Category Archives: kenneth

Have you read… Stravaig#1?

Stravaig Issue 1


Filed under 2012, celebration, earth, geopoetics, kenneth, poets, shore, Uncategorized, white, writing

Stravaig is out!

Geopoetics in motion

Feel free to click. The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, led by Scottish poet & essayist Norman Bissell, released Stravaig online. Issue 1 has found freedom inside the cyberworld and its content is exciting! Friends, poets, writers, essayists, artists, photographers, designers and filmakers creatively mapped, chartered inside one world. It’s… Exciting! There is a place for everyone who practises the discipline of intellectual nomadism. 

I still remember a friend who once asked me, “what is Geopoetics?” My poetic heart & mind attempted to describe something like “the natural art of opening to a world, finding our place within it and celebrating our connection with this very world within the realms of every rock, mountain and shore… This natural, real world, in which every rock, shell, sandgrain, snowflake, birdsong, flower counts. Not somebody’s delusional mind – but the very cross-disciplinary movement to this world in which our human intelligence interacts. The widening of our knowledge to cross-cultural bonds, just like the crossing of continents via the ancient (now submerged) land bridges… Kenneth White speaks of walking away from those motorways of western civilisations in which too many generations of our ancestors met a dead-end by keeping their scope on one-way roads. Geopoetics offers freedom to wander whilst embracing a world intelligence, the human spirit and creative genius, irrespective of civilisation. This international movement has found many adepts over time, and The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics belongs to this Archipelago of current, practising intellectual nomads for our region (and beyond), which remains, White’s native homeground

Stravaig, this wonderful Scot word meaning stroll, wander, will cross your way, I hope. 

Place, culture, world,  in the words of Kenneth White.


Filed under 2012, 60N, celebration, geopoetics, home, images, kenneth, poets, project, spirit, verse, white, world, writing


Changement de pavillon linguistique

Le nomadisme ne connaît pas de frontière!
Cela me chatouillait depuis quelque temps… A bon traducteur Google, salut!
C’est en surfant sur le blog copain québéquois de La Taversée que je me suis dit,

“Eh bien quoi, pourquoi pas un petit détour géopoétique SPECIAL FRANCOPHONE POUR UNE FOIS?” Après tout, cela ne fait de mal à personne!
Que mes lecteurs se délectent dans une langue qui fait le bonheur des deux côtés de l’Atlantique Nord 🙂 

Pour toutes celles et tous ceux qui ne connaissent pas cet atelier de géopoétique, allez donc surfer sur le lien suivant (que vous trouverez également sur le côté droit du blog sous l’inscription: “Constellations”)

Benoît, Victoria et les amis de La Traversée, bonjour du milieu de l’Atlantique!

Mr Kenneth White ne cesse d’agrandir son archipel et regarder le monde à partir d’une île se révèle à la fois fort agréable et aventureux, puisque la longue vue vous permet, à partir d’une péninsule, la vision hyper-grand angle… Une longue vue, voire un télescope! Quel bonheur de se trouver balayé(e) par les vents, maquillé(e) par les embruns tout en se disant que, de toute façon, mieux vaut les odeurs d’iode et de kelp pourri que celles des abattoirs ou des longues queues aux embouchures d’autoroutes… Ha-ha, la vie d’insulaire sur cette latitude a le goût de sel! 

Chers amis du Canada, et du monde francophone,
je vous suis sur vos blogs respectifs, et j’aime vous lire quelque soit la langue choisie.
Ce mode d’expression reflette assez bien l’esprit de Kenneth White, qui se plaît à converser oralement ou à l’écrit dans ces deux langues, que je considère “jumelles”.

A bon voyageur, salut, et bonne traversée!

Hissez haut, hissez haut!

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Filed under 2011, 60N, atlantic, Canada, celebration, geopoetics, home, island, kenneth, north, shetland, shore, white, writing


finding our place

Geopoetics, intellectual nomadism, metasaga…

When selecting my training courses for my October two-day In-Service Training last September, I came across one that immediately spoke to my heart. Its description read fascinating – its title said it all. Metasaga.
My new term began with a bang, as I met with a very inspiring course leader and group whilst on a on that particular course at school. Firstly, I was a little astonished to find the course under-subscribed… However, I felt far less surprised to find two of my fellow local poets/artists among our group, Fair Isle based Lise Sinclair and Hebridean bard & writer, Donald S. Murray, who teaches English in Sandwick. As a matter of fact, all participants were involved in the Arts at educational level. 

Wunjo, rune of joy, light

A token of somebody’s loveFriendship engraved on a stone, which finds its place around my neck. I made sure I would not forget it on my journey through autumn term. Metasaga is a compound word formed out of two words, meta, from metaphor and saga, from our neighbouring nordic friends. Storytelling is very much interwoven in the history & cultural heritage.  As soon as our course leader began to explain what we were to undertake, my geopoetical heart began to sing deep inside!
Uyesound School headteacher Kate Coutts spoke very much like Kenneth White, father of Geopoetics, the albatross and intellectuial nomadism; she aims to help us  find our place in the world around us by taking us on an inner journey.

Metasaga does not answer questions – it enables each journeyman to ask much deeper questions about him/herself in this world through culture, heritage and physical landscape.. 

Needless to say we did not stay very long in the classroom, for some adventure was waiting for us! Re-starting school in late October in not so clement weather conditions, I would have been surprised to spend an afternoon at Ninian Sands or even more nearby beach…Instead, we found ourselves meandering in and around our local museum and archives in Lerwick. Perfect! The museum houses everything we needed to undertake this shared inner journey. We each  picked a spot, an object, a moment. Delight. We thought of themes, values, packaged the lot in some educational and/or more personal context… Dressed it with questions, pictures. We used our creativity, poetics, to make it happen and found joy in creating our group metasaga. 

Result: two fabulous days. Geopoetics, metasaga in the making. Please click! Shetland Metasaga

What a formidable tool to respond to individuals, young or slightly older to find themselves. Although Kate re-iterarted this was in no way a new concept, she nonetheless packaged it with grace to notably meet the needs of all, including those of our Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. 
Next step? To introduce colleagues and pupils at my school and start sharing all its benefits! It has started. Our world is in motion.

Kenneth White will smile again. We, the intellectual nomads, have an additional way to find our place in the world. 

Metasaga belongs to us.

Please click on this link Metasaga Home


Filed under 60N, celebration, earth, geopoetics, home, kenneth, metasaga, museum, north, poets, project, shetland, white

Always back to the shore…

saturday dusk treasures

I love my island at sunset.

Fire reverberates on each sandgrain; sandstones find pleasure on washed kelp… Feathers and stones always write stories in that earth tongue one does not always understand.

 As feet find their roots in wet sand, I become one with Arcania.

There, on my way to daily walk by the shore, I kept in mind the text I read earlier that day, which I received from our curach skipper Macdougall. To my humble nomadic heart, it resonated like a message in a bottle. It speaks of continental inscriptions: geographaphs, chronographs, phonographs and paragraphs. It notably took me back to Gulliver, Friday and Robinson Crusoe

 Hernan Diaz
This bridge of sand allows such trek. From mainland to island – just as Kenneth White runs away from motorways of western civilisations! My sandbrige provides the shoormal – this critical edge as Diaz calls it; rite of passage to my topical paradise, where north Atlantic protects its natural causeway at high tides, like some self-defence mechanism… Others can look from the distance or wander through without knowing…
It’s big enough to sustain all kinds of assaults, pulls of the moon and man-made signatures.  The water acts as a rubber and deletes traces from one’s feet. 

Earlier this year, I painted it with pixels. This blog entry was entitled Snapshots from Arcania     …A summer before that, I painted it with words.                                    


Filed under 60N, Arcania, atlantic, celebration, colours, Diaz, earth, geopoetics, Hernan, kenneth, white, world, writing

fractured bearings

when that poem sounds like an anthem

Strange feelings have filled my heart since yesterday. 
In the light of the spoon-fed world, I was saddened by the news of Scotland’s greatest poet the 20th century has ever met. Mr Morgan has inhabited my creative star ever since I collided with that visionary rendez-vous. 

Native American wisdom reminds us all there is no death – only a change of world

Very well. Let’s celebrate the poetics of such great man. Instinctively, I read it out to a close friend as a remedy to poison. His spoken world is alive forever. The only link I need to add is my favourite space poem of his… offcourse
Such moment of glory resonates forever. Unlike any rock or metal, it will neither erode or corrode… However exposed to the sea.

in-between Glasgow and Sandwick

But then, in the midst of that unforeseen eclipse, new constellations merge in innerspace… No collision. Funny enough, I was conversing with Norrie via FB when kindred spirits met in the rain, there on tarmac of some carpark before they decided to celebrate their connection over a pint… Friday night belongs to poets who paint one world and share visions. Tonight, Kenneth White on our lips, as we celebrated the poetics of our respective shores.That talented photographer from Glasgow can be found here: Ruth ‘s constellation
How grateful to Alistair Cook I feel tonight! Kindred spirits really shine and find their way through the ever expanding world we call cosmos.
Now let us re-count shooting stars 😉


Filed under colours, edwin, geopoetics, home, kenneth, life, morgan, offcourse, poets, roots, shore, spirit, white, world, writing

waxing crescent

well spent day
I am beginning to wind down. Outside, the Moon is waxing once again… The night is crisp and beautiful. Wir “Shetland hut” is tidy again… Have lit candles for my angels on either world and asked Uriel to appease that Icelandic ring of fire, poisoning of water sources for the sake of all Icelanders.
 My little African sister is stranded somewhere in France… She among thousands of others, caught in the power of earth dust that grinds jet engines to a halt.  What angers me is the fact the media highlight the event – they seem to focus on airlines’ daily losses instead of folk’s daily challenge. And so little on the people directly hit… There’s something “wrong with the system”. What if the eruption lasted a month or a year? Would it signal the end of the artificial world, as bankers, shareholders and politicians know it?
From the window on this outpost
The world looks and tastes so different. Every single rock’s a diamond – every beam of light, a blessing. Today the sky belonged to birds, flies, bumblebees, instead of helicopters and FlyB. And we have boats  to move about… Humanity is resilient. In the face of “natural disasters”,  we do believe in miracles.
Mind you, earthly hiccups only become disasters when certain mankind’s (profit’s) affected… It’s a matter of semantics. …What with those Icelandic bankers?
Look at the light, all the time it’s a changing
Look at the light, climbing up the aerial
Bright, white coming alive jumping off the aerial
All the time it’s a changing, like now…
All the time it’s a changing, like then again…
All the time it’s a changing
And all the dreamers are waking.
That last verse from Kate’s track entitled Nocturn resonates deeply in my heart. It reads and sounds like a wake-up call… I think Kenneth White would love Kate’s world, for both celebrate it in their respective way.
Let’s now play back the Waterboys!
There’s so much more than that  wonder hit about the moon. Mr Scott’s a troubadour with heart and feet firmly anchored in the beauty of our dear world. 

What is between the star and the sea? …What is between the bird and me? 
Only a star, only the sea”
And finish off with Björk herself.
Earth Intruders, Wanderlust… And will refer you to one place.
That’s when geopoetics speaks so loud 😉


Filed under 60N, Arcania, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, kenneth, life, white

Writing when travelling

Pondering on the notions of errance and feeling at one with the world in what I might define as “odd” places, (i.e. in airport terminals when in transit between two shores), I recall an experience of pure intellectual vagabondage when, grounded at Aberdeen Airport due to seafog, I sat at a table in a sea of travellers and, in defiance to frustration, I picked my pen & jotter. Time stopped; people’s voices turned into a summer breeze. Oblivious to the cascade of flight cancellations, I held tight to those sails of imagination, which transported me to the vastness of the Sahara, sea of sand. …Scotsmen became Touaregs – this temporary prison, a desert & seafog, a sandstorm.
Once back home on 60N, I immediately e-mailed the piece of verse to Lissa in Australia, who, with David, turned it into a song entitled Parallels.

Here is the original piece.
The Hunch
King of senses,
like desert song –
trick of the heart we sometimes sketch,
like an omen or a white wish;
our will to look beyond glazed now,
we had felt it deep inside us.
When one world sleeps, its brother wakes –
we hang our dreams to parallels,
like little red flags to the wind,
hoisted so high above sandstorms.
Indigo skin on highest dune,
we drink fire among nomads,
earth travellers, desert roses,
as whirlpool eyes turn to the sun.
There, in the heart of our nowhere,
babblers gather after sunset
to blend their song into stardust –
we sit and play with our own drums…
Shadows pour tea behind the veil,
we never knew this would happen –
d of the dream, h of the hunch,
our sundial can’t really lie.
(Nat, Aberdeen, 29 July 2008)
P.S: If you ever fancy travelling to the Northern Isles during summertime, I strongly recommend arriving to our shores by sea. Air links may be convenient but travellers need to accept patience in the face of the fog! Besides, sailing remains the voie royale for the true adventurer, treasure island style!


Filed under earth, geopoetics, kenneth, life, north, poet, verse, white

adrift in the world… at home down to earth

 Listening carefully to Kenneth White’s interviews on the links below is like collecting stones we find on our way during our life journey.
So many rocks across the world… 

Adrift and yet attached to a tongue of sand, we feel the connection with one shared place, primal source of being and living, eyes wide open to earth movements.
It is a time of letting loose our senses, not only sight but hearing, smelling and touching… Then we can start and collect earth songs, moments, emotions, just like pebbles or various shells. 
It feels just like a “communion” with our inner self; harmony within our world and universe. It is not trivial at all as an exercise, it just feels natural.

And then we drift away from the shore and realise we find erratics on our way, much bigger stones, like left alone by a mother who’s had enough… Hmmm, in ancient times, folk imagined trolls and giants playing with them – massive boulder throwing contests. Folklore was woven this way and still feels very much part of local culture(s). So much have they been locked up in that bubble called superstition. 

Today we’re at crossroads. Freed from dogmas and ignorance, we have a much better understanding of our world and yet we are led in living in another type of bubble – what I once described as the artificial world in a previous blog entry (“Captain Nemo’s Still My Hero”). If we allow ourselves to drift again, we may opt for a more challenging life and find ourselves as erratics… But then again, what businessmen or politicians consider non-profitable remains priceless to the intellectual nomad: being, breathing and feeling in harmony with Mother Earth. 

So much industrial, economic and  technological progress has been achieved the vast majority of folk now live behind artificial walls, disconnected from their inner spirit and that of their surroundings. Some attempt to re-create a microcosm of wildlerness within the boundaries of an urban garden (and yes, I once did this as well!) though very few of us dare to tear down the wall and venture to a brand new shore. We have to work hard to find our place within a strange community; adapt our ways, customs & form of speech and make ourselves acceptableWhatever size of that community, It’s very daunting; it sometimes feels like sailing against the wind… Yet what better way to enrich ourselves as human beings – embracing more than one culture makes one feel so much more complete. Ha! A radical change towards material wealth rekindles the way we value life on Earth.
Kenneth White speaks of rocks he’s collected along the many paths he’s  walked on the planet and defines himself as materialistic owning them. To him, they feel like gem stones.
I adhere to this philosophy, I too collect stones on the way. What is financial wealth when man starves himself of simple down to earth pleasures?

And will leave you with a short piece on this rocky topic & with Kenneth White’s recordings.

The Erratics
Don’t ask boulders what they’re thinking,
watching the world from the roadside –
they’re just like us,
antisocial, lone, unwanted,
grey as graphite among heathrush;
bare to gales, grief, gulls & guano,
scatterlings ditched by accident…
plugged and bulldozed against their will
by ice that thawed, deserted them
on a waste hill –
like a mother who stopped to cope,
ran out of steam,
displaced her load in random fields,
fossilised tears in the matrix.

Take a close look.

Ignorance ignites derision,
we’re not lepers or heretics –
just out of place,
driven by dreams, running away from erosion.
            Our bedrock’s full of erratics,
                        dead on moraines, sick, terminal.

 © Nat Hall

Note on the two video links: The father of geopoetics is a true francophone and francophile, a European intellectual nomad!


Filed under geopoetics, kenneth, shore, white, world

…And talking of "white world"

…Or the snowball effect.
Social networks are fantastic. Not only do we keep in touch with “friends” but make new ones. Hence networking allows the nomadic spirit to explore brand new trails.
As 2009 draws to an end, I am now fully connected with the world of Kenneth White, as introduced to Geopoetics by fellow island poet, essayist & friend Norman Bissell.
The more I delve in this concept, the more it speaks to me (either in English or in French!).
So I am looking forward to contributing to the Forums from Geopoetics’ Scottish Centre and “walk the shore”. Funny enough, Norrie confessed I was to become its most northerly member… Meanwhile, am devouring Grounding a World as my freshest substantifique moelle.


Filed under geopoetics, island, kenneth, life, white, world