Nancy Campbell

Background
I grew up in the Scottish Borders, and read English Literature at Oxford University. An interest in the form of books as well as their content led me to study an apprenticeship in letterpress printing with Barbarian Press in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Later I developed my knowledge at The Center for Book Arts in New York City, and have editioned books for fine presses across Britain and North America.

My practice has returned to writing. I continue to enjoy collaboration with visual artists; recent commissions include projects with Ralph Kiggell and Sarah Bodman for Poetry Beyond Text.

Poetry and the Environment
My work is prompted by the interaction of humans with nature, whether the giant gastropods of the Pacific North-west (An Edifying Essay upon Slugs, 2001), the counting chants of Cumbrian shepherds (Yan Tan Tethera, 2006) or vanishing icebergs (How to say ‘I love you in Greenlandic: An Arctic Alphabet, 2011).

I was introduced to the ecology of Massachusetts and the work of H.D. Thoreau by artist Abigail Rorer over a decade ago. Thoreau’s journals have helped me overcome my despair at climate change; he suggests ways for a writer to simplify life and still contribute to society. I discovered the work of Kenneth White in 2010, thanks to a fortuitous meeting with Norman Bissell and other poets in Assynt. It has been exciting to learn about the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and encounter the work of its members. Geopoetics brings together many ideas that concern my own work, and as I continue to puzzle these out, the dialogue with other members is very welcome.

I am pursuing my own ‘North Atlantic Investigations’, completing a poetry collection that draws on my experiences as writer-in-residence at Upernavik Museum in Greenland. I return to the Arctic for a residency at Siglufjörður (Iceland) in 2012.

I can be found at www.nancycampbell.co.uk
or on Twitter @nancycampbelle

HTSILYIG-A

The Night Hunter

I am a poet. I am writing about Aua, the night hunter
and how his feet compact the snow and leave deep traces
as he passes my door destined for the harbour
where his boat is moored. I never see him. He might be a ghost

but that his feet compact the snow and leave deep traces.
When he is sleeping, as if by agreement, I go to the shore
where his boat is moored. He might be a ghost. I never see him
emerge from the long darkness. In the brief daylight,

when he is sleeping, as if by agreement, I go to the shore.
I see drops of blood, and strange soft ochre things
emerge from the long darkness in the brief daylight.
The ice shelf bears the mark of sled and knife –

I see drops of blood, and strange soft ochre things.
All through the night none may yawn or wink an eye.
The ice shelf bears the mark of sled and knife.
The shaman tells the village, bound to him by hunger:

‘All through the night none may yawn or wink an eye.’
I am a poet. I am writing about Aua, the night hunter
who is bound to the water, as I am bound to him by hunger.
I hear him pass my door, destined for the harbour.