Pocket Horizon

The object in the photograph is tiny – the little kit beside it, unrelated, is a pocket set of drawing tools. The black surface reflects the gilded scrollwork of a larger object to the right, out of the frame. But the little black disc set on three legs is a pocket horizon, used, once upon a time, for navigation.

A proper pocket-sized history of the object will be included in a forthcoming poetry pamphlet, Pocket Horizon, with new poems, artwork, and an introduction by Don Paterson.

The round, dark, reflective object on the right is a pocket horizon in the Whipple Museum.

The round, dark, reflective object on the right is a pocket horizon in the Whipple Museum.

Pocket Horizon has grown out of a fantastic workshop with Don, who generously met with a group whom I’ve had the pleasure to be part of for the past four years.

The Nevada Street Poets – Mick Delap (River Turning Tidal,) Lorraine Mariner (Furniture,) Sarah Westcott, Malene Engelund, and Dominic McLaughlin – all accomplished poets, all widely published in magazines and anthologies, and some the founders of their own successful poetry ventures (Mick was a founder of Magma, and Malene co-edits the Days of Roses Anthologies) – joined me in writing poems about objects in the Whipple Museum. Our guest poet is Richard Barnett, better known as an historian (Medical London; Sick City; The Book of Gin,) and a talented poet in his own right (winner of the Promis Prize, & published in Templar anthologies, amongst others).

Together, the seven of us spent an afternoon with Don discussing our new poems, in an intensely focussed and very fruitful workshop last Friday.

Part two of the project will see us tackling objects in the Wellcome Collection in a similar manner over the next two months.

Valley Press will publish Pocket Horizon this year, and I’m delighted to say that Cassie Herschel-Shorland will be our resident artist, drawing images of each object to accompany the poems.

We’ll be planning launch events around the pamphlet, so stay tuned…

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