In a week’s time, I’ll be escaping to the north-west coast for a much-needed break in the shape of a two-day residential poetry course on a sea theme, run by Kim Moore and Jennifer Copley. And there’s scenery, writing and reading time to look forward to, on the train journey, too. I can hardly wait!
Sea poems have been seeking me out for a while now, beginning with a piece of free writing that came out of nowhere on a flight to Barcelona last October. Perhaps it had something to do with being away from land-locked Leicestershire, or the prospect of a week’s cruise, or flying over the sea – I’ll never know. Anyway, I’m looking forward to developing these works in progress and to writing new poems sparked by the series of intriguing workshops that Kim and Jennifer have planned for us.
On the reading front, I’ve been revisiting old favourites and reading other sea poems for the first time.
This W H Auden poem I’ve loved since my A Level days:
Look, stranger, on this island now
The leaping light for your delight discovers,
Stand stable here
And silent be,
That through the channels of the ear
May wander like a river
The swaying sound of the sea.
Here at a small field’s ending pause
Where the chalk wall falls to the foam and its tall ledges
Oppose the pluck
And knock of the tide,
And the shingle scrambles after the suck-
-ing surf, and a gull lodges
A moment on its sheer side.
Far off like floating seeds the ships
Diverge on urgent voluntary errands,
And this full view
Indeed may enter
And move in memory as now these clouds do,
That pass the harbour mirror
And all the summer through the water saunter.
Listen to Auden’s reading here (such mastery of sounds).
Richie McAffery’s Flotsam is a wonderful piece of poetry-show-not-tell I loved at first reading on The Poetry Kit’s feature poet series Caught in the Net.
Then I happened upon a beautiful collaboration of art and poetry, Estuary, which I discovered on Michelle McGrane’s Peony Moon. (Click here for a link to her blog post, or here to preview pages from the book).
John C Nash’s hauntingly beautiful Last Post: Holkham Beach, with accompanying photograph by Samantha Webster, appears on Helen Ivory’s poetry and prose webzine, Ink, Sweat & Tears. (Read it here).
And I could go on, but this blog post may already be over-long. If you have any suggestions for my further reading, do write titles, links, etc in the comments box below.
Looking forward to hearing from you.