The Bell Jar

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Sailing By


National Poetry Day comes but once a year, and this year’s (on Thursday October 3rd) has the theme of WATER which, frankly, is a bit of a gift. As Canal Laureate, I’ve spent much of this year dashing about from one canalside location to another, writing about canals and encouraging others to do the same. In a short while we’ll be revealing four new canal-based filmpoems on the canal laureate blog; all four were made by Alastair Cook, and with poems from Liz Berry, Ian McMillan, Ian Duhig and myself I hope they, er, reflect four different angles on canal life. If you’re in London you can see them screened at the Southbank Centre in the afternoon of National Poetry Day – if not, we’ll let you know as soon as they are up on the Waterlines blog.

Of the many good things that this year has brought, the chance to work with this artist, film-maker and force for good has been one of the best. We have new projects planned for 2014. Some will involve canals, of course. In the meantime, Alastair surprised me with an unexpected bonus to the canal films – a film of my ‘signature tune’, the Shipwright’s Love Song. This poem is written for a male narrator, but until now I haven’t heard it read by one – here, in Alastair’s own voice and with a soundtrack from my own boat, is a new film of that poem.

Filmpoem 34/ The Shipwright’s Love Song from Alastair Cook on Vimeo.

One comment on “Sailing By

  1. Mike Brewer
    October 1, 2013

    Sensuous, evocative. Specially liked “horizonless”. Perhaps the earth is flat after all.

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This entry was posted on October 1, 2013 by in Writing exercises.

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