Caught by the River


26th May 2019

Our latest roundup of the very best wordy, watery and sound-wavey titbits from around the internet

As part of Radio 3’s Along the River week, composer and sound artist Annea Lockwood talks about her fascination with these bodies of water and shares some of her favourite field recordings. Also on Radio 3, folk singer Julie Fowlis conjures kelpies, selkies and waterfall banshees from Gaelic song.

Distress frequencies, voice procedure and when to say it’s over: listen to Holly Corfield Carr’s astounding Radio 4 piece ‘Siren’.

Max Porter shares five books about being a tree with Book Marks – including CBTR touchstone Pollard (by Laura Beatty). ‘Good forestry, silviculture, the cutting of trees to care for them, to give them longevity, is an act of love, rather than harm, and we must live with trees not as if they are others, but as if they are our selves. In the pollarded tree we have an emblem of collaboration, of community, of endurance beyond using the tree for immediate human gain. I think of Pollard as a deeply pagan book, inasmuch as it is pointedly unromantic and deeply serious about what a human means to a tree, and vice versa.’

‘There are places in these notebooks where my handwriting has been smudged into illegibility by underground streams, or where mud and silt stains the pages brown, or where the spines and corners have been foxed and folded. These are, to me, as much part of the archive of a landscape as my poor-quality biro sketches and my transcriptions of conversations.’ Robert Macfarlane writes on the battered, bruised and smudged notebooks which accompanied him from the catacombs of Paris to Greenlandic glaciers during the writing of his latest book, Underland.

We are keeping a keen eye on Rose Ferraby and Rob St. John’s upcoming art/archaeology collaboration ‘Soundmarks’, which is to result in an exhibition, sound installation, book, interactive sound map, short film, and public workshops in mid/late 2019.

‘Grey and greying sky / reflected in choppy body, / as our matching heron / performs his balancing act for all to see.’ Read Kerri ní Dochartaigh’s poem ‘Atlantic Palimpsest’, dedicated to Heaney and the Peace Bridge. We were chuffed to learn of her recent book deal; congratulations Kerri and roll on 2021.

‘Muhammad Ali gave me his autograph in Moseley – I kept it in my Parka’. In the Guardian, poet and friend of the river Zaffar Kunial recalls growing up near Tolkien’s woods, playing cricket at Edgbaston and listening to the Beatles on cassette.

And finally, marking the end of her poet laureateship, Carol Ann Duffy presents poems about our vanishing insect world from the likes of Alice Oswald, Andrew McMillan, Sean Borodale and Martha Sprackland.