This year and last year I was lucky enough to be writer-in-residence for the Watershed Landscape Project, which involved me being inspired by the South Pennine Watershed Landscape. I’m currently pulling together a book of the different work generated during engagement days and I’ve wrote this as a part of my introduction.
To me poetry is a propensity towards the unattainable, the movement towards something rather than the something itself. We have metaphor and similie and imagery because we oscillate around the thing rather than every fully possessing it. We can’t ever capture landscape in its entirety, it is too vast, geographically, geologically, and so we create glimpses and parts and specifics; we grasp small sections In order to better understand the whole. Landscape poetry, as with all poetry, is never the real thing; it is the fragment through which we come to contemplate the immense size of the whole; landscape poetry is an attempt, always unfulfilled, to capture everything. There is always the lack, we always oscillate around our inability to get to where we really need to be, to possess what we desire; poetry becomes an attempt to anchor ourselves, to put some order, some tangible structure, on the open democracy of the wild landscape. It is the way of things; we can’t have the whole; we can allude to what it might be, what it might mean, through its different parts. Poetry becomes the temporary shelter we build, perhaps to feel safe, perhaps to rest on the journey towards the thing, perhaps to simply stay in and say this, this is enough.