Initially something about the slow motion of the Earth clip, the greenness and light and the strange effect of the disembodied limbs was rather hypnotic. In the end, however, I found the Fire clip was easier to respond to. The only way I could respond, poetically, to the Earth film was to be highly constrained – and I set myself the challenge of finding words – with some meaning – with the vowel sounds “a-e-i-o-u” in each line. In the end, this pattern seemed to lead to a conclusion about the interconnectedness of human and natural worlds that the film had suggested. The Fire clip was very different; it immediately suggested a narrative voice and a narrative. The piece of brocade or figured material being burned reminded me of the dress my mother wore to my wedding. I hasten to add that the narrative is completely imagined – not in the least autobiographical!
Joan McGavin is a poet and creative writing tutor who lives in Southampton but comes originally from Edinburgh. She has written and taught all of her adult life, being published widely in magazines and having taught poetry and creative writing for the WEA, local authority and university. After she appeared in a Peterloo Preview volume in the 1990s there was a gap in major publication while she brought up a family, taught in sixth-form and reviewed poetry for Second Light and South poetry magazine. In 2011 her first full volume, Flannelgraphs, was published by Oversteps Press and she is currently working on a second volume. She is a trustee for the forthcoming Winchester Poetry Festival, in September 2014, where she will curate a reading of “Hampshire Poets Now”.
She can be contacted via www.poetrypf.co.uk where she has an online entry.