Discovering Identity Through the Poetics of Ancestral Place
I have been researching my family history (and finding and visiting ancestral places) for more than twenty-five years.
Tree is a journey into self-identity (as an online geopoetic and mythopoetic life writing project with poetry films),
and includes archive research, and onsite documentary prose and poetic response,
as a form of haibun. It originated as a creative means to understanding where I ‘come from’, in order to
develop a sense of belonging. The first episode, about an incident at my great-grandfather's paper mill in Devon during the First World War (poetry film below), premiered at The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, June 2019. In 2020 I created Firewash, about a mediaeval ancestor who mined for manganese in Cornwall in the eleventh century. I visited the site and stayed there in a shepherd's hut during a storm, and the poetry film came out of that experience. The poem is included in Earth Lines: Geopoetry and Geopoetics and the poetry film alongside others can be found on the same Edinburgh Geological Society site. You can find out more about other details on these films, such as festival screenings in the news or poetry films sections of this website. Recent screenings and readings of poems from the collection were in Co-Op Books, Vancouver – alongside other speakers who had been part of Tom Konyves' seminal Poets with a Video Camera exhibition at Surrey Art Gallery: Vancouver Poet Laureate, Fiona Tinwei Lam; Heather Haley; Kurt Heintz; Adeena Karasick; Daniel H. Dugas; Valerie LeBlanc, and of course Tom Konyves (who also read Matt Mullins' poem) and at Adobe Books, San Francisco with leading US poet Marc Zegans, in November 2021.
At the moment this collection, being large in size, is currently under construction. The image below at Co-Op Books, Vancouver, shows how we also screened video poems related to the texts as we were reading. An exciting idea.