On a scorching summer’s day, Clare Wadd undertakes a long-distance west London walk down Uxbridge Road
It’s been a strange but long-held desire, this. Originally conceived before I did much walking in London, and always conceived as something to write about, back in the early days of Smoke – A London Peculiar, I thought it would be interesting – not the walk itself, but the fact of doing it – to walk to Uxbridge down the Uxbridge Road.
It starts at Shepherd’s Bush roundabout and goes kinda straight west-ish for about 15 miles, all the way to Uxbridge. Well, give or take. A manageable distance, a social journey. Maybe a culinary journey too, who knows. The antidote to themed walks, to long-distance trails in beautiful countryside. The starter-finisher project to not aspire to. Long. Dull. Trudgey. It’s taken me a dozen years to finally bother walking it, spurred on by social media, which enables it to be interactive, interesting, and maybe actually fun. Even better, my partner said he wanted to come along (my first thought being oh, that’ll make it really slow, but my second being how much more enjoyable it will be with two). (more…)
Last week, we had three copies of Lomond Campbell’s new album Black River Promise to give away on winners’ choice of CD or vinyl, courtesy of Heavenly Recordings.
We asked: Lomond recently performed Black River Promise with the Pumpkinseed Orchestra at the Edinburgh Fringe. Also on the bill were Modern Studies – a band boasting which regular Caught by the River contributor as a member?
And the answer is: Rob St. John. The winners are (more…)
New York Waterways, by Susannah Ray, was released last week by Hoxton Mini Press. Find some photos from the book, along with the photographer’s note, below.
Walt Whitman, in his 1856 poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”, ecstatically invokes New York City’s waterways. Passionately, deliriously, Whitman calls out to the tides, the gulls, the ferry passengers, the light, the clouds, the ships, the sailors, the waves, the cities on the far shore. All humans are divine in his eyes, their reflected faces anointed by “fine spokes of light” in the passing waters. “Suspend,” he cries, celebrating these moments unmoored from the sure time of the city.
Making Ends Meet by Andrew McNeillie
(Guillemot Press, paperback, 100 pages. Out now)
Review by Declan Ryan
About a third of the way into Making Ends Meet, Andrew McNeillie’s seventh collection, comes a poem called ‘A Poet: 21st Century’ which reads, in full, ‘A redundant light-house keeper/striking a match in a storm.’ There’s a disgruntled kind of glee in this, a pained recognition, but there’s more to the poem than aphoristic harrumph. The sense one gets, in context, is that this lack of worldly fame, the role as oddity, leftover or outsider, keeping on keeping on to little consequence, is no bad thing when all’s weighed up. This is a book of enthusiasms, hauntings and refusals, but often its keenest note is one of unexpected, at times distrusted, contentment. (more…)
Swims, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s lyrical celebration of wild swimming, is published by Penned in the Margins. Here, taken from the book, is her author’s note, followed by ‘XII, The Dart’, the section of the poem dedicated to the Devon river which holds a special allure for us here at CBTR HQ.
Swims is a long poem documenting twelve wild swims across England and Wales, beginning and ending in Devon, my home county, and moving through Somerset, Surrey, the Lake District, London, Snowdonia, Sussex and Cornwall. Each swim is conceived as an environmental action, testing the ways in which individuals might effect environmental change. They are interrupted by a sequence for my father, whose health deteriorated during the writing of the poem; part of this sequence features swimming in the Aegean Sea. (more…)