June: publication of An Oakwoods Almanac (Shearsman) with cover and interior b&w images by Morven Gregor. A prose book of two oakwoods, Sunart in Ardnamurchan and Morvern and in and around the Turku archipelago in Finland :
April 4th: exhibition of Sunart work with Morven Gregor alongside Tim Collins and Reiko Goto's work on the Black Wood of Rannoch at Summerhall in Edinburgh (until May 22nd).
22nd: my new book fault line - will be the first book to appear with the brand new Vagabond Poets press (part of the Vagabond Voices imprint).
30th : Key Speaker at University of Glasgow's Solway Centre: Walking: Textual Landscapes, followed on 31st by a walk.
25th - 31st: invitation to install work in Berlin's rivers
(with microbiologist Simon Park) as part of SOUNDOUT! festival
17th - 24th: Residency in Sweeney's Bothy, Isle of Eigg
(with photographer Morven Gregor).
11th (until SEPTEMBER 14th): landwriting installation at
Caol Ruadh Scottish Sculpture Park.
17th - 25th: I'll be walking the 134-mile brand new John Muir Way from Dunbar to Helensburgh right across Scotland with US poet & Sanskrit scholar, University of Naropa Professor Andrew Schelling (visiting for this event). We'll be making poems and sowing seeds (RBG sourced and SNH approved) native to both US & Scotland along the way to bring to life a schemata-poem by Alec Finlay. Reading at Glasgow Botanic Gardens 25th April & Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens 26th April. We'll be informally sent off on the night of the 16th April in Dunbar. Somewhere along the way we'll be accompanied for a spell by Peter Manson, Jeffrey Robinson, Colin Will, Amy Porteous & Morven Gregor. John Muir might be with us in spirit. Hannah Devereux will document the whole way. All will appear in a blog as we walk.
reading at the Scottish Writers Centre event at the CCA, Glasgow "Another kind of north:poems from and about Finland."
September: to Slovenia to read at Vilenica International Literary Festival.
August: to Finland for part 2 of my landwork for Saari Manor: Sanctuary.
July: Changing Ground: land and art exhibition, Barony Centre, West Kilbride; two neon works and a land flag.
April: appointed to Walking with Poets Residency with Royal Botanic Gardens / Scottish Poetry Library at Dawyck Botanic Gardens.
February: appointed to By leaves we live Artist's Residency with Planning Aid for Scotland / Forestry Commission: Forest Restructuring.
Now: a tune from the soon-to-be-released-for-free download self-titled dick jitsu album can be heard here: sister jasmin with lyrics from my '87 Holy Loch Soap
3rd / 4th a commission for the first Alloa Poetry Jam, organised by John Goodby - readings in Alloa Tower and Dollar Glen
Orchard, my exhibition with Donald Urquhart opens at the Scottish Poetry Library - up all summer until 29th September
Artists' talk at the SPL tweeted by Jennifer Williams here: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/
A talk and reading at Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Festival - "Nothing not wild".
in Nuremberg reading at the German American Institute, recorded by Andrei Dosa and posted here: http://andreidosa.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/lectura-gerry-loose/
Awarded Hermann Kesten Stipendium for 2012
An invitation by the Slovene Writers' Association to visit Maribor in Slovenia, one of this year's European Capitals of Culture to work with a Slovenian writer: the brilliant Milan Dekleva.
At some point in 1995, on the main gate
to Queen's Park in Glasgow, the words EAT THE RICH were painted in red.
It struck me then as now to be a reasonable suggestion, bringing to
mind Jonathan Swift's 1729 Modest
Proposal For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From
Being A burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them
Beneficial to The Public (by eating them: a young healthy child
well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and
wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make
no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.) After
this I began to notice in newspapers instances of this happening. In
the following year I noticed DOG BITES MP in The Guardian; WOMAN BITTEN
BY ANGRY SEAL (Scotland on Sunday) & SCOTTISH HEIRESS EATEN BY
CROCODILE (Daily Record). These cuttings I filed, storing them as I
Then, this year another two came my way: 85,000 BITTEN BY SHARKS (from the typeface, I think this is a cheap free newspaper often found on the train I use to get to town) & yesterday from i: DOLPHIN JUMPS ON WOMAN SAILOR.
Bankers, Politicians, please take note.
I'll be in Finland at the 25th Lahti International Writers' Reunion
from 17th -21st June, reading & watching the midsummer midnight writers' football match.
I'll be in Cork at the 15th SoundEye Festival from 13th - 17th July, reading and not watching any writers' football games.
a completely free and downloadable postcard with a
poem from the
fault line series is available here, thanks to Andy Spragg. It's the first of a range of poetry he'll be putting out.
from last year (but I was away from
home & didn't mention the publication of) an issue of Julie
Johnstone's splendid Edinburgh based essence
series with a one word poem of mine to
be seen here
It was published to coincide with the Scottish Poetry Library's Small Press Book Fair on 25th September
also from last year a poem-card from the wonderful Longhouse Press of Bob & Sue Arnold in Vermont; number 2 in the Fabulous Futures series. It follows on from an earlier poem-card by the same press in the enduring Love Thy Poet More (& More & More & More & More . . .!) series.
In all cases small is beautiful.
More from fault line at Free Verse
More from fault line to be read on Catapult to Mars
DecemberSome poems from my new sequence fault line
A BBC Radio Scotland programme I took part in is
being aired today at 11:30 UK GMT; then available for five days to
listen again It's about walking in the Sunart oakwoods. It was made
last summer. I'm still in Finland and walking the local woods. The
Sunart oaks seem more than the thousand miles and one season away from
here that they are.
Mynämäki oaks send greetings to Ariundle.
I'm away from home for awhile, in Finland. I think there might not be many postings to the Carbeth journal. Instead, I've started Saari seasons. I think it complements the Ardnamurchan Journal, in that I walk in another northern oak woodland; this one at a latitude of 60 degrees north.
A new show opening today at the
Collins Gallery in Glasgow:
Crossing Alba. It's a record of two trips across Scotland.
Morven Gregor & I rowed through the Forth & Clyde Canal from the Firth of Forth in the east to the Firth of Clyde at Easter this year. Our trip, in a beautiful Faroese double ended sixteen footer took nine days at Easter this year. Meanwhile, Ian Stephen & Emmanuelle Waeckerle sailed from Stromness in Orkney to Stornoway in Lewis. Their trip took 42 hours. Morven Ian & I had long planned the row, but Ian's boat El Vigo sprang a leak & prevented him from rowing anything but the first day. Getting El Vigo back to Stornoway for repairs was the priority. Nothing ever certain about boats. Both voyages are represented in the Collins show: "a multi-facetted installation comprising film, performance, photography, storytelling, sculpture, textile, print, prose and poetry" . Logs and images are in the accompanying publication Crossing Alba.
Morven also re-enacted part of the row which was fillmed and is shown in the Gallery. It's that part of the row at Dalmuir drop lock where we had to portage our 16-footer across a busy main road, waiting for the pedestrian crossing lights to go on for us. You can get the flavour of it here at
Lady in a Boat.
(Lady of the Boat is also the 5th part of Lady Murasaki's Tale of Genji)
June 30th: from Carbeth: the unfinished hut :
It’s been a long time since I saw my friend Takaya, since he lives in Kyoto, but last week he visited and we drank and ate and talked and walked as we do at all our meetings. Right now Takaya is making a garden path. He is slowly putting this together from stones he collects on his 5 mile daily walk on Omuro – the little hill behind his house which has 88 shrines. Each shrine is a little hut in itself, dedicated to buddhas (inside each is a seated buddha, or sometimes the founder of Ninnaji), and the whole walk along these shrines is in the grounds of Ninnaji temple. The course of the walk echoes the 88 temples’ pilgrimage of Shikoku Island south of Hiroshima.
(replaces June 8th entry; continue reading at the unfinished hut site: link below)
I've made an entrance into a new sort of almanac/journal: Carbeth: the unfinished hut. This will probably change in appearance over the next few weeks; but I've made a start. Changes won't be fast (nor maybe will entries) but will come. If you read the entrance, you'll understand why.
Carbeth huts have been there for getting on a hundred years. After fourteen years of dispute & rent strike with the landowner, Carbeth Hutters Community Company has the chance to buy & manage the hutting areas. A phased community buy out. You can read more on the remarkable Bella Caledonia site here (scroll down to the entry for April 20th 2010) & here. The response you'll find in the unfinished hut, however, will be wider than the purely political aspects of landownership - it'll take in what it means to inhabit a hut. And what it has meant to others in other places. A place of both community & solitary reflection.
The poem-plant labels made for StAnza 2010 have been retained in St
Andrews for an indefinite period.
They may be seen still in the front & back gardens of the Preservation Trust Museum & one at the Town Hall. The labels for plants which St Andrews Botanic Gardens supplied have been removed: the plants needed the expert care of the Botanic Gardens & were returned there.
Some poem-plant labels are currently to be seen at St Andrews as part of StAnza 2010, the annual poetry festival. They are standard botanic plant labels with a sort of errant guerrilla text as well as the botanic & common names of the plant they refer to. In a couple of instances the plant is not there, since it's the wrong time of year, in which case there is an extra label by way of explanation. Of sorts. They can be seen until 29th March at the Preservation Trust Museum, the Byre Theatre & at the Town Hall. The plants in question are a mixture of native & exotic: hart's tongue, phlox, mignonette, Japanese banana, another ornamental banana, lavender, rue, fennel, two apple trees, a rose, and mind-your-own-business. There's also a plastic wisteria. They'll be seen later this year at Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
Not long confirmed, Peter Manson & I will read together in Poland at Bydgoszcz University on 17th March & at Poznan University on the 19th.
BBC Radio Scotland programme Out Of Doors has some words from me in Glen Fruin & a few of my poems from fault line concerning the area. The programme also features Ian Stephen in Lewis, Alec Finlay at Little Sparta & Helen Boden in the Pentland Hills. Listen for four more days here.
(100 short poems concerning the landscape round Faslane, Scotland's
nuclear submarine facility) will be published in its entirety in
issue 10 of The International Literary Quarterly, the online journal, (www.interlitq.org) on February 1st.
Bob & Susan Arnold’s remarkable & unrivalled Longhouse press in Vermont has published a beautiful fold-out booklet of mine – Starworks. To find it, go here & link to What's New at Longhouse Fall 2009. Scroll down slowly - there's news of many fine publications from the imprint. You'll come to Starworks soon enough.
In a roundup with other publications, titled Some Beauty,
Bob Arnold mentions my Oystercatcher Press pamphlet the deer path to my door (see below
at the March 18th entry).
Go here: http://longhousepoetryandpublishers.blogspot.com/
& scroll down to December 11th, but again, don’t scroll down too quickly, it’s all rewarding reading.
Visit http://www.longhousepoetry.com/ to find a world of poetry publication I thought had disappeared – publications by & for folk who make & shape poetry of all kinds.
A Wilder Vein (see below) has been
named by The Independent as one of the best nature & environment
books for Christmas 2010 : read here
There are other reviews & mentions in the Irish Times, The Scottish Review of Books & The Great Outdoors (but no links to those) as well as a feature in November on Radio 4's Excess Baggage programme & in the Scotsman, here as well as a pre-publication article & extract of fellow contributor Rajah Shehadeh's work in the Guardian here.
person himself was one of Tom Leonard's
choices for his Books of the Year in the Sunday Herald
Just arrived - my copies of Two Ravens Press anthology A Wilder Vein, edited by Linda Cracknell, with a foreword by Robert Macfarlane.
It contains extracts from my Ardnamurchan Almanac.
(ISBN 978-1-906120-43-6; £10.99 Publication date November 2 2009)
Peter Manson & I
will be reading at the Irish Writers' Centre,
Dublin to celebrate International Translation Day on September 30th.
Peter will read from his Mallarme work & I'll read some versions
from the Japanese.
my new book that person himself is now available here
read what's written on the back cover:
"That Person Himself" is a tender, angry and grimly humorous work that confronts the more vicious absurdities of human thought: the chilling blend of doggedly opaque legalese and naked statements of intent that govern troops, nuclear weapons programmes, the strategic use of mass casualties, the "War on Terror". Gerry Loose leads us to face the unthinkable by creating a fragmented narrative of interwoven myths, strange articles of faith, bodily frailty, human anguish, beauty and horror. There is a sense here of minds in flight from injuries beyond description, ghosts of mortality and the threat of impossible suffering in vulnerable lives, vulnerable landscapes, vulnerable flesh. This is an important, powerful book - part prophecy, part lament - an hallucinogenic demonstration of how lost we can become when we conjure the power of our own nightmares. AL Kennedy
with a Scots burr, a Glaswegian Gunslinger on the road to ruin?
world with a new ear, that person himself speeds down the highways to a
soundtrack scanned off the AM dial and backed with a missa solemnis
from the great books. Anubis meets Coyotefox in a wild bestiary,
the fable of the atomic age, a myth-weave for past and future
forgotten in political euphoria and economic panic. Now read
poem is proof beyond doubt that the Old Ways are resilient, & still
power and beauty. Building on his earlier work with haiku, Scottish
botanical stdies, this book shapes up as something of an epic of the
era. Its grounds are are the roads and landscapes of the American West
– a pilgrimage
beset by ghosts, military personnel, blues singers, and weird documents
before moving on to Hiroshima & the modern heart of darkness. There
little miracle of plant life returning to devastated Japanese precincts
despite assertions that nothing would grow for a century – and I
lists of botanicals as one long prayer of great hope.
"This wonderful collection by Gerry Loose leads language through its own moving landscapes, as well as others trodden, tended and observed by the author. Wry, lyrical, daft, philosophical – these lines are alert to miniscule shifts in natural phenomena and thought, the tracks of language glistening under starlight, sun and ample Scottish rain falling through, ah, Scotch mist.
However exact the registration
of wren and sorrel glimpses, Gerry Loose ensures that a generosity of
syntactic ambiguity allows room for perception to think
ways through to new thoughts, new ecosystems, in which the term
‘human nature’ ceases to have meaning.
The poetry opens out in every direction, steeped in alertness and ready for anything, which therefore appears."
Purbeck stone with my poem in the shape
of infinity to be read many ways will soon be put in place at
Springburn Park as part of Alec Finlay's
Stobhill Gate project
there will (probably) be no new entries to
An Ardnamurchan Journal
September 19th commission to make a Poetry Flag for National Poetry Day (October 9th) to be flown in the Botanic Gardens, Glasgow.
September 18th reading at Glasgow School of Art (St Mungo's Mirrorball) with Peter Manson.
September 9th launch of poetry on stairwell, in lifts & on 3 panels at Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh; a commission for Art in Hospitals.
August 18th reading at the Edinburgh Book Festival with Norrie Bissell.
August 16th reading at the inaugural West Port Book Festival.
August 8th & 9th
reading at the Tartan Heart Festival with Tom Leonard & Mandy Haggith
The From Kyoto to Carbeth show has reached its last venue, the Scottish Poetry Library. Kenichi Suganuma, the Consul General for Japan opened the show on 31st July. Thanks are due to all there, especially Lizzie MacGregor, who kindly supplied all the plants for the ikebana.
My flag to celebrate the 90th birthday of Nelson Mandela will be first flown from the Glasgow Botanic Gardens flagpole on Friday 18th July at 11am. It was a commssion from Culture & Sport, Glasgow & made by James Stevenson (Flags) Ltd., Glasgow. I'll try to get some images for this site of when it's raised. There will also be music by Allan Tall.
(flag image below & another on the Home page)
July 10th reading at the 'Activism, Apocalypse & the Avant Garde' conference at Edinburgh University.
read bliss is bliss at Gists & Piths
From Kyoto to Carbeth: poems & plants of the hills
(Scotsman review of this show at: REVIEW)
For four years I've been collaborating with Takaya Fujii in Kyoto. Each day Takaya walks the 88 shrines of the pilgrim path on Omuro, the little hill behind his house in the foothills north west of the city. I've walked this path with him many times. Here he watches the unfolding of the seasons & each month selects a plant relevant to both the season & to the culture of Japan. He makes an arrangement of this,
sends me the name of the plant & I make a poem concerning this plant, if I know it, or a Scottish equivalent. The poem is translated, given to a calligrapher, Seigan Urai, who makes his versions
& to a ceramic artist, Mikako Kawai
who designs & makes a vase for that specific plant. All these artists have an extraordinary grasp of plants.
Poems, translations, calligraphy & ceramics will be shown at the Galerie Weissraum, Kyoto from January 10th until 31st 2008, (where it is called from plant to plant).
After that, Kyoto to Carbeth will be at the
Collins Gallery, Glasgow 23rd February - 5th April 2008
Hill House, Helensburgh 14th April - 18th May 2008
Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries 24th May - 26th June 2008
Scottish Poetry Library during the Edinburgh Festival
1st August - 12th September 2008.
There will be a book of all poems & translations, with images of the calligraphy & ceramics by Morven Gregor.
A sequence from Printed on Water has been chosen for inclusion in the Scottish Poetry Library's 20 Best Poems for 2007, edited by Alan Spence. You can read it here: from the deer path to my door.