Saturday 7 September 2019

Jacquie Campbell - groving in Bury St Edmunds

This morning Jacquie Campbell announced a micro nature reserve in Looms Lane, prompting a response from poet Phil Barrett and Astra Papachristodoulou. 

I see a voice

A mouthpiece, a chink, an aperture, a hole in air, a hole in the wall;
Let’s get some cash out and leave a note – an IOU –
or put something in – a message in a bottle (if only to ourselves) –
in this small hideaway, this little hidey-hole, a crucible for making lead into gold.

A brick house, a round arch, a circular hole, a wheel of fortune.
Let’s spell it out – there’s nowhere left for us to go, and nowhere too small
for a nature reserve, a concept – considered or ill-conceived – concealed
in this last remaining hole. Are we big enough to take it on?

A smaller world that doesn’t exist yet, but will – and they don’t come
much smaller than this. Small enough to create its own horizons, and
close enough to look over or through. (But what’s on the other side?)
Does it matter? Does any hole make a home? (Except for you or me,

for whom time is running out – We’re running-out of homes!) Key stories, key facts,
key words, key holes, key stones, not a place to live in; a bee house, or bee hive,
a Borrowers’ hideaway, a place to grow up in, a gap between two holes or two
worlds. With a ring for the finger, a ball for a toe, and we shall have music

where ever we go; the soundtrack for a broken world, a world divided into two;
as re-inventing the wheel, round and round we go – the wheels on the bus;
the wheels of the world, a whole world, or a world in a hole, a hole in one,
symbolising a beginning or an end, a new horizon. A space or a ship,

a clean sheet or a clean shirt – the shirt off our backs – but where to now?
Where do we go? The down-ward spiral or slide, like a rolling stone. A deep place
or space, or a shallow hole, a natural place to hide in, a peep or pin or loop hole,
a place to hideout or a place to let go – on the way to somewhere else, with

somewhere else still to go. In or out, two sides of a gap between two holes. So,
where to next? – we’ve got (a lot) to learn, about making holes – and can’t conceive
of the consequences of such a world, where the inhabitants have had to leave,
have all flown, leaving an empty seedpod or shell, like an open door; a conker,
or canker, or this fallen apple, without a core.

Phil Barrett


brickwork bend
nestle - mend
around the curves
it seeks refuge

Astra Papachritodoulou

Jacquie Campbell As someone who is simultaneously baffled and fascinated by the everyday world, my art practice allows me to explore the questions that niggle at the back of my mind.  Often these questions focus on the entanglement of people, process and place.

​Recently I’ve become absorbed with those overlooked and often fleeting, opportunistic habitats that open up in the cracks and detritus of our built surroundings. How might a passer-by be invited  to experience and get to know these hidden places and processes? Would a different way of knowing our surroundings open up new and playful environmental thinking? For more details see Instagram @jaccampbellrojo Twitter @RojoArtists

Phil Barrett
taught art for 27 years, then retired to his home county of Norfolk where he concentrates on writing. He teaches creative writing, in schools and libraries across North Norfolk. He has won prizes and commendations in national competitions, and has been published in anthologies including In Protest: 150 poems for Human Rights (2013), Word Aid Anthologies Did I Tell You? (2010), and Not Only The Dark (2011), the Ink, Sweat and Tears webzine, and Poems in the Waiting Room in 2016 and 2019. In January 2017 he published a book of poems, Writing Me, about growing-up. ​​

​Astra Papachristodoulou, artist and poet, is a recent graduate from the MA Creative Writing (Poetic Practice) at Royal Holloway. She has read at poetry events including the European Poetry Festival and The Enemies Project. Her poetry has appeared in small magazines and anthologies including The Tangerine, Eborakon Journal and 3:am Magazine. Astra delivers experimental poetry workshops at the University for the Creative Arts and freelances for the Poetry Society. She won the Pebeo Mixed Media Art Prize in 2016, and her visual work has been showcased at contemporary art exhibitions including the National Poetry Library (Southbank Centre) and the Museum of Futures in London. 

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