See this BBC report on a series of black and white photographs of Britain’s “part-time islands” by Mikey Boardman. In other words, tidal islands.
Artist Luke Jerram has done previous art installations about the moon – and tides – see
Details of his new art work can be found here
T his is now an annual event
A run through esturine mud – at a spring low tide – Balckwater River, Essex, England
Here is a guest post from poet / artist Alec Finlay.
We are extremely pleased to host it.
From his forthcoming book Minnmouth
‘The poet’s justification is the richness of his vocabulary.’
– Sadok sudei II, A Trap for Judges II, Russian Futurist manifesto , 1913, D. Buriuk, E. Gure, N. Buriuk, V. Maiakovskii, E. Nizon, V. Khlebnikov, B. Livchits, A. Kruchenykh
This post by Alec Finlay is from a forthcoming book, Minnmouth, which consists of two complementary elements, namepoems and tidepoems, and is accompanied by tidesongs, a vocal composition by Hanna Tuulikki and Lucy Duncombe, derived from the text. The visual poems in the final section of the book are a score connecting the contents of the book with the songs. The sea is, once again, a theme for our time. Our relationship to the coast is changing. Minnmouth bodes the threat of coastal inundation and promise of marine renewables. The poems are anchored by place-names; they utlize the regional languages of the East Coast of the British Isles, from the Out Stack of Unst to Great Yarmouth.
Russian Futurist or willbeist poets referred to themselves as wordmakers; I have proposed wavewright and windwright to refer to designers of energy devices, and speechwright, for makars who follow the precepts of tidalpoetics. Minnmouth riffs off Futurist poetics, especially the inspired wordmaker Velimir Khlebnikov, who grew up by the Caspian Sea among the Kalmyk people, ‘Mongol nomads of a Buddhist faith’. Markov explains that ‘the sounds of foreign tongues’ marked his poetry in terms of sense and sound: this project follows Khlebnikov’s use of neologisms, dialect, and ancient languages. The book concludes with this sequences of detached sentences propose a fluxus from poetic devices to energy devices; a sketched history, part-lost, part-imagined, whose origins lie in the experimental analysis of wind by the windwright, EW Golding, at Costa Head, Orkney, in the early 1950s, to the wavewrights working today, at Billia Croo and Fall of Warness, Orkney, and Bluemull Sound, Shetland. Were it to exist, tidalpoetry would have evolved in Newhaven, Edinburgh, Ancroft Street (Glasgow), and a gypsy caravan at Germoe, Cornwall. It represents the dream of forging an alliance of wavewrights & speechwrights, of energy devices and designers of poetic devices; to create inter-disciplinary spaces for energised speech production, counter petrolio, and forge a post-carbon culture, or, at least, devise a poetics for a drowned world.
after Khlebnikov we used to say…
the wave is a breath
(the breath is a wave)
a word is a bubble of breath
The Great Wave: Language
the flow of speech is a sequence of waves breaking one after another
all speech is tidal: even the language that thinks itself a rock is no more than a tombolo of sand being shuffled along by the tide
language is made on the sea
(after Tristan Tzara)
the word has two dimensions: as sound sea / as thought land
(after El Lissitsky)
sometimes the sea is a sound and the earth a concept
sometimes the earth is a sound and the sea a concept
in on the ear, out on the tongue – language evolves tidally
we have no way of knowing why different waves affect us in different ways
poetics is a conception of Nature embodying the tide of Time
these dark depths contain a soundworld that is quite other to everyday speech
poetry is present when a word is felt as a wave
(after Roman Jakobson)
poetry is language gone out beyond the land
Time is the sail of syntax
the poem is a wave crossing from time to space
phonemes open mouths, form breakwaters, and release waves
phoneme: wave of sound
morpheme: wave of sound bearing meaning
phonemes give character to each wave and distinguish one wave from another wave
like a wave the phoneme has no specific meaning – but it remains meaningful
some phonemes are breakers marking boundaries within the sea of language,
others form the waves trough fetch, or spindrift
the significance of phonemes lies in mouths, bays, meres, and geos, not the ceaseless expanse of waves
poets can be divided into those who conceive the wave as a word and those who conceive it as a phoneme
a word is some letters with a wave washing over them
poet, sound a vocable until it opens out a swirl in your poem!
if I’m lucky poetry comes to meet me at the edge of the ocean
(after Gary Synder)
the poet dips his hands in the basin before composing
our first nine months are spent listening to tidepoems
in tidepoems sound rises and meaning flows
we speak and think before we have words, then we end up on the beach with a stick in our hand
a poem should emerge from the sea of locality
the oneline of the sea is composed of waves of simultaneity
the sea is more than notland – it is a linguistic element in which sound has a primary existence
a dictionary is a collection of waves – The Collected Ocean or A Concise Sea
a word’s potential energy is not defined by meaning alone
the poem is a device for transferring energy
(after Charles Olson)
poet: designer of devices
poems are capable of rhythmic variation, reusing found materials, condenser, and energy transfer
language is energised by the gyring of sound and sense
dialect is an energy resource
non-standard speech is technically innovative
dialect favours different angles of vowels
(after David Wheatley)
dialect is the order of words as much it is their orthography
as an element The Sea differs from region to region far more than The Air: a poetics of breath and tide naturally tends to favour dialect
a multi-dialect project blends currents within one sea
there is no universal language – only a daily struggle between dialect and textual authority
standard English seeks to eradicate dialect: nonstandard speakers innovate, adapting language and syntax generating energy
(after Manuel de Landa)
as with any efficient machine standard speech involves the minimisation of variation
the standardisation of language is a result of economies of scale – what is gained in terms of intelligibility is lost in terms of local accuracy
use makes language what it is – dialect is dialectical!
all languages undergo a sea-change – some coastlines erode, some survive
dialect’s drift / songs fetch
the flowering of energy production in wind, waves, & tides returns productive meaning to the sea, relocating the focus of poetics to coastal zones and their dialects
every region proposes a different relation between energy land-/seascapes, dialects, and poetics
the study of the sea and the study of the technologies of the sea are different disciplines, within one school
islands have played a pioneering role in the development of linguistic dialects and varieties of renewable technology
the relationship between the richness of Norn and the preponderance of renewable energy devices on Orkney cannot be proven, but it bears out Cunliffe’s theory that culture is at its richest where there is the greatest ratio – land : coast
islands are sites of experiment due to the demands of co-existence, limited resources, dangers of navigation, and stimulus of migration and immigration
decentralised solutions to energy: decentralised solutions to poetics
dialect before standard! windmills after petrolio!
General English, British Petroleum, Standard Oil
blades, tides, and consonants blow away the smell of oil
energy is not produced with waves but by the blades they turn
wind shifts the blades, sound shifts the sense – displacing existing knowledge, producing new meaning
the first windmill turbine was a helicopter propeller – the first zaum poem was a celebration of laughter
for Khlebnikov’s mystical Law of the Seesaw we now propose the Principles of the Wave
Schwitters was the Magellan of TidalPoetry
‘all poetry is is waves’
the noise waves produce is their time in space
each wave is opposed to the wave that follows it and the wave that comes after it
the amplitude of a waves of tidepoetry can be measured by the quantity of vowels and consonants
the sea runs deeper than the wave’s amplitude
not the poem per se, but the poem per sea
part of the res carried along in the ras
(after Charles Bernstein)
we do not sense the sea in the way we sense the land
in that Tidal Era waves became a measure of prosperity , heartbeats of human labour
ecopoetics of culture, and bright eyes the wellbeing of the nation
not translation, but transliteration (Kulbin)
or transletteration (AF)
Khlebnikov interpreted each letter as an operation: the stroke of script a wave of energy
Khlenbikov analysed thought in terms of individual sounds and letter forms
EW Golding analysed the wind in terms of its stochastic complexity
Golding’s pioneering analysis of wind The Generation of Electricity by Wind Power was published contemporaneously with Charles Olson’s pioneering analysis of breath, ‘Projective Verse’
before wind, wave, and tide could by harnessed for the generation of power or meaning they had first to be understood in their natural state
a wavedevice is a product of the intellect which must survive in the storm of feeling
a poemdevice is an interlocutor between designed intelligence and tidal expression
poetic devices test the possibilities of writing
a tidepoem reaches beyond rational land into the immeasurable domain of the sea
an array of devices producing energy and meaning: book of poems
the tension between sound and sense is the means by which tidepoems produce energy
with typography the problem is always: how do you get the waves in?
with handwriting the problem is how to keep the waves out
the typographer can attempt innovative representations of breath and tide, but the sea always remains absent from the page
with only a handful of letters you can fill an ocean with sense and sound
sometimes sound drives a wave through the bay
sometimes the beach accepts its sense
old meanings lie scattered as so many rounded stones on the shore
every speech community is shipwrecked eventually
Khlebnikov’s beyonsense could be translated seasense or tidesense – it refers to language carried beyond the bay of reason
‘…his tidalpoetry was a blend of Roman Jakobson and Jákup Jakobsen’
tidalpoetics returns a productive role to sound
tidepoems are multi-directional
namepoems tend toward the line
glottal bays, hidden reefs, boiling waves, spuming rhythms: tidepoem
tidepoems are open source
tidepoems are led towards error, dream, and prophecy, by phonemes
tidepoems resemble the knitting patterns of traditional ganseys
in Northumberland patterns for ganseys were only written down after people stopped
(after Katrina Porteous)
poetry can challenge the temporal legibility of language – the convention that a word has a time and a place and becomes obsolete from contemporary usage
the familiar problem of whether art should reflect new technologies thematically, or in terms of their manner of operations – whether to remain within the social world, or innovate in the linguistic laboratory?
some may speak of Tidism, dialect, dictionaries, and the renewability of the auld leid, but really we’re still struggling in the dinghy of the lyric trying to unclip our lifebelts
you can never step in the same poem twice
of course meaning belongs to the land but everyone needs to go for a swim or sail now and then
a poem can be splashed out or forced through the blades
a poet should be capable of paddling and summoning up a great squall
writing in dialect is a way to bathe – most poetry prefers to lounge by the pool
I like my poetry the way I like my sea: flutheran, cerulean, flecked with spume
There will come an in-shot tide with no ebb, a great flood of language inundating the land
Gansey: Sc., Scottish equivalent of Guernsey style fisherman’s jersey. The text draws on Velimir Khlebnikov’s theoretical writings, tr. Paul Schmidt, and the essays of Roman Jakobson, in particular Six Lectures on Sound and Meaning, tr. John Mepham.
Should be listenable to on-line for some months – but maybe only in the UK
“For this week’s Open Country Helen Mark explores the fascinating world of the Pill Hobblers – the ‘boat men’ who for centuries have risked their lives to keep ships safe on the River Avon.
The Pill Hobblers are known to have existed from at least the 17th centuary and still provide the linesmen who handle the lines for all shipping coming through the locks and onto the quaysides at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Docks. Alongside the ‘Pill Pilots’ (the skilled navigators who guided ships through the waters) the Hobblers of today still work much as they did hundreds or years ago, working the ropes to secure and release ships into the Bristol Channel.
The Hobblers are still required to live in Pill – the small North Somerset Village that generations of Hobblers have come from – to ensure swift access to the nearby docks so that they can be on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to tend to the ships just as they always have been.
Whilst visiting the village of Pill itself and The Royal Portbury Docks, Helen meets with Hobblers and Pilots – past and present – to hear how generations of local men have kept ships sailing – and trade flowing – safely into the 21st Century, come rain or shine.”
Presented by Helen Mark. Produced by Nicola Humphries.
“Alan Dein visits Morecambe Bay to investigate the aftermath of the 2004 cockle picking disaster. How did the community cope when 23 Chinese workers lost their lives in the bay?
The third programme in the Aftermath series, which explores what happens to a community after it has been at the centre of a nationally significant event.
Morecambe faced its greatest tragedy in February 2004, when a group of Chinese cockle pickers drowned in a bay notorious for its dangerous tides. The event brought to the country’s attention issues of people-trafficking and illegal gangmaster activity. As the media of the world descended, reported and left, the shock felt by locals lived on. Alan Dein looks at how the community changed as a result.”
Some detailed descriptions of what happened – and the tidal landscape itself. Link here
From the BBC website – where the programme is available for a while
“BBC coverage of Hull City of Culture will be extensive across 2017. At its very start, the award-winning poet Sean O’Brien reflects upon why his native city, its waterscape and landscape, have inspired poets past and present.
The programme features a specially commissioned new poem from Sean – a three-part memory-piece, which is also a love-song for Hull, its surroundings and their metaphorical resonance:
……..The great void
Where the land loses track of itself,
And the water comes sidling past at the roadside
Awaiting the signal to flood, is a kind of belief
Where there is no belief, is the great consolation
Of knowing that nothing will follow but weather and tides,
Yet also that when the world ends
There must be a Humber pilot keeping watch
As the great ships are passing silently away
Through the estuary’s mouth and the saw-toothed marriage
Of river and sea, and out past the fort at Bull Island
And over the edge, and away………….
Sean also celebrates the work of poets who have made the city their home: Andrew Marvell, a line from whose 17th Century poem, To His Coy Mistress, gives this programme its title; Philip Larkin, Stevie Smith and others. He brings in an eclectic range of music, including his personal favourite, Dirty Water, by local band The Fabulous Ducks.
He hears from the Hull-based geographer Chris Skinner, and poet Sarah Stutt.
Starting with memories of digging holes in the garden of the house where he grew up, via flood-cellars, culverts and drains, the smaller river Hull and the great estuarine river Humber itself, this highly-textured programme culminates with Sean at the top of the disused lighthouse at Spurn Point, gazing out into the North Sea.”
This BBC Radio 4 programme Hull Before Culture Thursday 5th Jan 2017 opened with these words
“I always think this about Hull – when the tide is in – you can feel that across the region – you can feel that, kind of, energy. But when the tide is out, it kind of drains the emotion of the people as well. It certainly does me.”
Spoken by programme present John Godber
This chimes very well with a number of literary accounts of the affective airs of high and low tides.
Call for Panels – III CHAM International Conference “Oceans and Shores: Heritage, People and Environments”
by Alice Santiago Faria
Your network editor has reposted this from H-Announce. The byline reflects the original authorship.
Type: Call for Papers
Date: July 12, 2017 to July 15, 2017
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Urban History / Studies
The III CHAM International Conference will be held in Lisbon, 12th to 15th July 2017, and its main theme is “Oceans and Shores: Heritage, People and Environment”.
The call for panels is now open. The deadline for proposals is 5th December.
Coastal seas and open oceans have always been a realm for epic adventures, for misfortunes and new discoveries, a place for the construction of stories and legends, and for the creation of…
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