A few weeks ago I had the good fortune of going on a walk with Jonathan Skinner, professor of eco poetry at Warwick University. Jonathan also happens to be a friend of Cecilia Vicuña’s which is another project I am working on #ThreadandWord.
Jonathan took me on a walk in the bluebell woods on the campus and shared some of the handouts he uses with his MA students.One of the entries was a quote from a Larry Eigner poem :
“ a poem can be like walking down a street and noticing things, extending itself without obscurity or too much effort”
On Jonathan’s handout this quote appears under the heading, WALKING.
I have been spending some of my time considering this line and researching Larry Eigner and the Black Mountain Poets who were associated with the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina. These poets, including Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and Robert Duncan, promoted a nontraditional poetics described by Olson in 1950 as “projective verse.”
Printed below is shadows, birds, by Larry Eigner.
s h a d o w s , b i r d s,
in the wind’s web
before what minutes, exposition
stony light turned
the vague soon again
what change in the parts
© 1968, Larry Eigner, courtesy of the Eigner Estate
From: Poetry, Vol. 111, No. 6, March, 1968
Olson advocated an improvisational, open-form approach to poetic composition, driven by the natural patterns of breath and utterance. Born with cerebral palsy, Eigner made use of a wheelchair throughout his life, he is associated with the Black Mountain Poets.
This week the Walking with The Waste Land group had their May walk in collaboration with the Garden Gate community in Margate.For more about this walk,A walk in May with The Garden Gate
I had the good fortune to spend some time walking with Charlotte. Breath is one of the things we were speaking about during our walk. Charlotte explained to me that she has cerebral palsy, she had walked from Broadstairs to the Garden Gate to join us for the walk. Charlotte also explained that she finds walking calming. We spoke about Larry Eigner and it has led us both on a wonderful trail of discovery.
We hope to make some poetry with the group on our next walk on June 8th, meeting at the Garden Gate at 10 am. Let me know if you’d like to join us!
“Let’s Talk about Vivienne”
A walk , by the Walking with the Waste Land group at the Turner Contemporary.
Saturday March 11th.
A Photo Diary, creating new encounters.
A performance by Jill Rock
through the Sybil
From the Epigraph
The Waste Land
Identifying Eliot’s Ghost women
reads :Sophie (after JMWT)
written by Keith Grossmith
We include a Turner woman of her time in our walk, referencing the Gallery.
The Art of Walking
( Walking – Method )
Emily Hale, but now Let’s Talk about Vivienne.
Walpole Bay Shelter.
T.S. Eliot , famous clairvoyant.
Eliot’s demeaning portrayals of his ghost women.
Walpole Bay Hotel
(wonderful tea and scones).
‘Tom and Vivienne’s
letters from Margate.’
Walpole Bay Hotel.
‘The Vivienne Haigh-Wood Headlines’
the old site of the
Reads: ‘Poor wretched clever child.’
in the gardens
‘Death of a Duchess’
An image of Vivienne. She sits at her dressing table, hairbrush motionless in her hand, bare arms fixed, waiting for a question from Tom…
And if I said ‘I love you’ should we breathe?
reads his poem:
Near, bright stars.
A Game of Chess
lines added to
and edited from
the Waste Land
at Vivienne’s behest.
The Old Kent Market
reads: ‘The Eliot’s go to the Cinema’.
‘In the Cage”.
With many thanks to Jennifer Deakin for photography and to the members of the Walking with the Waste Land group for their hard work and support.
For details of readings and performances:http://www.elspeth-billie-penfold.com/let-s-talk-about-vivienne-readings-flyers-and-some-images
This walk includes a performance by Jill Rock, inspired by the Epigraph to the Wasteland, ‘Sybil”
A small intervention by Elspeth Penfold at the Nayland Rock Shelter.’Menstrual Discord’.
Referencing Cecilia Vicuña’s ‘Quipu Menstrual’
With words by Judy Dermott accompanied by music from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Poetry written and performed by Keith Grossmith
The Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot Headlines Read by Artist Julia Riddiough and Reported from The Walpole Bay Hotel Margate
Following his successful walk for the Folkestone book Festival with ‘Margate is weird. We do not dislike it’ – T. S. Eliot in Margate, Richard Turney is walking in Vivienne’s footsteps from the Tom Thumb Theatre.
and we have a screening of Sally Waterman’s ‘In the Cage’, at The Old Kent Market,
and there is much more!
We are all looking forward to it and to celebrating the life of Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot with those who have tickets for the walk, now sold out.
Thoughts that developed as a result of our field trip on February 9th.
A walking field trip from Espacio Gallery on the Bethnal Green Rd. through Sculpture in the City at various locations ending at Leadenhall Market.
Participants: Veronika Marsh (Linguist, and artist)
Virginia Fitch. (Walking with The Waste Land)
Allan (Poet, writer , student of life)
Helen Peacock (Artist, currently exploring wires and tensions)
Jill Rock (Sculptor and performance artist)
Elspeth Penfold (Artist, weaver, exploring walking as research)
I have invited participants on these walks to take a leap of faith with me as we are never too sure how the walk will evolve or who will turn up on the day. When questioned about the route I say that there is a heartfelt aim that we will somehow arrive at our destination.
This is all very difficult to explain, hence the leap of faith.The following explanation might be helpful
Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the rhizome is that it always has multiple entryways. Likewise this walk has multiple entryways.
1. Threads an Exhibition at Espacio Gallery, including a piece of my own work “Quipu”.
Quipu was made during a residency at Sun Pier House in Chatham, last July from materials gathered during a walk organised with the Walking with The Waste Land group for The Writing Buildings symposium at The University of Kent.
It now seems clear that threads as a metaphor are looming large in this walk.
2. A second entry way is Palabra e Hilo, sited readings of a poem by Cecilia Vicuña, Thread and Word. Vicuña is a Chilean Poet and a walker who weaves words. Like TS Eliot, Vicuña’s writing is a stream of conscious thought with references to mythic ideas but hers are rooted in Andean culture rather than European.
The fragmentary introduction of poetry readings from different sources ties in well with another entry which is:
3. International Women’s month, celebrating the work of Sarah Lucas and Lizi Sanchez.
Kevin and Florian – Sarah Lucas
Lizi Sanchez is a Peruvian artist, whose work Cadenetas, paper chains, offers a different entry point to an engagement with the walk.
The fragmentary introduction of poetry readings and interventions as we walk plays with Cadenetas as we go spotting and discovering the copper chains installed along the site of Sculpture in the City.
Sculpture in the City
4.The exhibition Program of Sculpture in theCity offers a further entry point. Artists and walkers have chosen to engage with sculptures along the route.
4.Walking with The Waste Land is another entry point.
This is a walking group which is a part of Journeys with The Waste Land, at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate.
The group have been using walking as research to explore the poem as a contribution to the wider Research group for an exhibition opening at The Turner contemporary in 2018.
Sited readings of The Waste Land by TS Eliot will take place along the route from Espacio to Leadenhall Market.
These readings engage with site and open ideas connected with Palabra e Hilo
5.If you enjoy walking as research you might like to join a walk I am organising in Margate, on March 11th, as a part of POW Thanet , Let’s Talk about Vivienne.
Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot has been seen variously as a femme
for more about this: walk:http://www.powthanet.com/lets-talk-about-vivienne.html
So there we have it Rhizomes a useful tool to allow ourselves the freedom to engage creatively.
Ginger, botanical rhizome
These events are all threaded together by the people I have invited to participate in the walk from Espacio Gallery to Leadenhall Market. I am interested in people and what brings us together. I am delighted with the ideas and interventions that have already developed as a result of the field trips.
Using walking as a research tool to develop ideas and bring people together to collaborate creatively is proving to be incredibly rewarding. The metaphor of the Rhizome allows us not to close down opportunities for discovery, chance encounters and ideas.
Thinking about Rhizones, Ropes and the knots made by participants walking on Thursday
Our walk last Thursday was no exception.We were, in Ingold’s words, wayfaring rather than transporting.
The ropes I make and give to participants in the walks to document the experience by making knots play with this concept of wayfaring.
“Every place, then , is a knot in the meshwork , and the threads from which it is traced is a line of wayfaring”- Walking Threads, Threading Walk”; Weaving and Entangling Deleuze and Ingold with Threads
I am looking forward to our walk on March 5th!
I am really looking forward to this walk on February 23rd. Please let me know if you’re interested in joining either in London or in Kent or both.
Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography
Exploring Boundaries and Monuments.
Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography
Exploring Boundaries and Monuments.
A walk from Vauxhall Bus station on Thursday February 23rd
I was researching the Mythic Method and the essence of Modernity, which as I understand it does not mean returning to the past but giving an understanding to the present, when I was contacted about the Terminalia Festival.
Through this walk and it’s connections with Terminus the Roman God who ruled over boundaries I hope to explore these ideas further.
“ Instead of narrative method, we may now use the mythic method. It is, I seriously believe, a step toward making the modern world possible for art.”
T.S. Eliot, from Ulysses, Order, and Myth (1923)
The mythic method is also connected to Eliot’s idea for allowing the audience to participate and workout the meaning of an artist’s work.
“On 23 May 2006, following the passing by Parliament of the ‘Serious Organised Crime and Police Act’ prohibiting unauthorised demonstrations within a one kilometre radius of Parliament Square, the majority of Haw’s protest was removed. Taken literally, the edge of this exclusion zone bisects Tate Britain.”
The Terminialia Festival celebrates Terminus, the Roman God who ruled over boundaries and whose statue was merely a stone or post stuck in the ground. In recognition of Terminus and the ritual of celebrating the Roman New Year which traditionally began on March 1st, the walk will focus on exploring the memorials and statues along the trajectory.
We will observe how and what we choose to commemorate and celebrate through our public spaces. Each participant in the walk will receive a hand made rope which they can make knots in to record the experience of the walk.
We will be walking at 11.00 am from Vauxhall bus station to Waterloo station via Tate Britain, the site of Mark Wallinger’s, “State Britain”in 2007.
We will then follow an exploratory walk to Trafalgar Square and on to St Paul’s , ending at Waterloo Station. This should take a couple of hours allowing for a tea or coffee break en route.
The ancient art of walking , the image above is of the Nazca Lines,in Peru. It made me think of the sometimes inexplicable shapes of monuments and borders.
Seasalter, in Kent.
The photo above was taken on a walk, on the way to Mick’s Post.
Following on from this walk, on the 25th of February, there will be a second walk in Seasalter near Whitstable, in Kent.
On this walk we will walk to “ Mick’s post” where we will tie the ropes knotted on the London walk to Mick’s post in a symbolic ritual of the celebration of Terminus. Mick’s post is a white post in Seasalter which has been erected near the sea wall to indicate the boundary for the digging of bait in the Thames Estuary.
Images from these walks will be posted on Twitter @womenwhowalknet @elspethpenfold, using #Terminalia. To find out more about my walking as research please visit my website blog:
If you would like to attend either of these walks please contact me: [email protected]