surrender.
Back in May
I wrote about how I’d been trying to think of a way to combine a small collection of poems and images in a printed form other than a book. As I have a longstanding love of maps, and as the pieces I’ve been making are in a sense fragments of a kind of journey, the result was the chart project I’ve called “Desire Lines”.
I’m terrible for making my mind up – and I enjoy both working in visual media and writing. Consequently both poetry and photographs (or digital montages) are integral to the work I’ve been sharing on this blog.
Placing words and images together can
risk diluting the impact of both – I hope this hasn’t been the case here. Together the images and the poems collected in “Desire Lines” represent a series of observations made on my own random survey of the in-between, hence – an ‘interstitial chart’.
It’s taken a while to get the project to the next stage, but “Desire Lines” is now at the printers, proofed and ready to go … and will be coming shortly to an online store near you!
Reaching that point
I consider turning and feel
that rankle in his bones.
A circle remains acceptable,
a periphery traced will
leave the walk unspoiled.
In balance but un-symmetrical.
retread time already mingled
with our recent scents, so as
Sines from a cyclic, we wander
along the wave until
we sense our true lie.
“Desire Lines: an interstitial chart” is a project I’ve been working on that combines design, poems and images – including several from this blog – in the form of a large paper chart or map.
The map itself is a kind journey or rendered songline of encountered moments. The piece will be made folded down similar to a walker’s map – like UK Ordnance Survey maps.
The mock up video below was for the printer to show how I imagined the map might fold – it’s only an A4 sheet of paper so very tiny! (the actual chart is going to be A1).
I’m hoping that “Desire Lines” will be for sale soon, so if you think you might be interested in having a copy, or maybe giving a copy as a present – watch this space! There are some other tasters here.
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