Saturday, 11 September 2010

The PhD is finally, and successfully, finished and so I am now meandering into the unknown scrublands of Doctorhood.
On Thursday of this week, I took up a post as poet-in-residence in Exeter University's Geography Department on the Falmouth Campus in Cornwall. Excitement abounds: the residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is for one academic year and already small poetic interventions have begun to appear in the corridors of academia.
To be in the position of being able to increase the visibility and audibility of poetry is fantastic - the world is richer, more diverse, often more difficult than we like to believe and an ambient and direct installation of poetry into our living and working environments reminds us of this.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Due to the submarine-like nature of working on a PhD, my blog writings have been sparse if not wholly absent. I am now, however, surfacing and working away on ideas for the next stone with the grand and insightful assistance of Karen Christopher.
Although I am in the process of researching the fourth stone's location, I wanted to write up a little note that I just found in a journal that I was keeping in February of this year when I was staying in London. I wrote:
"Sometimes it takes more courage to not know than to know prematurely. Remaining with the not knowing is uncomfortable, difficult: it suggests a failure or an inability. Truthfully though, at this point I simply do not know what to do next."
I wonder if our ability to sit with failure mightn't be a more successful strategy than continually grinding forth mantras about the need to succeed or how we deserve to succeed. An inability to act might, on numerous occasions, induce a greater degree of reflection and a more realistic appraisal of things to come. Also, it introduces us to our great capacity for human fallibility and this is necessary and a significant part of what we consider to be intelligence.
Just think of what's happening in the Deepwater Horizon oil well at the moment -
the push to progress, to make something happen - or 'drill, baby, drill' in this instance - now reveals a remarkable lack of foresight as to what the difficulties of drilling in deep water might be.
And so, I have been with my uncomfortable not knowing for quite some time now - and it has indeed been uncomfortable and at one point even led me to consider giving back the funding I had received from the Arts Council.
Things are now moving in a more definite direction however - and there will be news of this very soon!
Happy Solstice to anyone who might still read this most infrequent of blogs....X

Sunday, 21 February 2010

I've just read the most fantastic article on stones by Anthony Doerr - it was published in Orion magazine and can be read online. It's really worth checking out as it says so much about the relationship between people and stones and how they are going to be around for so much longer than us.

Meanwhile, I'm still pondering the next stone but I'm glad to report that I'm going to see Alec Peever, the stone carver, in April and we're going to discuss the shape and substance and design of migrating stone number four. It's curious with this one - i have a clear idea of what I want it to look like, but as yet do not have a clear idea of where it needs to go.

So, for now all I can do is stay open and trust that the answer to this dilemma will arrive in its own good time.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

February 10th, 2010

Good news. The Arts Council of England have awarded me a grant so that I can make a fourth migrating stone - this comes as an enormous relief and brings with it a sense of trepidation. Where to take the fourth stone - this is the main question that is occupying me at the moment. I have an idea of what I want it to look like and even the stone that it will be made from - but it's destination is as yet unclear. Although, it is curious to note that two people have suggested I take it to the birth place of Aphrodite - Pahpos - on Cyprus. As three is my favourite number I figured I might wait a little while longer just to see if a third person comes along and suggests this location as well. Various other places have also been suggested - Iona and Iceland being the most popular.

So, if you have any thoughts about where the fourth stone should go then please get in touch and let me know.

Meanwhile, I'm excited to be embarking upon the next stage of this project. There's something quite different about being involved with a piece of work that is long-term: and the migrating stones project is now coming into its ninth year. Sustaining the work is an issue, but there is something distinctly subtle and rather delicious about working slowly with an idea, there is a process of unfoldment that does not adhere to any externally imposed order or time-scale. I rather like this. The work unfolds when it is ready to do so. Of course, from time to time I try to rush it because I am blessed with a great degree of impatience - but to little effect. In the end I acquiesce to the pace of the stone and together we slowly make our migration.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Greetings - to anyone out there who might still be checking in with this woefully neglected blog.

Things are changing. To be more precise, the migrating stones project is changing. I have just heard that the beloved Arts Council has said and almighty YES to funding the next migrating stone.

Given that I am in post swine-flu recovery, the strength of my response to this news cannot, and is not, going un-noted. I am, quite simply, delighted. Happy. Excited. Already my mind is buzzing with new ideas and thoughts about how to proceed and I'm in that 'i can't wait' to get on with the research and play involved in developing the project further.

So, it's interesting to note what a Yes can achieve: my self esteem seems to have leapt a few inches higher today and the prospect of money has set the synapses firing. Given that I'm a fairly impoverished (financially at least) poet who ventures forth irrespective of pecuniary reward for the most part, I cannot deny the relief involved in knowing that money - lovely money - is going to enable me to eat, pay bills and commission the next stage of the work. Body, mind and soul are more than delighted to receive financial recompense for work about to be performed.

So, watch this re-enlivened space - ask questions if you have any - and let's see how things develop. I've got a funny feeling that stone number four is going to need to help of a lot of people in order for its journey to come to fruition.....

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

13th October, 2009

Greetings dear friends,

this is just to let you know that if you missed the programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning about my migrating stones project, then you can either listen again on the bbc i-player or tune in on Wednesday 14th October at 9 p.m.

There will soon be movement with regard to the next and fourth migrating stone and as soon as this movement achieves verbalisation then i'll be blogging about it!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

At last there is movement.
After a long interval, the journey of the migrating stones continues.
This time, it is in the form of a programme that will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on October 13th at 11 a.m.
The programme, Nature: Migrating Stones, is an audio diary that I made when taking stone number three to Australia last year.
This curious project evolves slowly, unexpectedly, consistently.
I am currently applying for funding for the fourth stone.
I will keep you posted about plans for the future......