Chuffed to have my poem ‘Present in Scent’ in Ink, Sweat and Tears today.
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’m excited to be working on a collaborative project with artist Tansy Lee Moir as part of her ‘Dialogue with trees’ residency. I’ve already made one visit to Calderwood in West Lothian to see and learn about the wonderful trees that are the subject of Tansy’s drawings. Over the next few months I hope to visit again, and in the meantime I’ve begun work on a short series of poems developed from ideas about trees and my reactions to Tansy’s artworks.
The residency is proceeding with a series of events and workshops, and will end on April 23d 2017 with an evening at the Howden Park Centre when Tansy will give a presentation about all her work during the residency, and I’ll be giving readings including poetry developed over the course of our collaboration.
You can see an exhibition of Tansy’s superb drawings of trees right now at the Howden Park Centre in West Lothian.
Something a little different – a gallery with an assortment of some of the images and montages that I’ve made to illustrate this blog over the past wee whiley …
Beech pennies tanned rust and ochre,
circles of sky cast in cold pressed leaf,
they do not always look the same,
though Brighty is damp almost all year
the pools are not always present.
I can look above and below,
but not at the same instant.
I must choose one plane,
breathe low and look kindly, and
fix each in focus, turn about.
This short circuit, a balanced cut-log bridge,
needle scent, fern and copper scale contours,
barely fifteen minutes to walk around, but
gently, surely, it all returns to ground.
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 email@example.com. The event is free and unticketed but if you’d like to be sure of getting a seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.