South West Poetry Tour #1 – David Devanny and John Canfield

The South West Poetry Tour was a 5 day collaborative initiative curated by Camilla Nelson and Steven Fowler in August 2016. The tour consisted of collaborative poetic performances at The Barbara Hepworth Museum (St Ives), The Poly (Falmouth), Schumacher College (Dartington), Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute (Bath) and Hauser & Wirth Somerset (Bruton). In addition to the collaborative efforts of the 6 touring poets – JR Carpenter, John Hall, Matti Spence, Annabel Banks, Camilla Nelson and SJ Fowler – the project featured work by 60 emerging and established poets from across the region. Supported by Arts Council England, The South West Poetry Tour has commissioned over 60 new works as part of its ambition to forge creative links between poets, artists, arts organisations and audiences locally, regionally and nationally. We are delighted to be able to share a small selection of these works through this special South West Poetry Tour edition of The Clearing.




Sanctuary of Neot.

Perhaps this pint-sized Pescatarian saint

was visited here by Alfred, for his counsel,

or maybe this was where the angels

came with messages about

how many fishes he could eat per day,

yet the well would stay replenished

and the body whole and soul intact.

Perhaps he couldn’t even stand

the smell of fish, but how do you

decline an angel’s diet?

So, perhaps what’s meant by sanctuary

is somewhere he could come and get

a bit of bread, or eggs.



Goonhilly Downs


a small moon has split on goonhilly downs


this is not     the splitting of the moon

in which one great slab half rests on

one side of the mountain – the other

behind the mountain


but the splitting of a small silly moon

maybe petit or waltemath

which has crashed down here


here on the lizard among cornish heath and willow fen

scattering adders and stonechats over

serpentine geologic fabrics between

ponds and barrows


yes several of its skeleton shells have de-skinned themselves

unbuckled here on the downs near the menhir

arthur merlin and more – now mythic monoliths with their own heirs

between the tumuli

or let’s now call them kurgans





Sacred enclosure of Saint Sulian.

A sixth century abbot

cloistered, as when all eight tiles

surround the monastery in Carcassonne,

and we the Cornish and the French

are not so different.

Or are you a Welsh variant of Julian,

become sunborn?

And we the Cornish and the Welsh

are not so different,

and would that we were closer still.

Or were you Scottish, Irish, Dutch,

German, Swedish, Danish, Greek,

Spanish, Belgian, Italian?

Despite what you have lately heard,

we are not so different.





and again i say unto you

it is easier for the camel to pass

between whiterock and trenant grit

than for cromwell to enter the kings chapel

or so it would have been before lovibond

built the bridge – back when it was just wade


no by then it was wide enough for some

five hundred dragoons and a thousand

horsemen and cromwell claimed the bridge

between the saltmarshes now re-claimed

for playing fields

and a car park


now between gonvena and guineaport

the crooked one wrangles

alienhead and not welcome here

floating used legendary chow mein packets

drifting over parliamentarian watertombs

ponswad for god and england



David Devanny is an award winning multi-media artist and poet from Bradford. He is a lecturer at Falmouth University where he is studying for a PhD in digital poetry in exhibition and performance. David’s print work has been published in a wide variety of magazines and in his debut pamphlet wasps on the way (Mews Press: 2012). His digital work was shortlisted for The New Media Writing Prize and his multimedia poetry has been presented and exhibited in a number of funded site-specific performances and exhibitions.

John Canfield grew up in Cornwall and now lives and works in London. His poetry has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. He works at the Poetry School.

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