“‘It’s been a pleasure to discover and explore a landscape that has so powerfully shaped, and been shaped by, human activity. The Surrey Hills are as full of voices as they are trees. Through this poem sequence, I’ve tried to recreate something of the atmosphere of each place, both in their familiarity and their haunting strangeness. This has involved walking and cycling the Greensand Way and making lots of notes, and by researching the history of each place and talking to people who love them. The poems have grown out of this rich terrain of generously shared information and insight.’
John has engaged with the local community, coming to stay with artists in the local areas in June and July. He interacted with local walkers and with members of the Surrey Archaeology Society which gave him a greater knowledge of the area. He was commissioned to create poetry inspired by the following five viewpoints:
He also worked with children from Peaslake Free School and had fun exploring words with them, incorporating their phrases into a poem about the Hurtwood.
About the Poet
John Wedgwood Clarke is a poet, prose writer, and lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He regularly collaborates with scientists and artists on collaborative projects and has been a Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the University of Hull’s Marine Biology Department. His first collection Ghost Pot was described as a ‘Masterpiece that rewards continuous rereading’ by Bernard O’Donoghue, and his poems have received national and international awards and prizes. His new collection ‘Dump Songs’ explores landfill sites and waste management and will be published in May 2017.