This weekend, I’m taking part in Enchanted Water, along with new canal poet laureate Nancy Campbell and local poet Leanne Moden. On Nottingham Light Night (Friday 23 Feb) and over the weekend, visitors will be able to join us on a narrowboat to hear stories and poems inspired by canals and rivers, and enjoy a short ride along a stretch of the Nottingham canal. The session will also be a chance to think about the heritage of the canal, its present use and what the future holds.
Nancy and Leanne are reading on Friday evening and on Saturday Nancy is also reading at 11am & 12noon. I’m doing Saturday 11.30am & 12.30pm and Sunday 11am/11.45am/12.30pm. The sessions will last about 30mins, starting from Nottingham Canal Basin by the Magistrates Court off Carrington Street. Friday should be really exciting, as Enchanted Water aims to transform the look and feel of the canal, using art installations, light and water. Tickets for all events must be booked in advance.
Enchanted Water is a collaboration between Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Trent University, Beeston Canalside Heritage Centre and Canal & River Trust.
I’ve really enjoyed working with Nottingham Wildlife Trust on their creative campaign ‘Nottingham For Nature’ . The campaign hits the streets on 16 January 2018. I’ve been working with the Keeping It Wild youth group to develop their initial ideas, creating twelve new ‘word mash’ definitions and short poems for the poster and billboard campaign promoting wildlife in the city.
On Friday 12th January, I met with six members of the Nottingham Hindu Youth Group ‘Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh’ at The Nottingham Emmanuel School in West Bridgford. We discussed the project and the importance of nature in Hindu culture, developing ideas that will be included in the Nottingham For Nature manifesto. The manifesto will launch at the youth event taking place at Nottingham Council House on 25th January.
I’m delighted that my poem ‘Between’ has been included in Mud Press’s Christmas Zine Vol. 2, edited by Nottingham’s poet laureate Georgina Wilding and illustrated by Laura Nielson. The Zine is on sale from Mud Press website, Five Leaves Bookshop, Ideas on Paper & Rough Trade in Nottingham. Happy Christmas!
Your bikes are locked together
against the lamp post outside the bar.
Inside, people twirl between conversations
like the paper Yule hearts in each window
dancing in updrafts of air.
I wait on the pavement, watching snowflakes vanish
on your flushed pink cheeks as you pull on hats
and gloves, wrap scarves, disentangle the bikes.
You are chatting as you glide away up the road
wingtip to wingtip – never quite touching –
like geese in formation, flying south for the winter.
I’m taking part in Wild Words, an all day event run by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust at Attenborough Nature Reserve as part of the Being Human Festival.
I’ll be leading a drop-in family friendly creative writing activity between 10am and 12pm. This will be followed at noon by a lively discussion about the power of nature writing to help us reconnect with nature chaired by Dr Lambert with Sorrel Lyall (conservationist and blogger), Adam Cormack (Communications Manager for The Wildlife Trusts), Aly Stoneman (writer) and Erin McDaid (NWT Head of Communications. The final session of the day will be a nature writing workshop for adults 16 and over from 1.30pm-3pm. All events are free.
‘EventBrite’ booking pages and info for the two bookable sessions:
Discussion Panel – http://bit.ly/2gPp77y
Adult Writing Workshop – http://bit.ly/2gOVOSH
Venue: Attenborough Nature Centre, 52 Barton Lane, Beeston NG9 6DY
Living on the edge in Shingle Street (photo: Aly Stoneman, 2017)
I visited Suffolk and Orkney this summer (2017) while researching and writing for my PhD in contemporary British poetry and coastal change, accessing museum and heritage centre collections and walking some of the most threatened coast in the UK. I was especially struck by the effect of climate change and sea change on people in the past (e.g. the impacts of sea-level rise in the Neolithic and a deteriorating climate on Bronze Age farming in Orkney; the devastating inundation of medieval Dunwich) and the inevitable connection with how we relate to climate and coastal change in modern times, when we are less flexible in terms of settlement mobility. I am also increasingly interested in flood narratives in oral traditions and in how we evaluate what we save and what we leave, in relation both to heritage sites and personal property, when the sea comes calling…
Full blog posts:
Last summer I was resident poet at National Trust Mottisfont for SPUD’s touring installation The Observatory. Here is a short film about the project with all three artists (including me). The project finale will take place all day on Friday 28th April 11am-late at Buckler’s Hard in Beaulieu in Hampshire with talks, tours, presentations and readings. More info to follow. Here’s a link to the project website: http://www.lookinlookout.org/films
I started my PhD in October and I’ve just completed project approval, so it’s time to crack on with actually writing something! I finished my contract with Junction Arts in December after the Bolsover Lantern Parade (after 5 happy years) so that I can focus on my research. My PhD is practice-led, with the title: Contemporary Poetry, Sea-level Rise and Coastal Flooding. More info here: https://vpp.midlands3cities.ac.uk/display/N0165498ntuacuk/Welcome
Here’s a bit of an overview:
The British geographic and political sense of identity as an island nation – where no place is more than 75 miles from the coast – is inevitably characterised by its relationship with the sea. The shape of the British Isles is ‘sheered into our memories from an early age, a mental cartographic construct of Englishness’ (Dodge, 2012), but limits and definitions of the British coastline are subject to change. My practice-led project comprises a collection of poetry exploring sea-level rise and coastal flooding in Britain and a critical consideration of contemporary Anglophone coastal change poems. I use “coastal change” as an umbrella term for phenomena associated with climate change in the Anthropocene, including sea-level rise, erosion and coastal flooding due to extreme weather events. My poems will explore issues that are largely neglected by the existing body of coastal change poetry, including social and ethical concerns of organizational response such as managed realignment and effects of sea-level rise on heritage sites. Each poem will connect with an artifact as a locative technique and material point of inspiration and reference, exploring the social and cultural impact of ‘loss of place’.
There is a paucity of critical work focusing solely on the poetry and poetics of contemporary British coastal change. For Johns-Putra (2016) ”significant developments have occurred’ in poetry, yet ‘eco-critical accounts of climate change have tended to focus on fiction to the detriment of drama and poetry’. Given the increasing body of contemporary British poetry engaging with the topic, a focused examination of the developing poetics of coastal change is overdue.
Supervisors and Institution(s):
Dr Rory Waterman (Nottingham Trent University)
Dr Sarah Jackson (Nottingham Trent University)
Dr Henry Chapman (University of Birmingham)