Sunday, 9 October 2011

A wet week at Cove Park (but wet is good)

My grant from Arts Trust Scotland came through in the nick of time for me to take up my Fielding Mentored Week with Polly Clark.  This takes place at Cove Park in Argyll, a place that feels like the back of beyond and yet is strangely near to Glasgow...

I'm staying in a Cube, a charmingly converted industrial container.  It has retained a faint starkness, which is very suitable to the purpose of being isolated with your poetry project for one precious week.  Any asceticism is comfortingly eased however by high insulation, comfortable bed and delightful desk and sofa over the Big View. 

I'm working on The Dark Farms, which is all about The Galloway Forest.  It's about signs of change and time, both human and cosmological, passing, in a place where very dark skies survive, but farms are falling in, where the forests have swallowed up ancient paths, where there are even ghosts of sheep.

The Hunt  (an extract)
It’s intricate, this sheep ree, links and passageways
to fox them.  The sheep running like water

down the bitter face of Mulwhachar to pour
between the rock walls of the Buchan Burn. 

The smell of lanolin and panic, the Blackface
tricked by grinning dogs, who leave

no choices and no dodging back. And the dykes,
raddled with shearing dags and blood...

Polly's mentoring sessions were great.  Words like incisive and rigour do come to mind, but in a good way.  The poems are sharper, more honed, and more effective as a result.  I've learned a lot.  I've also put in a huge amount of time, even surprising myself somewhat at my dedication to task.  Usually I just don't have it, period.  Also, the rain.  It has rained some of every day, and all but one virtually constantly.  I get up now and then, regardless, and walk through water, greeting charming Highland cows, or up and down the steep road to the shore.  There are other artists here, a sculptor, a novelist, a film photographer, a biographer and now a performance artist too.  All great company.  My last night tonight, I'm planning to be back.


  1. Well met at Cove, Jean! Best of luck with the next phase of releasing the poems to the world. Rx

  2. Hi Rowena! Thanks - and while you were writing this, I was signing up to your blog. We're all be-netted. Hope the novel starts emerging into the rain. Jeanx

  3. Sound fantastic! Looking forward to the finished work.

  4. Titus - thanks - and what are you working on at the moment? Apart from the car, RIP, sorry to hear about that. Time we caught up...