Monday, 17 December 2012

Solstice




A little over six months ago friend and fellow poet Rebecca Bilkau asked me if I would like to help her compile a small anthology for the summer solstice: finding 24 poets to write a poem on each of the 24 hours of the longest day this year.

Well, who would refuse such a lovely idea?


We had a couple of weeks to get everyone in place - emailing poets we liked offering any hour of the day. Miraculously everyone got either the time they wanted or hadn't stipulated and were easy enough to take what they were given. A double check that everyone was happy - it being the kind of project that a no-show would mess things up - and then to wait until mid July for the poems to start to trickle though. Rebecca, never having typeset a book before offered to honour the poems in a beautiful and clear perfect-bound booklet.

What we've ended up with is an expanse of light - if emotion, history, thought and sightings are light - I think they are in a fleeting sense, in a energetical sense, in their ability to throw shadows and illuminate or blind. Here these experiences are weighted with word - given shape and resonance by being set down, like hours on a clock. At either solstice is a corner turned: here the length of summer already closes as we turn the pages. And in this week of the winter solstice, it feels even more potent that this is what we'll be turning towards again.

This transience is evident in the views of streetlamps, hedgerows, cafes, the rising light, swallows, rain, and ultimately the growing dark, its rituals, noises, pathways disappearing ahead.

I love this flickbook of hours, how I can settle into each hour and then be uprooted and replanted for the next. The preciousness of a day, of what each hour can give if it is wholeheartedly engaged with is flagged up by each page. Inspiring in its quiet, slender way.

As are all the poets whose imagination was caught by the unexpected email all those months ago and willingly offered to join in the idea. Thank you Helen Ivory, Andew McMillan, David Borrott, Jane Routh, David Tait, Joanne Reardon Lloyd, Jean Atkin,  Sheila Liggett, Jim Turner, Rebecca Irvine Bilkau, Maya Chowdhry, Wayne Burrows, Seni Seneviratne, Andrew Forster, Catherine Sadler, Elizabeth Burns, Martyn Halsall, Steve Waling, Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons, Carole Coates, Lorna Thorpe, Rhiannon Hooson and Polly Atkin. Thank you all!