In May last year (2022) I was awarded a tender by the QLPS (the Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme) to bring together poets/writers who are interested in developing their Quantock-inspired writings and poetry through working with me and other poets/writers/artists to co-create a digital poetry trail across the Quantock Hills of Somerset (and adjoining areas). Involvement is open ‘to poets/writers/artists (or would-be poets/writers/artists) who either live in and around the Quantocks, or those from further afield who have a strong connection to the Quantocks’
The concept is that all of us joined by a shared love of the Quantocks would go for walks together, or alone, or in whatever combination, taking inspiration from the landscape itself: its histories – social, natural; its wide-open vistas; its close-enclosed combes; its associations with the Romantic poets, indeed, the very concept of ‘landscape’ itself. These physical (metaphysical? spiritual?) peregrinations then result in poetry and lyrical prose which we develop throughout the year (June 2022 to June 2023) through a process of sharing, workshopping etc (whatever works best).
The culmination of the project is that our Quantock-related works will all be given an online presence in writing and/or audio (the possibility of print versions will also be considered), and, excitingly, that, using the wonders of modern technology, curated works created out of this process (of walking, being inspired by sublime nature, writing and recording works) will be embedded – as audio – INTO the Quantock landscape, discoverable by the smartphone: residents, visitors and walkers will be able to walk or go to the Quantocks (and adjoining areas such as Watchet) and discover pools of audio, then tune in to the content of those pools – poems and literary prose – specifically created by members of the group for that exact location!
What is ‘located audio’ and how does it make the landscape sing? You walk WITHIN the poetry!
The projects has now (as of 7 Feb 2023) been running for around 8 months and a wide and varied group of writers, poets and artists have signed up. We’ve been on walks all over the Quantocks together – bravo to the group is all I can say, with 10 or 12 people regularly turning up even in some pretty adverse weather conditions! – and shared and discussed our poetry after the walks wherever we could find somewhere warm to do so (usually a pub, yes). We’ve kept in touch and developed work online, too, mainly on a shared private blog and on WhatsApp.
Currently we are at the stage where we are going to sit down together for an intensive session to look at the ‘poetry clusters’. Rather than a linear walk, people will be able to choose ‘a poetry cluster’ and do a circular walk within that cluster – this makes the experience uniquely flexible: if, for example, a short poetry walk with the kids is indicated, people will be able to choose that particular cluster; on the other hand, if a ‘Quantock summit-bagging experience is desired, why, pick the ‘High Tops of the Quantocks’ cluster!
Close-up of of one possible ‘easy’ cluster:
Just a possibility: ‘find the poem’?
click here ffi and for how to GET INVOLVED!