South West Poetry Tour #5 – Annabel Banks & Matti Spence

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.


Conversation with Magic Stones

(after Barbara Hepworth)


Interior as height solution for blindness     stone-kind thing

odds    a core at future-neutered spinning space

know it altered    in the data in the observed unspectacular silence


how dare you / we are grown and don’t recall / bone-knit cradle /

you may speak now speak and tell us / meat


Bring me like a tall pot to an instance of place     I want to be where

the yarrow ladders about a sun-white wall and mother-

wort and the dimensionally defiant borridge

as if the somewhere-singer like an air-

fix diagram the instructions the arrows directing construction she is

with us is she


we won’t let you get away with a glance / place your hand

inside the circle to cry transgression in the language of shape /

fingertelling tip and crush / spinning inner ear /


a searchinghand part of a person impressed by the light on the west

her hands and those of the secretive assistants      her house

and loft later perilous


HOW will you understand begin neverend? / HOW will you understand

fingerlessness? /

HOW will you understand cold-as-heat?/ HOW will you understand

crush desire? /


When you see me turned      my backs to the outer     do you see me

defying the up-and-down of romantic perception      do you see me

turning to the centre of my own lake?


who are you in relation to us? / certain angles

delivered into soft space as simple view /

we cry at night when the doors are closed /


I am one of the many events on a string you drag about

your thought-yard      the drawn and coming-closer Marianne

Dreams stones       neither a pencil or the illusion of being somewhere asleep


You’ve done it now /    Broad face to squatter aspect /

More disappointed than angry /

more disappointed than


Annabel’s writing can be found in literary journals, magazines and anthologies including ShearsmanThe Manchester ReviewInternational TimesStride, Under the Radar and 3:AM, and is included in Eyewear’s Best New British & Irish Poets 2016. She recently completed her practice-based PhD, ‘Poetry and the Archive’, which worked between an archive of eighteenth-century letters and contemporary narratives of the Cornish post-industrial landscape. More details are available at

Matti Spence is a poet and street musician based in Totnes, Devon. Examples of his work can be found in journals such as The Lighthouse, The Rialto and Southerly, with some recent sound recordings now available on Archive of the Now. Matti is currently beginning a fellowship as part of St Elelberger’s Spiritual Ecology Youth Programme, where he is developing a community writing project based on poetry and pilgrimage.

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