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.
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,
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.