The new poetry map I have been working on for the last 18 months is on its way to being published…there are still final bits and bobs of writing to do, photos to select and final edits but the art work is taking shape. I am very excited about this as it is highly personal – a map of Furlong territory, especially my Dad’s, and his brothers’ and sisters’ – their ‘second home.’ It continues to amaze me, how much this small piece of land contains in terms of stories, nature and deep history. I cannot possibly cram all the writing and poems, pictures and information I have gathered and created, and am continuing to amass on to two sides of A2 map…maybe this will become something else in the future…
More news and updates on this as it continues to materialise into something tangible. For now, the photos above are of where I lay the other afternoon, listening to many different birds singing, bees buzzing, watching fronds and flowers swaying in the breeze… a ten minute walk from the white noise of the A3 in one direction, and the train to Waterloo in the other.
This is the sound of the suburbs.
Apparently it is Cherish Your Churchyards week– the things I find out from BBC Springwatch… It is and here are some of the reasons why we should Cherish Our Churchyards…
- They often contain a rich diversity of plant and animal life.
- They are important places for archaeology and history.
- They often have distinctive and veteran trees.
- The stonework and boundary walls provide a home for a mosaic of mosses, ferns and lichens.
- They provide a tranquil place for quiet reflection.
- They are a resource for inspiration and community learning.
Recently I went for a walk through All Saints Churchyard in Carshalton, with a couple of writer friends, Neil Horabin and David Russomano, as part of a drift around the village after work last Tuesday.
We are currently writing poetry about this historic town and its connection with water, for a poetry event at The Carshalton On Sea festival, which takes place from Friday 19th- Sunday 21st June.
The Water Poets event takes place at the Cryer Theatre, Carshalton, on Saturday 20th June from 12-1pm, and is FREE!
I will be posting some photos and writing about Carshalton in the run up to the festival.
I have no idea how long I have been thinking about going to see Derek Jarman’s garden- but it’s probably more than the twenty years since he died. I finally made it last Wednesday; drove from Rye, where we were staying for half term, on a persistently drizzly and grey day, through the marshes and strange flatness of Camber and Lydd. Across the pylon-plotted horizon with the odd caravan park nestling by their giant electric feet. And then without knowing until I saw it, there, a yellow framed, black stained timber building loomed into view through the mist and rain-spattered windscreen of my car.
With the BBC film crew van tucked into the side of the narrow road between the stretch of shingle and few houses, there on the right hand side, the garden. Here are some grey rainy shots of Jarman’s garden as it is now, twenty years after he died. As far as I know the house is owned by someone new but obviously aware and respectful of the legacy, and the garden remains. Below is a short film made by BBC Gardeners’ World in the first few years after Jarman passed on, where his partner is interviewed and talks about the garden, and which includes quotes from Jarman’s book…. now I have to go back when the weather is better in the Spring. Dungeness is magickal and it is easy to understand why he settled there.
On the last day of our latest visit to Berlin we changed trains at U-bahn Westhafen and discovered this visual feast. Artists Françoise Schein and Barbara Reiter re-designed the station in 2000, using the 1948 text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, juxtaposed with quotes from Heinrich Heine in German and French. For more information on the artwork and the project click here.
One more reason to love Berlin.
I enjoyed the Small Stone exercise but have been so busy with other writing and poetry-related activities that it has fallen away to the roadside as I have jogged on, trying to keep up with myself for the last month.
I’m about far enough away from the experience of my last year at university to have the beginnings of some perspective on it. A vague way of saying that I think I have come through the worst of the MFA-dissertation-and-teaching-qualification madness I succumbed to.
The dust is settling after a total of five years of full time higher education and it feels good. For a long time afterwards I was rushing everywhere, panicking about not getting things done on time, until one day, quite recently, I realised I can set my own agenda now. There is, at last, more time for other things apart from writing assignments.
I feel happier than I have done in years.
Apart from that though I have been feverishly filling up that time with writing projects….of course… More about those and other stuff soon.
The Imaginarium, Millenium Square, Brizzol