Walk with Jane on the Cambridge Estate

Ecologist, bat expert and walking artist Alison Fure

Alison Fure is leading a Soundwalk as part of her Walks with Jane project, in conjunction with The Museum of Walking, through the Cambridge Estate in Kingston Upon Thames, this Saturday evening, 7th September, 2019.

From the Museum of Walking website event page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Soundwalk will explore the wildlife and human ecology on this large estate with 230 trees.

We will listen to the web of life from replayed recordings of bird song, talking heads and listen to bats in real time (bat detection equipment provided).

This event is free but booking is essential – Call +44 (0) 7867507086

  • 19.00 start – meeting place will be revealed on booking 
  • Walk with Jane listening to the sounds of a local community
  • 20.00 listen to bats in real time (bat detection equipment provided)
  • 20.30 finish
Me and the Witness Tree, Museum of Futures, 2018. Pic by Madeleine Elliott

I am currently writing elegies / eulogies for the trees on the estate and will be reading these brand new, site specific poems on the night. Please join us…

Hogsmill Tiddlers

Hogsmill Tiddler

At the wooden bridge, beside

the washing-willow,

under frayed dare-devil

rope-swing, we small-fry gather;

splash-paddle in the sun-filled

slipstream, our expectant

jam jars perched ready on banks

for contents of day-glo

Hogsmill Tween

nets on bamboo poles,

skim-dunked, dipped into laughing

sparkle, we seek out elusive

piscine lurkers, shoal-darters,

minnow-school pretty-carpers,

spike-backed silver-bellied

sticklebacks, shimmer and shift

in ever-changing shallow-shadows.

We graft all afternoon, rewarded

by encounters with small wildness,

iridescent scale inspection

Kids at the third bridge, 6 Acre Meadow

through jars held up to the light.

A busy day meeting our fishy friends,

our neighbours of the water;

we send them back before barefoot-flapping,

wet and toasted, up the hill home.

 

Over the Fields poetry map

Hogsmill Tiddlers was originally published as one of the poems on my now sold-out Over the Fields map, back in September 2015. It has since been published in The Countryman magazine and is also used in teaching materials for the Open University’s MA in Creative Writing.

 

 

I have just pinned Hogsmill Tiddlers to another map, showing the location of the poem, on the Places of Poetry web site. This is an AHRC and Arts Council funded project which “aims to use creative writing to prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage

laughing sparke

and personalities of place.”

We still cross the bridge nearly every day on our walks ‘Over the Fields’. Five generations of Furlongs and counting…

Rhythm & Muse : It’s been Ekphrastic

Rhythm and Muse has its final evening of poetry and music tonight, at the Ram Jam club in Kingston Upon Thames. I am very sorry to miss it due to other long-standing plans but I will be thinking of them.

The Grey Horse pub, which the Ram Jam club is part of, is going to be under new ownership from January 2015, so this will be the last regular Rhythm and Muse event for a while. But it won’t be the end of R&M, and there may be festival specials and other goodies to look forward to- the advice is to check the website and facebook for updates.

If you can go tonight I would urge you to do so. Apart from the terrific lineup, including the inimitable LiTTLe MACHiNe, who Carol Ann Duffy declares are ‘The most brilliant music and poetry band I’ve seen in decades’ (see below), there will be plenty of festive cheer. If you are very lucky you may even get to witness the on-the-spot poetry of Nick Poole- once witnessed, never to be forgotten! Most of all, I can guarantee you will have lots of fun.

I found out about Rhythm and Muse while I was a student at Kingston University, and soon went along to experience the delights on offer. I found a dynamic mix of musical acts and excellent poets performing in a small, ram-jam packed venue. I have witnessed some great poetry at R&M, from the likes of Roger McGough, Martin Daws, Mario Petrucci, A F Harrold, Katrina Naomi and many many others – you can see the full list here.

One of the best things about R&M is its enthusiastic and loyal audience, who were also willing to listen to anyone who was brave enough to sign up  for an open mic spot. I’ve read my work many times, and benefitted from the friendly and supportive atmosphere. I took part in the legendary R&M Slam, writing a poem written especially for the occasion, which has become a staple of many of my readings since. The open mic at R&M in particular has been very important in helping me to gain confidence and find my voice as a poet, and I am very grateful for it.

I was at Rhythm and Muse’s night at The Rose Theatre, where I was lucky enough to see John Cooper Clarke, and, afterwards, to see my review of the show published and syndicated through the local press.

R&M’s longstanding relationship with Kingston University has seen them organise creative writing workshops at the Stanley Picker Gallery, of which I am fortunate enough to have attended a couple. One of these bore fruit in the form of a whole R&M night devoted to the poems and writings which were inspired by The Liquid Game, Boudicca’s incredible installation in the gallery, earlier this year.

Kingston Writing School has held events with R&M on campus, and many of my peers who studied creative writing at Kingston University have read their poems at Rhythm and Muse open mic, and students I have taught have carried on the tradition.

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A massive Congratulations to Alison Hill, Alice Thurling, Nick Poole, Judith Watts and everyone who has helped to make Rhythm and Muse such a success and such an important part of the creative life of us local poets and writers. It will be missed. Thank you!

 

 

Re-Visioning KTWN

This morning I attended Our Kingston Our Future, held in a large marquee at the parish chuch in the centre of Kingston Upon Thames. The event which takes place over this weekend is being run by ArtGym in conjunction with Transition Towns Kingston. It is being billed as a re-visioning of Kingston Upon Thames, a chance for two discreet generations of local residents, 19-25 year-olds and the over-55s, to come together and swap stories and experiences about living in Kingston.

These stories will be expressed using the creative arts and the resulting ideas used by Transition Towns Kingston in their future projects. The artworks are to be displayed in Kingston Museum during June and July. A documentary of the event is being made which will also be shown at the museum and the International Youth Arts Festival, taking place in July.

I found out about the event after members of ArtGym came to my university to recruit students to act as ‘creative ambassadors’ on the day, and although I don’t fit either age criteria, they were keen to sign me up as a poet.

I went to the opening workshop which was a great mix of ages, cultures and experiences and had a great time making some 3d art in the ‘river’ zone, with a partner who turned out to be someone I had had email contact with but never met. A nice bit of serendipity! I then enjoyed translating people’s experiences and stories about Kingston in the ‘forest’ zone.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the event and some great art work was produced in a short space of time. There was a lovely atmosphere, and even a spot of spontaneous dancing at the end of the workshop! I wish I could see the marquee at the end of tomorrow- I am sure there will be a material wealth of art to show for the stories and hopes people have of Kingston. And it is a big, green, postive vibe in the middle of town. Great to see in a place which is nowadays known mainly for shopping but which has a long heritage and some hidden gems.

At the end of the workshop I read two of my poems (see below) which were well received. I wasn’t completely sure what role I was supposed to play during the event, part attender part creative artist I think (?) but hope I helped in some way. I really enjoyed it and, although nervous,  felt pleased with my reading of the poems. I took notes while I was there, and along with the historical research I’ve been doing, and my own experiences, I think I will write more ‘Kingston’ poems.

Sense of place is becoming an important, possibly the most important part of my poetry.

Three fish

Shop and shop until you drop in Kingston

STOP

Past and present are on the hook: future

LOOK

Three fat chubb glistening in the Hogsmill

LISTEN

How stories shape and link us to a place

THINK

Chubb at Clattern Bridge

Three fish silent and steady in the flow

Three fish at a crossing in the river

In sight of the Kings Stone

Both ancient and  grey

The deep past is still here in Kingston