Monthly Archives: August 2014

poets in arms

auld enemies 1They came, they shared, they went…

Let’s re-phrase.

They came, they spoke, we shared, they went… We are now connected.

Visiting poets on our home turf – Mareel, Lerwick, Shetland for a few hours – met with familiar faces, thanks to Shetland Art’s Literature Development Officer, Donald Anderson. On a particular trail, that of “Auld Enemies“, the brainchild of Steven J Fowler and Ryan Van Winkle, who notably brought along Colin Herd and Ross Sutherland in the Green Room where a few dared to step for an hour of poetry. Their six date tour around Scotland – taking in Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Lerwick, and Kirkwall – concluded in London.

So we, the featured Shetland poets, L.J. Friedlander, D.S. Murray, J.A, Sinclair and I, joined our visiting poets in some battles of the spoken word before we ceased fire, chatted and smiled. Unique, electric, unusual & memorable event which enabled us to share in a different format, and, for James & I to actually write together for the first time since we have been united by literature. My thanks go to Steven and Ryan for providing such an opportunity. With very best wishes for the upcoming Auld Enemies – Ireland!!! 🙂

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Auld Enemies, Shetland 2014 - Photo courtesy of Steven J Fowler

Auld Enemies, Shetland 2014 – Photo courtesy of Steven J Fowler

What a trek! Before they came to us, they had pit-stopped in Aberdeen, where they blended with other familiar faces & voices, including those of Catriona McLeod and Haworth Hodgkinson – then they stayed a couple of days, to ensure Mr Melville was okay again – and then they joined in other familiar faces in Kirkwall, notably including Pam Beasant.

My thanks go to Steven and Ryan for providing such an opportunity, as well as to Donald Anderson & Shetland Arts for making it happen on our latitude.

With very best wishes for the upcoming Yes But Are We Enemies? -an Irish Enemies Project

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jardin secret

A woman’s world is her own heart. From the roadside, nothing is visible.

So many times – in between Central and Sandsayre – have I driven & walked past those high walls without notice… Yet in summer, there is a sign, that womans worldreads “Open to the public”. One has to stop and dare to step through the high wooden doors. The creator of this secret Eden on 60N has shimmering eyes and she answers to the forename Margaret. Her heart beats as she leads you through to her secret garden. Very soon you forget you are actually on an island battered by gales, storms or other relentless winds from August to May! All is so secretly guarded by tall fences of all kinds – rock, panels or palettes. Every thing will do in order to grow her world’s plant kingdom… And I heard some trekked as far as from South Africa.

Her welcome is unparalleled. Her verve is insatiable. She speaks of her passion for her vegetal realm you feel enchanted in your heart. It feels you are surrounded by angels 🙂

Some forty years have been necessary to reach this stage of growth. Margaret does not count, even though she is bound to the planet’s own agenda and seasonal calendar – Mother Earth’s own rhythms. Hospitalisation even does not deter our intrepid gardener – she is a survivor who lives for her own world, with her husband & cats. A grand tour of the place is necessary to enjoy the full extent of this woman’s work.

And if you are invited to make a small donation, as a tn’s marked, you will only show your own appreciation of a gardener’s sheer passion in the face of such Nordic latitude. And yet, so possible.

Away from salt and wind, amazing gardens emerge from the roughest of soils and elements. It is a joy & sheer pleasure to step inside!

angelheart of the greenpathwaysinto the bluegardener's homei am in the garden

 

 

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Vikings Ahoy ! The Nine Realms Is A-coming

The forthcoming collaborative project within the ArtiPeeps’ realm, curated by Nicky Mortlock – really looking forward to this poetic challenge 🙂

ArtiPeeps

Vikings

In preparation for our new large-scale collaboration ‘The Nine Realms’  inspired by the Norse Sagas starting this October,  I’ve pulled together this post- a basic overview of the history, myth and culture of The Vikings. I’ve done this to put what we will be  doing in the Autumn into a broad context for the Viking participants involved and anyone else who is interested.

FYI. In this collaboration 40 poets, artists, musicians and sculptors will be working together over 9 months responding to the nine realms through contemporary eyes.

 

An Overview of The Vikings

Between the 8th to mid 11th centuries Vikings transformed Europe. Iceland created the foundation of Russia, Norwegian settlers founded Icelandic cities and in Constantinople Swedes provided military support to the Byzantine emperor. As the Vikings traveled they spread their culture, stories, beliefs and myths along with them.

 The Vikings were seafaring people, and the actual word…

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summertime 2014

wildest of blue

wildest of blue

Blue diva, window into deepest of blue, where colours blend on a palette, inside our many lush meadows… And yet it melts like an ice cream! What has happened to the magic of Simmer Dim, those luminous hours where night hides for our sun? July so packed with adventures, I never saw August arrive…

ADVENTURES, ADVENTURES!

I love the magic of my islands – from waterline to highest rock that shoots off the North Sea.

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Take a short time to cross a sound and find yourself on a uninhibited isle… How many times does this happen? I love that rock east of my home township – an escapade where only flowers and birds count.  A seal waits at the East Ham and will follow you all around, whilst terns remind you of their seasonal urge to survive and fare a chick for a short time… We are intruders after all…

Sitting in the sand and watch migration taking place at waterline level, with a gang of young sanderlings – those magical waders that behave like mechanical toys inside surf! That’s when time stops. Or simply walk around our cliffs to meet with our dear parrots of the sea, our breeding Atlantic puffins just yards away from each other 🙂

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On a fine Sunday afternoon, stepped on a boat to marvel at other living treasures. So was the case around the isles of Bressay and Noss, just east of Lerwick, where thousands of seabirds – skuas, fulmars, puffins and gannets – gave us a show of a lifetime. Better than a Nature TV programme, as we felt utterly immersed into a world that surrounds us, yet as we lock ourselves inside bubbles, we tend to forget a very simple fact: we are part of this, not mere (TV) spectators! Birds everywhere – above our heads, all around us, on the water… Our boat’s adrift, just like our minds. It is breathtaking and somewhat overwhelming.

Also, We immersed a submarine camera to explore the other side of the big blue – the one that feels so unattainable, since we have lungs instead of gills.

Yes, this invisible universe, complete with wonderful forests, where sea squirts flirt with a star fish or gorgeous coral – where seals vanish around mysterious caves, homes of darkness to a terrien… Anemones look the sea version of bog cotton grass in the wind. We are safely watching the world.

We certainly live on an amazing planet, and it is there, on our doorstep 🙂

Gannet City!

Gannet City!

birds everywhere

birds everywhere

amazing planet

amazing planet

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Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, birds, boats, celebration, colours, festival, geopoetics, home, island, north, poetry, shetland, shore, simmerdim, spirit, writing

We’re Funded! (ArtiPeeps Update)

From Project Curator Nicky Mortlock – hot off the press 🙂

ArtiPeeps

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I haven’t put out an ArtiPeeps Update for a while because I’ve been immersed in all things Transformations. However, I received very good news this week that the grant bid I put in to The Arts Council, England has been successful and because of that too we now have match funding from Norfolk County Council who are helping towards the costs of the hire Hanse House.

So I am honoured to say that we are now funded by:

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and supported by:

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The fact we have secured this support is a real testament to the talents of all those involved: The Transformers and The Code Crimson and the quality of their work. They have all contributed to the success of this application. The Arts Council grant is also particularly significant as it is public money. I don’t take this fact lightly.

I am also thrilled because it means that the…

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