06. November 2018 · Comments Off on The Tony McManus Geopoetics Lecture: Finding Radical Hope in Geopoetics by Mairi McFadyen, Leith Parish Church, Sat 3 November 2018 · Categories: Expressing the Earth, geopoetics, Uncategorised · Tags: , , , , , ,

Annual Tony McManus Geopoetics Lecture 2018

Mairi McFadyen

Abstract: The challenges we face today – ecological, social and political – demand new forms of consciousness, creativity and collective action. In his book The Radical Field (2007), Tony McManus outlines the world significance of geopoetics as a theory-practice for what he calls ‘radical cultural renewal.’ Inspired by his writings, Mairi will reflect on her own journey as an ethnologist and will trace the contours of an emerging praxis which finds grounds for radical hope in geopoetics. It is more necessary than ever that we gather together and continue to explore how to live on this earth in more hopeful, joyful and life-giving ways.


Download slides here: McManus Lecture Slides

Thank you to Norman Bissell and the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics for inviting me to give this lecture today. This event is also part of the Intercultural Research Centre’s Sustainable Communities Sustainable Heritage Festival – so I’d also like to thank Ullrich Kockel and Máiréad Nic Craith at the IRC for their continued support and encouragement, and to thank you all for coming along today.

For Tony McManus, who we are here celebrating today, the study of geopoetics and living a creative life were inseparable, each enriching the other. He believed passionately that geopoetics, as a world theory-practice – as an approach to thinking and living – opens the way to creativity for everyone, and can create the possibility of experiencing and expressing the world in a livelier, more perceptive way. For him, geopoetics provides the hope and the basis for the radical cultural renewal we so badly need today.

This will be a lecture in 2 parts. In the first, I will reflect on my own journey into geopoetics, exploring the potential of my own field of ethnology as an emerging creative practice. This is the topic of my essay in the Stravaig journal, so a more in-depth account of this is there if you are interested (also here).

In part 2, I want to turn to the here and now, to the Earth, and to the challenges of the future. Just this week there was a letter signed by 100 academics calling for action to halt the ecological crisis we face caused by climate breakdown. The letter reads,

“The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible, and it is unconscionable to us that our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of an unprecedented disaster of our own making.”

— The Guardian, Fri 26 Oct 2018

In many ways responding to a personal need to make some sense of the utter burach in which we have found ourselves, I will reflect on where we are now, how we got here, and where we might go next. I will introduce a map for navigating our way through, how we might ‘open a world,’ finding grounds for radical hope in geopoetics.

What I am offering here are by no means answers, but rather a tentative interpretation and some unfinished thoughts from a personal perspective, searching for the right questions to ask.

PART 1: A Journey into Geopoetics

My own journey into geopoetics began a long time ago, although I did not realise it at the time. This was during my PhD research – a study of the traditional ballad, based at the School of Scottish Studies Archives. Rather than focusing on a collection of ballad ‘texts’, I was interested in the live embodied encounter of song performance: the shivers, tingles, and chills we sometimes experience listening to unaccompanied traditional song. Many of us will be able to bring to mind such an encounter – perhaps listening to live music, reading poetry or discovering visual art, being in nature, a religious experience, being part of a political movement. These are often the occasions that we become aware, if only fleetingly, that we are here, that we are together, that we are connected. Ethnologists might call this experience communitas.

As a researcher, I am interested in these heightened moments that re-frame or affirm our perception of the world and our relationship to it. A ‘heightened aesthetic experience’ is understood here not in the sense of a matter of judgement or taste, but rather – as opposed to the anaesthetic experience – as one in which our senses are operating at their peak, when we are present in the current moment with heightened awareness, when we are and fully alive.

Often, in order to make sense of our experiences, we reach for metaphor, for poetic language, to create and re-create meaning. Metaphor has poetic power precisely because it re-connects abstract thought with embodied experience, providing a grounding we often fail to see precisely because it is so pervasive and fundamental. The philosopher Mark Johnson (2007) makes the case that all metaphors are grounded in our visceral experience and explains that it is through our bodily perceptions, movements, senses and emotions that meaning becomes possible. That is to say, all aspects of meaning-making are fundamentally aesthetic.

The central question, then, is this: what is the relationship between our embodied experience and perception, and the language we use to express it? I later came to realise that is a central question of geopoetics (McManus 2007). To find an answer, my own research turned to phenomenology – a research method that attends to the affective dimension of our embodied experience; and to hermeneutics – which is concerned with how we interpret and express our subjective lived experience in and through language as part of a process of meaning-making.

In truth, I found the experience of academic research both thrilling and strangely alienating; alienating in the sense that, in such an intensely cerebral environment, I felt disconnected from my own body. I discovered that it is quite possible to grasp or comprehend a philosophical concept but not understand it, bodily. Theoretical explanations quickly become removed from lived reality and from the infinitely rich encounters that cause us to want to think more deeply about our experience in the first place. In geopoetics, I found a way to reconcile – or perhaps reconnect, in a way that made sense to me – the rigour of cerebral, analytic work with the experience of being a body in the world. For me, this is what geopoetics was first about: seeking awareness and understanding both intellectually, by developing knowledge, and sensitively, bodily, intuitively using all our senses to become ‘attuned to the world.’ I visualise geopoetics as the rigorous pursuit of clarity of thought, chasing those flashes of insight, creativity and connection, but always grounded in my embodied, aesthetic experience of being-in-the-world.

I know most of you in the room will be familiar with geopoetics, but if you’ll let me, for those of you who are not, I’ll take a wee bit of time to outline some of the key ideas, as I interpret them. The difficulty here is is that geopoetics is not linear, and it is very difficult to find a thread through in such a short talk.

Geopoetics begins, then, with a ‘radical critical analysis’ of the ‘cultural mindscape’ we find ourselves in today. Kenneth White begins by rejecting the philosophical stances which underpin what he calls the ‘Motorway of our Western civilisation’ and our modern culture. He looks for signs of those who have attempted to leave this motorway, searching for alternative ways of looking at the world, and celebrating the figure of the ‘intellectual nomad,’ the poet-thinker, the artist-philosopher.

First, White rejects Plato’s idealism, which leads to the fundamental western belief that reality is to be found somewhere other than the here and now. He rejects Aristotle’s division of the world, and our experience of it, into separate categories. Their modern derivatives are similarly rejected – the dualism in Descartes’ separation of human from nature and mind from body; rationalism, which derives from this division of subject from object; and humanism, with its Hegelian notion of historical progress and its exploitative approach to nature.

This leads White to what he calls the central debilitating problem in our culture: a failure to ‘see life whole.’ Our worldview, dominated by a mechanistic, rational science that privileges whatever can be numbered, measured and weighed, has given rise to the loss of ‘a sense of world.’ This loss is reflected in the reductionist and atomistic division of areas of knowledge into discrete categories.

Geopoetics argues for the plural need to amend the excessive damage the environment, human consciousness, and being are experiencing as a consequence of this ‘loss of world.’ In search of alternatives, White engages with non-western traditions, and with traditions of European phenomenology – Husserl, Heidegger and others. Husserl’s Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy (1936) criticises science’s objectivism as naivety and seeks to reinstate the thinking mind as one which can perceive reality as a whole.

From this radical cultural analysis, White finds grounds for a renewal of culture. By this, he means a new cultural perspective whereby the various domains into which knowledge has been separated can be unified by a poetics, which places the planet Earth at the centre of experience. ‘The real work’ he writes, consists of ‘changing the categories, grounding a new anthropology, moving towards a new experience of the earth and of life’ (White 2004, 22). Like Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological ‘radical reflection’ or Heidegger’s hermeneutic drive ‘to get back to the beginning of thought’, geopoetics requires an openness and readiness to both recognise and consciously abandon inherited concepts, philosophical assumptions and the cultural baggage of language, ideology and discourse. It is, in many ways, a process of radical unlearning. It is about decolonising the mind. A ‘new mental cartography’ White called it. A re-mapping of our relationship with the world.

Crucially, White was seeking a local grounding for this new world-view. Geopoetics is very much a place-based praxis. This is not provincial, but parochial in the most expansive sense of the word. Parochial is universal: it deals with the fundamentals. In pursuit of this ground, Geopoetics traces structures, ideas, themes, expressions, lifelines back to the archaic landscape, and forwards into future developments, with critical reflection, outside of existing systems of representation. ‘We need minds’, writes White, that that can draw the ‘significant lines together – through geography, history, culture – and open up new ways of ‘inhabiting the Earth.’

Abriachan, Loch Ness

Abriachan, Loch Ness, 30 Oct 2018

If geography means earth-writing, geopoetics can be interpreted as means world-making. It is fundamentally about creativity.

McManus writes, ‘The word ‘poetry’ in these context does not refer to the current mass of more or less formulaic statements of personal-social angst which rarely goes beyond names and words. Poetry, here, is the expression of the human mind which has reached a perception of the world which it must express. When the human expresses the perception of being which opens up to this philosophical mind, he is not scientist, he is not even philosopher, he is poet: poetry says Heidegger, ‘brings being into the light.’’ That is to say that our capacity for intense perceptive experience, and the rich expression of it, is part of what it is to be human. Poetry, in this case, goes beyond the literary form to take in other forms of creativity, such oral expression, writing, visual arts, music, science. In other words, it is the natural and, potentially, universal expression of what White calls this ‘sense of world.’  The ‘poetic’, in this context, becomes synonymous with human potential for constantly ‘making the world new’ (Bachelard 1958).

I need to talk a little about this word ‘culture’ in this context. In geopoetics, ‘the fundamental questions is cultural,’ but in the most expansive sense. In White’s view, culture is ‘the way human beings conceive of, work at and direct themselves.’ If ‘agri-culture means working at a field to produce the best crop,’ he writes, then ‘human culture means working at the most harmonious growth of the individual and the collective in its environment.’ In the collective sense, culture is defined as to what is essential to the group. Successful cultures cluster around a central motif, a nucleus of interest, a poetics, understood here as basic language of experience, perception and expression.

Geopoetics is conceived of as a world culture; the Earth is the central motif. Caring for the earth is a fundamental part of geopoetics – a concern that is shared by all, north south east and west.

This is not a homogenous world culture, but rather a world culture that recognises the creative relationship between humans and earth in all its diversity and particularities. White himself called gepoetics an ‘intercultural movement’ in that it not only recognises linguistic, cultural, poetic, philosophic and scientific diversity, but demands a genuine interaction among its various components. It requires genuine interaction of different worldviews, philosophies, sciences, geographies, modes of being, for the enlargement of human understanding of the diversity the cosmos offers (Hashas 2017).

It is important to remember that geopoetics began in the 1970s. Theories on postcolonialism, feminism, multiculturalism, interculturalism, secularism, liberalism, environmentalism have all developed since, and so the geopopetic project is both part of this development and an interdisciplinary contribution to it. Keeping this context in mind, geopoetics can be read as a radical call for more critique, and more ‘opening up’ against dogmatic, ideological and religious discourses. In this sense, it is a strident challenge to all colonising homogeneities. Other disciplines can, in geopoetics, find similar potential.

I want to speak briefly about my own field of Scottish ethnology here. Ethnology is a form of interdisciplinary anthropological research and practice that, at its heart, seeks to understand how we, as humans, make life meaningful. We might describe it as the study of how communities make sense of themselves to themselves in particular places through cultural memory and creative expression. Often, the focus is our relationship with the past and how we make sense of it in the present, and so historically, ethnology has been closely associated with its sister discipline of folklore and the study of local traditional culture.

Ethnology values human relationships and emotional connections, recognises the diversity of human experience and understands the importance of our ecological connection to place. Through fieldwork, it bears witness to the experience of others and reflects the manifold and diverse ways human subjectivity and experience manifests itself, a celebration and appreciation of difference and diversity. With its emphasis on drawing global insights from consciously situated perspectives (‘Wisdom sits in places,’ Basso 1996), a Scottish ethnology is one of the world anthropologies in practice.

Here in Scotland – in part – in part a response to the cultural and political context in the aftermath of the 2014 referendum and ongoing debates in arts, culture and higher education – a group of ethnologists and creative practitioners have begun to explore the potential of a ‘creative ethnology’ outwith the strictures of the university. For some, the creative potential of ethnology is about finding more imaginative ways to share our research through creative output, such as performance or creative writing; for others the potential is in its interdisciplinarity: how we engage in vital dialogue with other fields, such as ecology or the arts. For others, this is not simply a question of drawing on the creativity of the category of ‘the artist’ in collaboration; there is a sense too in which we must become artists ourselves.

I was keen to explore what a creative ethnology as a form of geopoetics might look like – the ethnologist as the figure of the poet-thinker, the artist-philosopher – and so took this question to the Expressing the Earth conference in 2017 (this, as I mentioned, is the topic of my essay in Stravaig). Ullrich Kockel – whose writing has been an inspiration to me – and I later co-wrote a chapter situating a Scottish creative ethnology in a European context, drawing on the rich wells of tradition and critical thought in this place. We evoke the metaphor of Nan Shepherd’s ‘Living Mountain’ – the topic of last year’s annual lecture ; Hamish Henderson’s metaphor of the ‘Carrying Stream’ – an affirmation of the living current of intergenerational transmission; and also the legacy of Patrick Geddes. Described variously as a Victorian polymath and ‘synthesising generalist,’ Geddes was looking for connections and patterns, and the intellectual tools to bring disparate ideas into relation, cultivating what he called ‘sympathy, synthesis and synergy. I have written about this elsewhere.

In my own view, an ethnological sensibility or being-in-the-world speaks to the need for an activist orientation in practice.

“Beyond profession, my concern has been to find and follow a calling, a deeper voice. It finds its roots in who I am and a sense of purpose I have on earth ”

— Lederach 2005

Ullrich has observed that, in his experience, many of us working in this field are motivated by concerns ‘not unlike those that have inspired the work of artists, poets, theologians and campaigners’ (2010). This struck a chord with me. These shared concerns might include a desire to create and to connect, to seek and share knowledge, to raise awareness, to challenge the use of power, to bring people together, to search for meaning, to imagine and make manifest new ways of thinking and being. Ullrich also introduced to me the ideas of Joseph Beuys, an important figure to geopoetics. His famous words ‘every man is an artist’ is not claiming that everyone can ‘be an artist’ in a conventional sense; rather it is evoking the power of the human body to transform and be transformed in a constant, creative process. Beuys believed that we must bring our whole selves – our intuition and imagination, as well as our rational thinking, our will – to a conscious, active participation in culture, a form of what he called ‘social sculpture.’

“As we come to terms with the fact that [we] make, and are made by, the field that [we] study, [we] have a choice: either retreat into the safe realm of pure cultural theory, or get to grips with the messy business of trying to navigate the morphogenetic cultural field as it changes shape under [our] very hands.”

— Kockel 2011

My point here is that, while geopoetics may appear to be largely a personal and existential quest, it cannot be only so. Simon Springer, in an article called ‘Earth Writing,’ (2017) writes that geopoetics demands praxis. He calls for a theoretically informed, critically reflective scholar-activism. In defence of any anti-intellectual accusation of ‘esotericism,’ which is a charge often levelled, he argues passionately that we need theory for meaningful action as much we need meaningful action to refine our theories.

A geopoetic worldview, he writes, allows us to ‘replace the hubris that so often attaches itself to academia, with a modesty and humility that brings us into greater contact with the world.’ As ‘nomads of the present’ (Melucci 1989), we venture into the ‘unchartable terrain that is the mystery of life.’ As poet-thinkers, we acknowledge the ‘hidden enfolded immensities,’ ‘sheer physical messiness,’ and the ‘sticky materiality of practical encounters’ that can never be captured, pinned down, or fully understood.

When we approach theory-practice with an open, geopoetic mind that ‘expresses reality in different ways … [through] combinations of different art forms,’ a material space for radical transformation might follow. ‘Possibility becomes possible’ when ‘the scope of theory and the hope of creativity collide in kaleidoscope’ (Springer 2017).

I want to give the final words of part 1 to Tony McManus. He believed that

“Geopoetics holds out not just the possibility of, but the necessity for the fully human being as one who strives towards perceptive awareness of the world through experience, thought and action and who strives also to express that sense of world in his/her life and thought.”

— McManus n.d

In a sense, this is what I am striving for now, at the beginning of a journey towards an emerging geopoetic praxis.


PART 2: Finding Radical Hope in Geopoetics

This part of my lecture really is an attempt to respond to the here and now, although these thoughts are very much unfinished.

We are living through a very strange moment in human history – in disturbing and troubling times. We face huge challenges: ecological and climate breakdown as a consequence of global capitalism and its environmental destruction; challenges to globalisation with the rise of right-wing populism and the retreat into entrenched ethnicities, Brexit, Trump, Brazil; Big Data… Our daily news cycle is a nightmare. Every conversation I seem to have these days finds its way back to this sense of disbelief, hopelessness, frustration, despair. All of these discussions hold up a mirror to our collective consciousness. In the face of it all, it’s an opportunity for reflection, and to ask again, why we are here, what does it mean to be alive? What can we do, how can we act? Where can we rediscover purpose, collectively?

I was born in the 1980s. Since that time, the ascendant and dominant neoliberal agenda of globalisation has deeply transformed the material conditions of our world. Capitalism entered a new phase with the Thatcher and Reagan governments in the UK and the United States. Our society today has been shaped by ideologies and epistemologies underpinned by anthropocentric, hetero-patriarchal, Euro/Western-centric, colonial and capitalist systems of power. This has brought with it devastating social, political and ecological effects, leaving many people deeply dissatisfied, estranged and disempowered and may yet bring about our ultimate destruction.

It is nothing short of cultural invasion on a global scale.

Our collective priorities are shaped not by a desire to ‘see life whole’ but by a mechanistic, atomistic worldview that privileges whatever can be numbered, measured and weighed. Within this paradigm, macroeconomics, geopolitics and capital are valorised  and social systems are built on a linear, machine-like approach. In such an economic system, every thing (and everyone and everywhere) becomes disposable, seen simply in terms of resources at hand, ready for exploitation, for profit. In this world, people are expected to make sacrifices for profit-margin, to accept environmental damage that threatens future generations, often for no reward beyond ‘improved economic indicators.’

In the face of such contemporary hegemonic forces, every aspect of our lives has been colonised, commodified, from birth to death. Our local and national government, cultural institutions, organisations, education system, universities have all been totally captured by this way of thinking. This reform of the public sector has been called the ‘era of New Public Management’ or NPM, where managerial practices used to run businesses are applied to the public sector. It is an ideology that many of us have been complicit in promoting, with or without choice, knowingly or unknowingly.

I can only speak from my own experience of work, in universities and in arts and cultural administration. Higher education and research have been forced to conform to the norms of ‘efficiency, value for money, customer service and performance targets’ where ‘everything has come to depend on audits and metric standards of so-called quality assessment (student satisfaction, pass rates, league tables etc.)’ (Winkler 2018). Academics have little, if any, say on whether departments should continue to exist, what degrees and courses should be on offer and even what kind of assessment methods should be used. Researchers are forced into competition with an ever-tighter funding regime that values short-term instrumental usefulness rather than deep, long-term understanding. This colonisation of higher education by neoliberalism is an absolute assault on academic freedom. We see the co-option of radical language. The casualisation and precarity of the workforce. And yet, within this system, there are wonderful people trying to do wonderful things.

Our arts and cultural policy, again, has been totally colonised, not by one perceived nationality over another (as in Alastair Gray’s now infamous essay of 2013, ‘Settlers and Colonists,’ a different argument altogether), but rather by the ideology of the ‘creative industries.’ This is defined by in the UK Government’s 2001 ‘Creative Industries Mapping Document’ as ‘the potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.’ Creative ‘production’ is about targets and outcomes, ‘value for money,’ anathema to the creative process. This name-making, logo-driven culture of neoliberalism demands of artists to ‘be a brand,’ to be a business, to ‘be our own export.’ Our role as cultural workers is to outflank or outmaneover the system, to be creative and agile, and yet all too often we are serving the very system that we seek to undermine, chained by our branded lanyards. Yet again, within this system, despite this system – many people still manage to create wonderful work and do wonderful things.

But at what cost?

It does not have to be this way. Naomi Klein, in her book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014) writes,

“It’s a habit of mind. As such, it can be changed. Except that most of the time we cannot see this, because we are “locked in, politically, physically and culturally” to the world that capital has made.”

Geopoetics calls for decolonisation: of the mind, of our ideologies and our institutions, of our everyday lives. It calls for resistance and transformation.

Geopoetics reaches for a world culture where the Earth is the central concern. The point I am trying to make here is that our economic system and climate crisis are fundamentally linked.

Our current predicament has led some commentators to describe our time as a new geological era shaped by humans – the Anthropocene (Hamilton et al, 2015). In their recent report, the IPCC have stated we have twenty years before a global disaster is upon us due to the effects of global heating and climate breakdown. This was shortly followed by the WWF’s Living Planet report with 60% of species wiped out since 1970, as a direct consequence of human consumption. This past week, as I mentioned earlier, a letter was sent to Parliament demanding action on climate breakdown. On Wednesday, we saw the launch of the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ in London – an act of civil disobedience where 15 people were arrested for protesting the government’s response to climate tragedy.

Hundreds of people showed up for a symbolic act of #ExtinctionRebellion against the UK government last week, accusing it of inaction in the face of #climate breakdown and ecological crisis. Source: DESMOGUK 

“We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with about 200 species becoming extinct each day. Humans cannot continue to violate the fundamental laws of nature or of science with impunity. If we continue on our current path, the future for our species is bleak.”

— The Guardian, Fri 26 Oct 2018

Climate breakdown is expression of a mechanistic worldview, an epistemology of conquest and an ideology of global capital – the whole point of which is to find resources and exploit them. Climate breakdown is an indicator of just how far our human psyche and culture has become divorced from our natural habitat. It is the conclusion of a culture and a worldview that separates man from nature, that ‘fails to see life whole.’ Our economy is destroying the natural basis of life. This the endgame: it is the very expression of the loss of ‘a sense of world.’

The West’s response to these environmental issues, since the 1970s, have been individualist, market fundamentalist, incremental and atomistic – responses which have failed to solve the problem (Bendell 2018). If we are to try to change the direction of our own destruction, we need to challenge the systems and structures that dominate our existence. To achieve such a vision, we need a fundamental transformation of our lives and an extensive cultural change: a radical cultural renewal.

Arguments about climate breakdown are really arguments about how and what we can think.

The significance of these devastating statistics can be difficult to grasp. The ecological philosopher Timothy Morton calls climate breakdown a ‘hyperobject’ – a thing that surrounds us, envelops us and entangles us, but that is too big to see in in its entirety (2013). Mostly, we perceive hyperobjects through their influence on other things – a melting ice sheet, a dying sea. Hyperobjects happen everywhere at once, but we can only experience them in the local environment.

I read a book recently, James Bridle’s The New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future (2018), a brilliant book – as illuminating as it is unsettling – in which I discovered an alarming fact: carbon dioxide is literally dumming us down. If C02 levels reach 1000 parts per million, our human cognitive abilities drop by 21%.

“C02 clouds the mind: it directly degrades our ability to think clearly, and we are walling it into our places of education and pumping it into the atmosphere. The crisis of climate breakdown is a crisis of the mind, a crisis of though, a crisis in our ability to think another way to be. Soon, we shall not be able to think at all.”

— Bridle 2018

In July of this year, academic Jem Bendell, published a paper called Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy in which he offers a new framing for beginning to make sense of what we face. Bendell, himself a Professor of Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cumbria, believes that best-available science says that there is an inevitable near-term social collapse due to climate change, a process which has already started, and a process of which many mainstream sustainability professionals are in denial. This situation has led others to conclude that we should be exploring how to live in an unstable post-Sustainability situation, exploring post-growth or degrowth models. The current neoliberal system offers little hope for the kind of changes that will be needed and, further, it has the capacity to worsen the harm done to the Earth, and to impose greater suffering and oppression on the many in order to protect the power and wealth of the few.

As an invitation to enter a dialogue, Bendell offers Deep Adaptation as a framework for communities to explore how they might to prepare for collapse, both locally and globally (I will outline this below). This framework has already influenced community dialogue on climate change in Britain in the past two years, including in Peterborough and Newcastle, as well as being used by the Dark Mountain network which many of you will be familiar with. There are the beginnings of a movement in Scotland too.  Such an approach is seriously under-discussed because it has hitherto been taboo.

Bendell recognises that this is a huge agenda that must involve diverse disciplines. Deep Adaption calls on nothing short of a world approach. There is much that geopoetics could contribute to such a framework – and perhaps we could discuss this later.

In pursuit of a conceptual map of Deep Adaptation, Bendell talks in terms of resilience, relinquishment and restoration. Of course, each of these words has different meanings in different contexts and discourses, but for the purposes of this framework, they are understood as follows:

Resilience is about developing our capacities to deal with change. The resilience of human societies is the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances so as to survive with valued norms and behaviours. We need to think again, switch our mindsets. What do we really want to keep? What can we draw on to help us through? The question, however, is not just about what we want to keep or preserve, but what are we willing to give up, to let go? This is relinquishment. It is about giving up expectations for certain types of consumption, assets, beliefs. This includes material possessions, ways of life, cultural patterns, patterns of behaviours. The current discourse of ‘sustainability’ might see this as defeatist, but it can be re-framed as a positive action. Finally, restoration. This is about finding ways to restore life and community, something I’ll come back to at the end of the talk. Examples include re-wilding and re-people-ing landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play and entertainment, and increased community-level productivity and support (Bendell 2018).

I want to discuss the second of these for a moment: relinquishment. In order to find new ways of thinking and living – of survival – we are going to have to let go of a whole lot of things. This is a question I have been asking of myself in recent months. In many ways it is a difficult personal process; it involves a something of a deconstruction of the self, of a previously held sense of identity and expectations. Who am I and how am I in the world? What is my role? What am I willing (or not) to be complicit in? How (and where) do I want to live? What am I willing to give up? What am I willing to give up, to let go of?

For me, this has involved some difficult life choices, and decisions to be made – both intellectually, critically, and sensitively, trusting my body. It involves both navigating and embracing tensions, contradictions and conflicts of trying to live as an activist (Erskine 2014). I am still in the midst of this unfinished process. The further I explore, it becomes increasingly difficult to work on projects that do not have some relevance to this wider interdisciplinary framework, this bigger picture.

As researchers, artists, writers, teachers, scientists, creative practitioners, we have an opportunity – some would say an obligation, a responsibility – not just to do what is expected by our employers and/or the norms of our profession, but also to reflect on the relevance of our work within wider society, and for the world. We might ask, from what position can we effect most change? Where are the pockets of resistance? Where are the openings, pressure points, connections, networks? Where are the spaces for freedom of thought, action, imagination and transformation? Where are the spaces for celebration and disruption? How do we connect and support each other? In my own wanderings, I have found many people who are desperate to have this conversation.

Geopoetics looks for signs of those who have attempted to leave ‘the motorway of Western civilisation.’ Many of us today are ‘nomads of the present’ (Melucci 1989), having left, in part, mainstream society, not knowing where we are heading but searching for what have not yet seen. Very quickly we might shed concern for conforming to the status quo and any desire for status, recognition or plaudits. Life becomes about finding and creating supportive networks and counter-cultural spaces in which individuals and groups can connect, think and act.

While this picture I have painted is bleak, we do not yet know what the future holds. There are opportunities for change and for alternative visions to emerge that may offer new hope. In geopoetics we find an optimistic project for the future, a grounds for radical hope, despite the deep anguish that lies behind it.

We need to understand and embrace our unfinishedness. To understand that we are always unfinished gives us radical hope that things can change, that transformation is still possible. Actvist Chris Erskine writes that this is a question of faith – not in a religious sense, but in the sense that ‘we must carry hope for things not yet manifest’ (2014).

“The body is always in a sense unfinished, open-ended, always capable of more creative activity than what it may be manifesting right now. ”

— Eagleton 2011

We each embody poetic power – the power of the human body to transform and be transformed in a constant, creative process. The power to make the world new. We must bring our whole selves – our intuition and imagination, as well as our rational thinking, our will – to a conscious, active participation in culture.  David Harvey, in his book Spaces of Hope, a study on globalisation and the body, writes,

“There is a time and place in the ceaseless human endeavour to change the world, when alternative visions, no matter how fantastic, provide the grist for shaping powerful political forces for change”

—  Harvey 2001

This idea of geopoetics, of ‘world-making’ has relevance for movement building; for creating and making manifest cultural renewal.

“At surface level, [cultural renewal] is a question of politics. At a deeper level, it’s a question of poetics…If you get politics and poetics coming together, you can begin to think that you’ve got something like a live, lasting culture.”

— White 2004 (my emphasis)

Lastly, I want to talk about this idea of restoration. Restoring a live, lasting culture. We might think of this, in geopoetic terms, as finding a new ground. Restoring life and community. Recovering ‘a sense of world.’ Seeing life whole. To be fully human, to be fully alive.

What practices might serve us, in advancing this collective-life-affirming cause? This might be to rediscover forgotten attitudes and approaches to life: ways of being, living, making, creating, crafting, eating. Living simply, living lightly. How did people celebrate and make meaning, prior to this hydrocarbon civilisation? What can we bring back to help us through this? Vital to this is conviviality. In conviviality, writes, Ian Wight, there is possibility. Anthropologist Edith Turner describes communitas as ‘collective joy’ (2012). It is ‘the sense of sharing felt by a group when their life together takes on deep meaning and collective awareness.’ It is ‘the gift of togetherness.’ Conviviality is the very foundation of community, of living together. It is more necessary than ever that we gather together and continue to explore how to live on this earth in more hopeful, joyful and life-giving ways.

The Shieling Project, Glenstrathfarrar – restoring life and community

In some ways I have now come full circle. I began by talking about about the materiality of aesthetic encounters and experiences that re-frame or affirm our perception of the world and our relationship to it. This is where the life energy is to be found, the impulse, the catalyst for change:

“We must find ways to ‘rekindle those transformative powers which are vital, not only in order for social, revolutionary change to occur, but to confront the challenges of the future”

— Walters 2012

Inviting us to consider the challenges of the future – collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable and extinction as possible (Bendell 2018) – does not need to lead to apathy or despair. Instead, in a supportive environment, where we can enjoy community and conviviality with each other, something positive is possible – possibility becomes possible – and a radical hope can be found. On the macro scale, it can difficult to see the positives. On the micro scale, however, there are pockets of possibility all over the place. There are hugely positive stories to tell. There are glimpses of the future, of ‘a culture of possibility,’ right here in the present.

Ultimately, geopoetics calls for poeisis – the making, gathering, the bringing together. This is to participate in our collective human attempt to find meaning in its fullest realisation. Such a way of being has potential to re-energise individuals with a radical hope for the future. I give my final words to Tony McManus, in the The Radical Field:

“ Perhaps, eventually, a movement might arise which could revolutionise society, not from a standpoint under a banner (this is always exploited by a power group or class) but on the basis of knowledge and awareness – individuals sharing a grounding, living a shared culture of perception.”

— McManus 2004

References:

McManus, T. (2007) The Radical Field
Letter to Guardian: Facts about our ecological crisis are incontrovertible. We must take action, Fri 26 Oct 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/26/facts-about-our-ecological-crisis-are-incontrovertible-we-must-take-action
Johnson, M. (2007) The Meaning of the Body
White, K. (2004) The Wanderer and his Charts: Essays on Cultural Renewal
Husserl, e. (1936) Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy
McManus, T (n.d) ‘Philistinism and Cultural Revolution Textualities‘ http://textualities.net/tony-mcmanus/philistinism-and-cultural-revolutionBachelard, G. (1957) Poetics of Space
Hashas, M. (2017) Intercultural Geopoetics in Kenneth White’s Open World
Basso, K. (1996) Wisdom Sits in Places
Lederach, J. P. (2005) The Moral Imagination: The Art and Sou of Building Peace
Kockel, U. (2010) Re-Visioning Europe: Frontiers, Place Identities and Journeys in Debatable Lands.
Kockel, U. (2011) ‘Morphogenetic Fieldwork and the Ethnologic of Toposophy: Mediation on a Coyote Wandering on Rannoch Moor’ in Beuysian Legacies in Ireland and Beyond: Art, Culture and Politics (eds) Christa-Maria Lerm-Hayes, Victoria Walters.
Springer, S. (2017) ‘Earth Writing’ in GeoHumanities, 2017. 3:1, 1-19
Melucci, A. (1989) Nomads of the present: social movements and individual needs in contemporary society.
Winkler, R. (2018) ‘Universities in the Neoliberal Age’ Mail & Guardian https://mg.co.za/article/2018-09-14-00-universities-in-the-neoliberal-age
IPPC ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C’ http://www.ipcc.ch/
WWF ‘Living Planet Report’https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/all_publications/living_planet_report_2018/
Extinction Rebellion https://risingup.org.uk/XR/
DCMS (2018) ‘Creative Industries Mapping Document’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/creative-industries-mapping-documents-2001
Klein, N. (2014) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
Hamilton, C. et al. (eds.) (2015), The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis
Morton, T. (2013) Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World
Bridle, J. (2018) New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future
Bendell, J. (2018) ‘Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy’
Degrowth Website https://www.degrowth.info/en/
Erskine, C. (2014) ‘Exploring the lifeworlds of community activists: an investigation of incompleteness and contradiction.’ PhD thesis
Eagleton, T. (2011) Why Marx Was Right
Harvey, D. (2001) Spaces of Hope
Wight, I. Website: ‘Wondering Pondering Beyonding’ http://ianwight.ca/
Turner, E. (2012) Communitas: The Anthropology of Collective Joy
Walters, V. (2012) Joseph Beuys and the Celtic Wor(l)d.

07. February 2018 · Comments Off on February 2018: A Highland Stravaig and other Geopoetics News · Categories: Uncategorised

Welcome to your Geopoetics newsletter for February with news and information about upcoming events in Scotland and beyond.

Read the full newsletter here

Stravaig: Online Journal

Many thanks to everyone who sent in essays, poems, images and artwork for issue 6 of our online journal Stravaig. We received more submissions than ever before so it will take us some time to complete the editing. There will be more news to follow but in the meantime take a look at previous issues here.

Geopoetics Highland Stravaig: Abriachan, Saturday 26th May


Tickets £25 (including lunch and evening meal)

Tickets available from the Moniack Mhor website here
Facebook event page
Download full information here

Our next event will be a Highland Stravaig on Saturday 26 May 2018 in Abriachan in collaboration with Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, and the Abriachan Forest Trust. Abriachan is a rural community set high in the hills above the western shores of Loch Ness. We will explore Abriachan both as a rich cultural and literary landscape and as a part of a diverse bio-region, reflecting on different creative, poetic and aesthetic ways of being in this place.

A live theme at last year’s Expressing the Earth’conference on Seil Island in Argyll was the contribution of geopoetics to modern land consciousness. There is a social and poetic link here: 2018 sees the 20th anniversary of the Abriachan Forest Trust’s community land buy-out in 1998, which followed the Isle of Eigg in 1997. This year’s Stravaig event is, in part, a celebration of this milestone in Abriachan’s history. Local writer Katharine Stewart (1914 – 2013), a former member of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, played an important role in this story. Stewart’s writing – including A Croft in the Hills (1979) and Abriachan: The Story of an Upland Community (2000) –  is celebrated this year by Moniack Mhor with a bursary for aspiring nature writers and writers of historical fiction.

Following the inaugural Tony McManus Lecture on ‘Nan Shepherd as an Early Geopoet’ by James McCarthy in November 2017, we will also reflect on the work of local author Jessie Kesson, who, upon a chance meeting with Shepherd, was inspired to pursue her writing.

To introduce the day, we will discover more about the story of Abriachan from leader of the Forest School, Suzann Barr, and Gaelic expert Roddy MacLean will share his deep knowledge of Gaelic place-names, native flora and fauna and local geodiversity on a forest walk in the shadow of hill Carn na Leitire (outdoor wear recommended!). In the afternoon, following a lunch of soup and bread, we will hear from ecologist and international river campaigner Lucio Marcello – who is currently investigating archive materials to chart the impact of dams and other land use changes on the biodiversity of the Ness river system – and from writer and cartographer Raghnaid Sandilands who will share her creative approach to landscape and cultural memory.

Following some free creative time in the afternoon, we will traverse 1.4 miles up the road to the Village Hall. Writer and musician Heather Clyne will introduce us to the work of Jessie Kesson with a selection of readings on a short walking tour through the village. This will be followed by a hearty shared meal in the hall and an evening ceilidh with opportunities for open floor contributions. Music for dancing will be provided by the local ceilidh band.

Download full information here
Email Mairi at geopoetichighland@gmail.com for further information.

 

N E W S  &  E V E N T S

Members’ News: Elizabeth Rimmer launches ‘Haggards’ at SPL

We would like to send very best wishes toElizabeth Rimmer, who launches her third full-length poetry collection at theScottish Poetry Library on Saturday 10 FebruaryHaggards, published by Red Squirrel press, plays off the different meanings of the word ‘haggard’ – wild and untamed, worn by grief and hardship; and the Irish designation for a patch of land, too small to cultivate, granted to peasants to grow their own crops, to create poems about herbs, personal and social upheaval, creativity and regeneration. Free event, free wine. All welcome. Read more

 

Bothy Culture and Beyond: A Live, Lasting Culture

‘Bothy Culture and Beyond,’ the music of Martyn Bennett orchestrated for the stage by conductor Greg Lawson, was a major highlight at this year’s Celtic Connections Festival. Read Mairi McFadyen‘s outstanding essay on the cultural significance of this event, reflecting on the potent link between the politics of land reform and the poetics of a deep culture. Read here (republished on Bella Caledonia here)

Asheville Wordfest, NC, USA: Earth, People and Words

Norman Bissell and Alastair McIntoshwill travel over the Atlantic this April to speak at Asheville Wordfest in North Carolina on the theme of science, soul and art in conversation. The event is organised by Laura Hope-Gill, who attended the Expressing the Earthconference last year. Laura is a writer, poet, architectural historian, film-maker, teacher and directs the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville. Read more.

Geraldine Green: Writing Workshops and Courses

Cumbrian writer Geraldine Green is leading several upcoming workshops and courses details below:

Friday 6 April,  10am – 4pm
Write in Nature at Eycott Hill, Cumbria Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, free workshop details here.

Saturday 16 June, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Write on the Shore at Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s South Walney Nature Reserve, £35 incl. refreshments, booking:geraldinegreen.poetry1@gmail.com

Friday 22 June – Sunday 24 June
Midsummer Poetry residential course at Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria with co-tutor Pippa Little. Booking is through Brantwood Details here.

Geraldine blogs at Salt Road: http://geraldinegreensaltroad.blogspot.co.uk/2018/

Please send information about geopoetics related publications, news and events for our next Newsletter to normanbissell@btinternet.com.

09. January 2018 · Comments Off on Newsletter January 2018: Final Call for submissions to Stravaig · Categories: Uncategorised

Happy New Year! This newsletter is a reminder about upcoming deadlines and contains some new information about events and opportunities in 2018.

Read the full newsletter here

FINAL CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Stravaig is the online journal for the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics.

We invite you to submit essays, poems, artwork and images for the next issue on the theme of ‘Expressing the Earth.’ We would especially welcome papers, articles and creative work from those who attended our June Conference. Essays max. 4,000 words, no more than 4 poems/images.

Our editorial group consists of Norman Bissell, Mairi McFadyen, Ullrich Kockel, Elizabeth Rimmer and Caroline Watson.

FINAL CALL
Deadline: 15 January 2018
Please email submissions to normanbissell@btinternet.com

N E W S  &  E V E N T S

Highland Stravaig, Saturday 26 May 2018

Our next event will be a Highland Stravaig in Abriachan above Loch Ness (near Inverness) on Saturday 26 May. The event will be in association with Moniack Mhorand the Abriachan Forest Trust. Following our discussion on Nan Shepherd, we will reflect on the work of Jessie Kesson, explore the local cultural landscape and its biodiversity and celebrate Abriachan’s role in land reform (2018 is the 20th anniversary of Abriachan’s community buy-out). Full details to follow. Email Mairi McFadyen for more info.

 

 

Katharine Stewart Bursary

In celebration of the life and work of Abriachan-based Katharine Stewart, who was a former member of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre Moniack Mhor are offering the prize of a place on either the Nature Writing or Historical Fiction course to a writer in 2018. Open to unpublished/published writers living and working in the Highlands who have or would like to have a piece of work in development. Read more here.

 

Please send information about geopoetics related publications, news and events for our next Newsletter to normanbissell@btinternet.com.

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on Geopoetics News October 2017 · Categories: Uncategorised

A warm welcome to all the new members who have joined the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics since June’s Expressing the Earth Conference in Argyll, and to all the new subscribers to this newsletter. A special welcome to new members in Australia and Ireland.

The conference was a watershed event in the development of geopoetics and we have decided to follow it with a Geopoetics Day and an annual Tony McManus Geopoetics Lecture to be held after our AGM on Saturday 18th November. The inaugural lecture will be on Nan Shepherd as Geopoet and will be given by our Chairperson James McCarthy.

Geopoetics Day

Tony McManus Geopoetics Lecture

James McCarthy: Nan Shepherd as Geopoet

Saturday 18 November at 15.15

Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton, Edinburgh

Tony McManus founded the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics in 1995 and was its director until his death in 2002. He was a wonderful musician and teacher who wrote many perceptive essays and reviews as well as the book The Radical Field. He worked tirelessly to raise awareness of geopoetics in Scotland and internationally. The Centre has decided to initiate an annual lecture in his memory to recognise his important work. The inaugural lecture will take place this year in Edinburgh, given by Chairperson James McCarthy on the theme of ‘Nan Shepherd as Geopoet.’

Nan Shepherd has been described by Robert McFarlane as “an incredibly inspiring figure, and an unusual one, in the sense of being a woman writing about mountains and the wilderness and nature… she’s so far ahead of us – we’re only starting to catch Nan up. Philosophically and stylistically, she was extraordinary.”

James McCarthy is a writer based in Edinburgh, the author of 11 published books, currently focussed on historic Scottish travellers and explorers, in addition to articles in other publications. He is a former forester and leading conservationist who has travelled extensively in East Africa, USA, Canada, Australia and Europe. He is an engaging speaker who has presented his work at the leading book festivals in Scotland.

S C H E D U L E

Free entry; donations welcome. You can attend for all or part of the day.

Please email Norman Bissell if you are having lunch so we can let The Bridge Inn know numbers – lunch booking is essential. Standard menu can be found here.

Join the Facebook event

10.30 – Assemble at main entrance to Heriot-Watt University (directions; campus map)
10.45 – Walk along the Union Canal to Ratho
12.15 – Lunch at the Bridge Inn, Ratho
13.30 – Transport to Heriot-Watt University
13.45 – AGM (agenda to follow to members and those attending)
15.15 – Tony McManus Geopoetics Lecture
15.45 – Questions and discussion
16.30 – Close

7pm until late – informal ceilidh in Edinburgh (venue to be confirmed). Come all ye and bring your songs and poems.

BLÀTHAN BRISTE
A collaborative exhibition by Alec Finlay and Hannah Imlach exploring energy independence, localism, and technology, from the Neolithic quernstones (hand-mills) of the islands, to the MoD rocket range on Uist and St Kilda, and the renewable energy arrays of the future. Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, North Uist until 28 October. Read more

MAIRI CAMPBELL | PULSE
Mairi Campbell takes her acclaimed one woman show Pulse to Paisley, Stirling, Aberdeen and Cromarty from 5 – 14 October 2017. Follow her journey of discovery in her music and life from London to Mexico, Cape Breton to Lismore.
Video | Tickets | Read more

SOMHAIRLE MACDONALD | EXHIBITION

Somhairle MacDonald is an artist, photographer and musician from the Scottish Highlands. His recent work inspired by the landscapes of Lochaber will be on display at The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool from 16 October – 4 January.
On Landscape | Instagram | Read more

KARINE POLWART | WIND RESISTANCE

Karine Polwart returns with her hit show Wind Resistance to the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh from 3 – 11 November 2017. A compelling combination of story and song set at Fala Flow, south-east of Edinburgh.
Video | Read more

SCOTLAND’S GEOHERITAGE FESTIVAL

A host of guided walks, talks, short courses and other interesting events from Shetland to Glasgow, Eigg to Edinburgh will take place throughout October for Scotland’s Geoheritage Festival. It includes the launch of ’51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology’ by the Scottish Geodiversity Forum at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Saturday 14 October from 10 – 4pm. Read more

THE SHIELING PROJECT | AWARD
The Shieling Project has won ‘Best Social Enterprise’ at the Highland Business Awards. The project is a community enterprise, working with schools, teachers and local community exploring our landscape’s past to help shape a more resilient future – a microcosm of a lived philosophy of placemaking. Visit on Wednesday 11th October for family fun as part of the Highland Archaeology Festival. Read more

ELIZABETH RIMMER | POETRY
Poetry reading on Thursday 30 November and workshop on ‘Herbs Habitat and Ways of Knowing’ on Friday 1 December at Taigh Chearsabhaigh Museum and Arts Centre, North Uist. Elizabeth’s new poetry collection, Haggards, based on her work on herbs, from Red Squirrel Press will be launched at the Scottish Poetry Library on 10 February 2018. Read more

NEW BOOK: KENNETH WHITE
A new book from Kenneth White is now available from Aberdeen University Press. Collected Works, Volume 1: Underground to Otherground contains 3 early books, Incandescent Limbo, Letters from Gourgounel and Travels in the Drifting Dawn. Read more. There are also some of his essays available in English here. An appreciation of his work and a retracing of his Blue Road journey to Labrador can be read here. More information can be found on his personal website here.

NEW BOOK: MOHAMMED HASHAS
Intercultural Geopoetics in Kenneth White’s Open World by Mohammed Hashas introduces geopoetics as a radical, postmodern interdisciplinary and intercultural project.
Read more

Please send information about geopoetics related publications, news and events for future newsletters to Norman Bissell.

Stravaig is the online journal of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, published on our website. We invite you to submit essays, poems, artwork and images for the next issue on the theme Expressing the Earth to Norman Bissell by 15 January 2018. Email: normanbissell@btinternet.com

You can read the latest issue of Stravaig by clicking below:
Stravaig Issue 5

The keynote talks by Michael Russell and Norman Bissell at the Expressing the Earth Conference are available to read on our website www.geopoetics.org.uk.

“Sweet the Cuckoo’s Sound” Argyll: Place, People and Neighbours

Expressing the Earth: Geopoetics and George Orwell

The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics is a membership organisation which relies on members’ subscriptions to fund its activities which are carried out by volunteers. Its purpose is to raise awareness of geopoetics as a crucial way to approach and respond creatively to the natural world of which we are part.

Its network of individuals includes visual artists, writers, musicians, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, teachers and lecturers who all share a common interest in developing an understanding of geopoetics and applying it creatively in their lives.

Membership for the year is £10 waged / £5 unwaged. Thank you!

Read more about membership here

Download membership form here

Please feel free to circulate this newsletter to friends who may be interested.

Norman Bissell
Director, Scottish Centre for Geopoetics
Mo Dhachaidh
51 Cullipool
Isle of Luing
Argyll
PA34 4UB
tel. 01852 314322
e-mail normanbissell@btinternet.com
twitter @nbissell
www.geopoetics.org.uk
www.atlanticislandsfestival.com

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on Geopoetics News August 2017 · Categories: Uncategorised

Our recent Expressing the Earth Geopoetics Conference in Argyll was a huge success and exceeded all expectations. Over 70 positive, passionate people from Brazil, USA, Switzerland, Italy, England, Wales and Scotland who care about the planet and its creative expression took part, including speakers from Argyll College and SAMS (both UHI). As well as fascinating talks and excellent discussions there were interesting visits to Kilmartin Glen, Easdale and Luing, top quality locally sourced and prepared meals and two ceilidhs which local people attended as well.

The Conference aimed to encourage everyone to be creative in expressing the Earth in diverse ways and there were 7 workshops to choose from, such as Walking & Writing, the Sea as Time Machine, Writing Haiku, Visual Arts, Mindfulness and Creative Ethnology. Some of the creative work that emerges from these sessions will feature in the online journal Stravaig. We hope there will be enough work submitted for at least two issues (see below).

The keynote talks by Michael Russell and Norrie Bissell are available to read on our website www.geopoetics.org.uk.

“Sweet the Cuckoo’s Sound” Argyll: Place, People and Neighbours

Expressing the Earth: Geopoetics and George Orwell

The feedback from those attending was that it was an inspiring and life-affirming event because of the wide-ranging inputs people made and the generosity of spirit shown by all. You can read more of the responses and contribute to them on our Facebook Page here.

O n l i n e J o u r n a l : S t r a v a i g

Stravaig is the online journal for the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, published on our website. We invite you to submit essays, poems, artwork and images for the next issue on the theme of Expressing the Earth to Norrie by 15 January 2018. Email: normanbissell@btinternet.com

You can read the latest issue of Stravaig by clicking below:
Stravaig Issue 5

M e m b e r s h i p

Many of those who attended the conference have joined the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and we hope you will do so too. We’re very grateful to those of you who’ve already done so. You can download the membership form below. Membership for the year is £10 waged / £5 unwaged. Thank you!

Read more about membership here

Download membership form here

N e w s & E v e n t s

Geopoetics Council
Our editorial group of Elizabeth Rimmer, David Francis, Norrie Bissell (SCG) and Mark Sheridan (UHI) has been joined by Rachel Clive, Mairi McFadyen and Ullrich Kockel whom we are delighted to welcome.

New Group in USA
Another important development from the Conference is that Laura Hope-Gill is setting up an American Geopoetics Centre based in Asheville, North Carolina and the theme of the WordFest event there in April 2018 will be geopoetics.

Upcoming Events: AGM
Our AGM will take place at Heriot Watt University on Saturday 18 or 25 November 2017 and will be preceded by a walk along the Union Canal to Ratho and followed by a talk by an invited speaker. Full details to follow in September.

New Book: Kenneth White
A new book from Kenneth White is now available from Aberdeen University Press. Collected Works, Volume 1: Underground to Otherground contains 3 early books, Incandescent Limbo, Letters from Gourgounel and Travels in the Drifting Dawn. Read more.
There are also some of his essays available in English here. An appreciation of his work and a retracing of his Blue Road journey to Labrador can be read here. More information can be found on his personal website here.

New Book: Mohammed Hashas
Intercultural Geopoetics in Kenneth White’s Open World by Mohammed Hashas introduces geopoetics as a radical, postmodern interdisciplinary and intercultural project.
Read more

Land Alliance Northeast (USA) Call for Submissions
Land Alliance Northeast is a partially crowdfunded project based in USA dedicated to protecting forests, wildlife, farmland, and green spaces. They are looking for submissions on the themes of science, arts and environment.
Read more

Please send information about geopoetics related publications, news and events for future newsletters to Norrie.

Please feel free to circulate this newsletter to friends who may be interested. Thank you.

With all best wishes,

Norman Bissell

Director, Scottish Centre for Geopoetics
Mo Dhachaidh, 51 Cullipool
Isle of Luing, Argyll
PA34 4UB

tel. 01852 314322
e-mail normanbissell@btinternet.com
twitter @nbissell

www.geopoetics.org.uk

www.atlanticislandsfestival.com

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on Geopoetics News May 2017 · Categories: Uncategorised

Expressing the Earth Conference
Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 June 2017
Seil Island Hall Argyll

It’s only 5 weeks until our biggest ever trans-disciplinary Geopoetics Conference in Argyll with a wide range of creative workshops, presentations, field visits, films, network sessions and performances.

The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and the University of the Highlands and Islands are hosting Expressing the Earth in Argyll 2017 to bring together creative artists, musicians, poets and film makers along with local people, academics, researchers, students and teachers to explore, create and debate the earth and the environment in this spectacular area of Scotland.

We’ve had a great response to our Call for Engagement and, as you’ll see from the draft programme on our website home page www.geopoetics.org.uk, we have about 50 contributors to the event from different parts of Scotland, England, Switzerland and USA.

It promises to be a very stimulating and inspiring event which should lead to lots of new creative work for possible inclusion in Stravaig.

Themes and activities include literature, history, visual arts, film making, archaeology, geology, geography and theology – with active engagement and creative outcomes as central to the conference as academic papers and presentations. Speakers include Michael Russell MSP, Neil Simco (UHI), Mairead Nic Craith, Norman Bissell, Anna-Wendy Stevenson, Kenny Taylor, Elizabeth Rimmer and Alastair McIntosh. Workshops are from Mandy Haggith, Andrew Phillips, Helen Boden, Julie Ann Thomason, Susanne Olbrich, Mairi McFadyen and Susannah Rosenfeld-King. Performances include Mark Sheridan, Helen Moore, Finlay Wells.


Aerial image by Birgit Whitmore of Ellenabeich with Seil Island Hall next to the largest quarry pool on the right.

The Conference will take place at the Seil Island Hall in Argyll with field visits to create new work on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 June to Kilmartin Glen, Easdale Island and the Isle of Luing. There will be poetry readings, musical performances and social gatherings on the Thursday and Friday evenings.

Cost £120 for 3 days, £45 per day, £5 for Friday night ceilidh only. The 3 day cost of £120 includes all sessions, 3 lunches, 2 evening meals and 2 ceilidhs, all teas/coffees and return transport to Isle of Luing, Easdale Island and Kilmartin Glen (and Kilmartin Museum entry).

Places are limited, so please send a cheque made out to the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics ASAP to Dave Francis 214 Portobello High Street Edinburgh EH15 2AU to avoid Eventbrite transaction deductions, or book here: http://bit.ly/2nOUyng.
It really is an event that’s not to be missed, and your support and input at it would be greatly appreciated. Hoping to hear from you soon.Free Wifi available in the hall.

All participants will receive a free copy of Grounding a World: Essays on the Work of Kenneth White, Alba Editions rrp £9.95. Participants with relevant books to sell at the Geopoetics bookstall in the Hall should contact us in advance.

Accommodation links: B&B & Self-catering: www.seil.oban.ws

http://www.easdale.org/links/accommodation.htm

Caravans: www.oban-holiday.co.uk

Camping: Argyll Kayaker Cove, North Cuan, Seil 01852 300366

Camping & Camper vans: Highland Arts, Ellenabeich : 01852 300273.

I may also be able to advise you about accommodation if you can’t find any using the online links.


Stravaig Online Journal

The latest issue of our online journal Stravaig is still available to read here: http://bit.ly/2hWgzdI.

There are essays from Jane Verburg and Antonia Thomas, the first and second place prize winners in the Hugh Miller Writing Competition, + James McCarthy on Nan Shepherd, Lisa Macdonald on the Coigach Conundrum and Bill Eddie on an Encounter with a Wall Creeper. There are also poems by Lisa Macdonald, David Francis, LesleyMay Miller, Mike Roman, Clare Diprose and Helen Moore.

Geopoetics Membership
If you join or renew your membership of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics you will receive:

A free copy of Grounding a World; Essays on the Work of Kenneth White: ed. G Bowd, C Forsdick & N Bissell rrp £9.95

Twice yearly Newsletters by e-mail.

Advance news of and discounts on books relating to geopoetics.

Advance news of Kenneth White and geopoetics events.

Invitations to all our meetings and field visits.

The satisfaction of assisting the development of our geopoetics work and publications.

Encouragement to develop your own understanding of and creative response to geopoetics.

Please send this completed form with a cheque for £10 waged/£5 unwaged, payable to the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, to David Francis, 214 Portobello High Street Edinburgh EH15 2AU.

Name …………………………………………………………….

Address ………………………………………………………….

……………………………………………………………………

……………………………………………………………………

Postcode ……………………………………………………….

E-mail address …………………………………………………

Please circulate this Newsletter to friends who may be interested. Thank you.

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on Geopoetics News March 2017 · Categories: Uncategorised

Expressing the Earth Conference
Thursday 22 – Friday 24 June 2017
Seil Island Hall Argyll

You are cordially invited to take part in a trans-disciplinary Conference with creative workshops, presentations, field visits, films, seminars and performances.

‘Geopoetics is concerned, fundamentally, with a relationship to the earth and the opening of a world’.

The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and the University of the Highlands and Islands are hosting Expressing the Earth in Argyll 2017 to bring together creative artists, musicians, poets and film makers along with local people, academics, researchers, students and teachers to explore, create and debate the earth and the environment in this spectacular area of Scotland.

Expressing the Earth will address the ways in which people are influenced and brought together by island and rural environments from the Neolithic and Bronze Age, early Celtic Christian heritage and seafaring history to more recent industrial exploitation of the Slate Islands.

Themes and activities include literature, history, visual arts, film making, archaeology, geology, geography and theology – with active engagement and creative outcomes as central to the conference as academic papers and presentations. Speakers include Michael Russell MSP, Neil Simco (UHI), Mairead Nic Craith, Norman Bissell, Mairi McFadyen, Kenny Taylor, Elizabeth Rimmer. Workshops include Mandy Haggith, Andrew Phillips, Helen Boden. Performances include Mark Sheridan, Helen Moore, Finlay Wells.

The Conference will take place at the Seil Island Hall in Argyll with field visits to create new work on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 June to Kilmartin Glen, Easdale Island and the Isle of Luing. There will be poetry readings, musical performances and social gatherings on the Thursday and Friday evenings. It is intended that the work created by the conference will feature in publications, travelling exhibitions and workshops in 2018.

Ellenabeich with Seil Island Hall beside the largest quarry pool on right: Birgit Whitmore

Booking
Cost £120 for 3 days, £45 per day. Places are limited, so book early at Eventbrite here: http://bit.ly/ExpressingEarth.
First preference will be given to those who can attend all 3 days.

The 3 day cost includes all sessions, 3 lunches, 2 evening meals and 2 ceilidhs, all teas/coffees and return transport to Isle of Luing, Easdale Island and Kilmartin Glen (and Kilmartin Museum entry).

Free Wifi available in the hall.

All participants will receive a free copy of Grounding a World: Essays on the Work of Kenneth White, Alba Editions rrp £9.95. Participants with relevant books to sell at the Geopoetics bookstall in the Hall should contact us in advance.

The conference programme will be available soon.

Accommodation links: B&B & Self-catering: www.seil.oban.ws

http://www.easdale.org/links/accommodation.htm

Caravans: www.oban-holiday.co.uk

Camping: Argyll Kayaker Cove, North Cuan, Seil 01852 300366

Camping & Camper vans: Highland Arts, Ellenabeich : 01852 300273.

The latest issue of our online journal Stravaig is now available to read here:  http://bit.ly/2hWgzdI

There are essays from Jane Verburg and Antonia Thomas, the first and second place prize winners in the Hugh Miller Writing Competition, + James McCarthy on Nan Shepherd, Lisa Macdonald on The Coigach Conundrum and Bill Eddie on an Encounter with a Wall Creeper. There are also poems by Lisa Macdonald, David Francis, LesleyMay Miller, Mike Roman, Clare Diprose and Helen Moore.

Many thanks to all the contributors and to Bill Taylor who designed the new look Stravaig. Your feedback on its content and form would be most welcome.


Wall Creeper at Neuschwanstein; Bill Eddie
Connecting with a Low-Carbon Future – the Challenges for the Arts and Humanities Conference University of Stirling Wednesday 19 – Thursday 20 April 2017

This conference is part of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network in the Arts and Humanities ‘Connecting with a Low-carbon Scotland’, and is hosted by the University of Stirling Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy. It includes panels for literature and theatre, law and politics, visual arts and media, and history and philosophy. Poet and Scottish Centre for Geopoetics Council member Elizabeth Rimmer will be speaking at the conference.

Further information:
https://www.stir.ac.uk/cehp/projects/connectingwithalow-carbonscotland/.
Register and pay here:
http://shop.stir.ac.uk/conferences-and-events.

Geopoetics Membership
If you join or renew your membership of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics you will receive:

A free copy of Grounding a World; Essays on the Work of Kenneth White: ed. G Bowd, C Forsdick & N Bissell rrp £9.95.

Twice yearly Newsletters by e-mail.

Advance news of and discounts on books relating to geopoetics.

Advance news of Kenneth White and geopoetics events.

Invitations to all our meetings and field visits.

The satisfaction of assisting the development of our geopoetics work and publications.

Encouragement to develop your own understanding of and creative response to geopoetics.

Please send this completed form with a cheque for £10 waged/£5 unwaged, payable to the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, to David Francis, 214 Portobello High Street Edinburgh EH15 2AU or to arrange to make a bank transfer tel. 07825 788861.

Name …………………………………………………………….

Address ………………………………………………………….

……………………………………………………………………

 

……………………………………………………………………

Postcode ……………………………………………………….

E-mail address …………………………………………………

Please circulate this Newsletter to friends who may be interested. Thank you.

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on Geopoetics News December 2016 · Categories: Uncategorised

The latest issue of our online journal Stravaig is now available to read here: http://bit.ly/2hWgzdI

It’s been a long time in the making but its poems and essays are well worth reading. The essays include the first and second place prize winners in the Hugh Miller Writing Competition.

Many thanks to all the contributors and to Bill Taylor who designed the new look Stravaig. Your feedback on its content and form would be most welcome.

2017 promises to be a big year for the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics with our Expressing the Earth conference in collaboration with the University of the Highlands and Islands taking place from 22-24 June 2017 in Argyll. Full details will follow in January but right now we’re looking for proposals for engagement in the event:

Expressing the Earth

A Trans-disciplinary Conference
the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics
in collaboration with the
University of the Highlands and Islands
Seil, Easdale, Kilmartin and Luing, Argyll
22-24 June 2017
Call for Engagement:
Creative workshops, presentations, papers and performances

‘Geopoetics is concerned, fundamentally, with a relationship to the earth and the opening of a world’.

The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and the University of the Highlands and Islands will host Expressing the Earth in Argyll 2017 to bring together creative artists, musicians, poets and film makers along with academics, researchers, students and teachers to explore, create and debate the earth and the environment in this spectacular area of Scotland.

‘Atlantic space, the west coast of Europe, is characterised in the first instance by fragmentation … a multitude, a proliferation of islands and peninsulas separated by difficult waters. It is a territory of dispersion and precariousness – but each fragment is exact in itself, there is no confusion in this plurality. In a word, unity is not something given, to be taken for granted, it has to be composed.’ (Kenneth White, 2004)

Expressing the Earth will look to the multitude and proliferation of the islands and peninsulas and address the ways in which people are influenced and brought together by these features from the Neolithic and Bronze Age, early Celtic Christian heritage and seafaring history to more recent industrial exploitation of the Slate Islands.

Themes and activities, rooted in Geopoetics, include literature, history, visual arts, film making, archaeology, geology, geography and theology – with active engagement and creative outcomes as central to the conference as academic papers and presentations.

The conference will take place at the Seil Island Hall in Argyll with field activities also in Kilmartin Glen, Easdale Island and the Isle of Luing. Poetry readings, musical performances and social gatherings will play a key part in the conference programme and it is intended that publications and exhibitions will follow.

Please send a 200 word proposal, title, short bio and supporting images, if appropriate, to Mark Sheridan, Reader in Music and Creativity at the University of The Highlands and Islands, by 15 January 2017 – mark.sheridan@uhi.ac.uk.

Further information on the programme, key speakers and content will be published in due course.

Membership

Please join or renew your annual membership (£10/£5 unwaged)
by sending your name, postal and e-mail address & a cheque
made out to the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics to our Treasurer,
David Francis 214 Portobello Road, Portobello EH15 2AU.

Please spread the word by sharing this Newsletter with others.

Season’s Greetings to you all! We hope to hear from you in 2017.

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on Geopoetics News October 2015 · Categories: Uncategorised
 

If you’d like to know more about what geopoetics is, the best place to start is our website at www.geopoetics.org.uk where you will find an overview of geopoetics and 4 issues of our online journal Stravaig. Issue 4 contains essays on intellectual nomadism by Kenneth White, Martina Kolb, Bill Stephens and Norman Bissell, and on Rimbaud by Karen Strang and Mike Roman. It also has new poems and images by Morelle Smith, Alyson Hallett, Andrew McCallum and also by Gordon Meade and Douglas Robertson from their new book Les Animots: A Human Bestiary.

The International Institute of Geopoetics website is now available in English and contains many essays by Kenneth White including one on Alexander von Humboldt and An Outline of Geopoetics. http://www.institut-geopoetique.org/en/the-geopoetics-review.

Our AGM in Portobello in August decided to produce this Newsletter twice a year and to continue to publish Stravaig annually in the Spring. It also agreed to make plans for a major conference on geopoetics in 2017 and we have already had fruitful discussions with representatives from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and the University of Glasgow about this. Watch this space!

Stravaig Issue 5 Call for Submissions
We are looking for submissions of essays, poems, short stories and images on the general theme of geopoetics to be sent to nbissell@btinternet.com no later than Tuesday 23 February 2016. Prose should be a maximum of 3,500 words and no more than 4 poems should be submitted. Relevance to the wide field of geopoetics will be one of the main criteria for selection.

To keep up to date with the latest geopoetics news, why not Like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ScottishGeopoetics?fref=ts and follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/@SCGeopoetics?


Photograph by Mike Knowles

We were very sad to learn of the death of Tessa Ransford in September. She made an outstanding contribution to poetry in Scotland as a poet, founder of the Scottish Poetry Library and promoter of poetry pamphlets; and to culture in general, both here and internationally, which will live on and be her legacy to the world. She was passionate about many causes and in recent years joined the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and came with us on some of our walks. Her latest poetry collection A Good Cause from Luath Press was well named. Further information and reviews of her other books and much more are at http://www.wisdomfield.com/.

A Memorial event for Tessa Ransford will be held on Monday 7th Decemberat 7.30pm in St Andrew’s and St George’s Church , George St , Edinburgh .

We are delighted to partner the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and The Friends of Hugh Miller in supporting and promoting Testimonies of the Rocks: the Hugh Miller Writing Competition. Poems, non-fiction and fiction inspired by the geological and landscape writings of Hugh Miller, Scotland ’s celebrated self-taught geologist, are invited by Friday 18 March 2016. Miller was a poet and prolific writer and this competition, open to all ages, will encourage a renewed interest in his work, a catalogue of new writings inspired by him and greater awareness and appreciation of Scotland ’s geodiversity. See more at: http://bit.ly/1Gv1CdG.

Upcoming Events

Thursday 29 October at 6.30pm Les Animots: A Human Bestiary at Books and Beans 22 Belmont Street, AB10 1JH Aberdeen . Gordon Meade will read from his eighth collection of poems, a collaboration with the artist Douglas Robertson, published by Cultured Llama Publishing. http://www.culturedllama.co.uk/ http://on.fb.me/1ic9V2n

Saturday 14 November 10am-4pm Traditions in Place Perth and Kinross
A day event at Perth Concert Hall, for musicians, dancers, storytellers, promoters, teachers, community activists etc interested in the traditional arts and oral and local history: a chance to share knowledge and find out about resources for the traditional arts in Perth and Kinross. Speakers include musicians Pete Clark, Steve Byrne and Kath Campbell, storyteller Jess Smith and Local History Officer Nicola Cowmeadow.  Further information and booking here: http://bit.ly/1Mg6IXj

Monday 23 November 2015 at 6.30pm The Last Man in Europe Oban Phoenix Cinema A talk and readings from the novel in progress The Last Man in Europe by Norman Bissell about the last years in the life of George Orwell on Jura and elsewhere. He will outline Orwell’s love of nature and tell the dramatic story of his near drowning in the Corryvreckan Whirlpool and his desperate struggle to finish ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ on Jura before his health failed him. This will be followed by a showing of the film ‘1984’ starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. http://bit.ly/1LZjVrC

Wednesday 25 November 2015 Scottish Geodiversity Forum Conference at Battleby near Perth . A world-class visitor attraction – Scotland ’s Landscape, fashioned by geology: this Sharing Good Practice event, organised by the Forum and Scottish Natural Heritage, will explore what’s currently on offer, and how the sector might develop and expand. http://scottishgeodiversityforum.org/

Friday 27 November at 7.45 pm Atlantic Islands Centre, Isle of Luing A Talk and Reading by Carla Lamont, author of The Ninth Wave: Love and Food on the Isle of Mull as part of Scottish Book Week, supported by the Scottish Book Trust. Full details at http://on.fb.me/1H6rWpf.

Tuesday 1 December Book launch of Disko Bay by Nancy Campbell Enitharmon Press, London . The poems in Nancy Campbell’s first collection transport the reader to the frozen shores of Greenland and relate the struggle for existence in the harsh polar environment to modern life and traditional ways of subsistence. http://www.nancycampbell.co.uk


Wednesday 27 January at 8pm Pulse Mairi Campbell Tron Theatre Glasgow
Drawing on her combined fluency in Celtic tradition, free improvisation and classical idioms, as well as her personal artistic journey, the award-winning Scottish singer and fiddler/viola player Mairi Campbell performs a new one-woman show that blends live and recorded music with animation, dance, movement and storytelling. http://bit.ly/1k6EIi8

Saturday 5 March 10.30am-4.30pm Geopoetics in the National Galleries of Scotland Collections: Bill Taylor. A guided tour of the Collections in the National Galleries of Scotland , Edinburgh led by artist Bill Taylor, a Geopoetics Council member. A date for your diary – full details to follow in the next Newsletter.

Members’ Books
Thinking of Christmas gifts? Why not choose books written by our members?

Kenneth White Guido’s Map: A European Pilgrimage A new narrative prose book in which Kenneth White moves over spaces and among places, ranging from Ireland to the Balkans via Spain , from Glasgow to Trieste via Bilbao . This and his Ideas of Order at Cape Wrath: a collection of essays on cultural politics, Latitudes & Longitudes: a new collection of poetry, and The Winds of Vancouver which charts his travels in British Columbia and Alaska are available from http://bit.ly/1MQp3ea

James McCarthy A Short Call to Arms, a military memoir can be obtained from mccarthy-james4@sky.com for a modest donation to the Askari Appeal.

Martina Kolb Nietzsche, Freud, Benn, and the Azure Spell of Liguria, University of Toronto Press, about the influence of the Ligurian coastal area of Italy on three seminal German writing modernists – Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Gottfried Benn. Available from http://bit.ly/1icdpSs.

Mavis Gulliver Slate Voices: Cwmorthin & Islands of Netherlorn, a poetry collection set in Scotland ’s slate islands and the slate mines of North Wales with Jan Fortune. Also Cry at Midnight, a children’s adventure story. www.cinnamonpress.com

Christian McEwen Sparks from the Anvil The Smith College Poetry Interviews with 16 poets by the author of World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down http://bit.ly/1Mg9sE6.

Norman Bissell Slate, Sea and Sky Luath Press. A new paperback edition of my poetry collection which contains an Introduction and some new poems as well as photographs by Oscar Marzaroli is out now. A signed and dedicated copy can be obtained from me at this e-mail address. You can also Like my book page on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1OUthHB.

Membership

Please join or renew your annual membership (£10/£5 unwaged) by sending your name, postal and e-mail address & a cheque made out to the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics to our Treasurer, David Francis 214 Portobello Road, Portobello EH15 2AU.


To unsubscribe, just send an e-mail to Norman Bissell at normanbissell@btinternet.com.

Please share this Newsletter with others.

 

 

 

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on Geopoetics News July 2015 · Categories: Uncategorised
Geopoetics News July 2015                        
Stravaig Issue 4: Intellectual Nomads
Issue 4 of our online journal Stravaig is now live and contains essays on intellectual nomadism by Kenneth White, Martina Kolb, Bill Stephens and Norman Bissell, and on Rimbaud by Karen Strang and Mike Roman. It also has new poems and images by Gordon Meade, Doug Robertson, Morelle Smith, Alyson Hallett, Andrew McCallum and many more. Many thanks to Nancy Campbell for all her great work editing it and to Steve Pardue for creating it online. Sorry that issue 4 and this Newsletter are late due to illness, but they are well worth reading.
Stravaig Issue 3 is still available at http://www.geopoetics.org.uk/online-journal-stravaig/stravaig-3/.  It has 8 essays and 14 poems on the theme Geopoetics in Practice ranging from Aberlady Bay to Saudi Arabia, from Illinois to Iona.
Upcoming Events
 
Our SCFG AGM will take place on Saturday 8 August at 12 noon at the Dalriada, 77 the Promenade, Portobello. We would like to see more people taking an active part in the SCfG and will be discussing how best to take it forward e.g. what should we be offering members? Would crowdfunding enable us to pay someone to carry out admin, develop our website, plan and lead activities etc? Contact me if you would like to attend and you will receive an agenda etc.
 
Living Well on Luing Events at the Atlantic Islands Centre
Thursday 23 July: Seafood cookery & Words and Music night
Friday 24 July Geology Talk and Walk
Saturday 25 July Botany and Poetry Walks 
 
Thursday 16 July The Oxford launch of The Interpreter’s House No.59 by Nancy Campbell at The Albion Beatnik at 7.30 pm. There’ll be kayak poems and more.
 
Scottish Geodiversity Forum
A world-class visitor attraction – Scotland’s Landscape, fashioned by geology: Wednesday 25 November 2015 at Battleby near Perth. This Sharing Good Practice event, organised by the Forum and Scottish Natural Heritage, will explore what’s currently on offer, and how the sector might develop and expand. http://scottishgeodiversityforum.org/
 
 
To unsubscribe, just send an e-mail to Norman Bissell at normanbissell@btinternet.com.
 
Please share this Newsletter with others.