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Tag: poetry of place

Is the universe capable of having your city at its center?

View from the Rockfeller Center - Top of the rock - 51 by caccamo via FlickrStanding where you are – what do you see?

Psychologists angst quite a bit  over whether there is an essential us  or whether we are creature of circumsances.

Of course we are both and neither.

Without a deep respect for the place where we find ourselves, how can we see the world?  Irish Yorkshireman poet David Whyte calls the place we stand “hallowed ground”.

Birmingham poet, Roy Fisher is functional as  any Brummy should be.


The universe, we define

As a place capable of having

A place like this for its centre.


There’s no shame/ in letting the world pivot

On your own patch.  That’s all a centre is for.  (p.13).

Roy Fisher


( I must buy his book but I haven’t discovered the title yet.)

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Is your soul in your city?

365.107 dancing on ruins by aaron.bihari via FlickrIs your city long past its prime?

I can understand the argument that many British cities, like Liverpool and Birmingham have

  • “outlived the lifespan of their own economic base or infrastructure and must now live primarily by their “superstructure”


  • “such institutions as museums-of-local-life or tourist-related service industries which recycle and re-package the industrial past assume a primary role in the local economy”

(Peter Barry in Contemporary British poetry and the city)

Are we hankering after times long gone?

There is also nothing wrong in selling history, geography and a variety of temporary, low grade experiences.  Though not from a holidaying culture,  I too have been on ‘holiday’ in my time.

But it makes no sense to

  • Think we can roll the clock back and re-assert the raison d’etre a place had in the past.
  • Deny that the old  raison d’etre has gone out with the tide of history.

Is there not a place which speaks to our soul?

If we aren’t selling history (and enjoying selling history) maybe we should move to a city which has a raison d’etre that speaks to our soul.

I know we don’t all have a choice but I am sure clear thinking will give us more choices.  I know from past experience that  it is utterly deadening to live in a place that has lost touch with why it exists.

Like a traditional farmer in winter, a city might be enjoying the fallow winter and living off stored harvests.  That is OK too.

It’s the self-delusion or alternative cynicism that makes us feel zombish.

Why does our city exist?  Do we empathize with its soul?

Why does our city exist?  And do we empathize with its soul?

What is the resonance between us and the city where we live?


Our lives but a poetry of place?

Birmingham Central Mosque by george daley via flickr“Birmingham’s what I think with.  It’s not made for that sort of job, but it’s what they gave me.”
Roy Fisher

    Is it true that thinking about the objects around us helps us see opportunity and choice?

    Are our lives poetry of ‘our place’?  Even if we not conciously writing its poems?

    • What thoughts did I have today because of my surroundings?
    • Did I even notice my surroundings?

    Would I think differently if I rearranged my surroundings and made them more attention?

    Would I enjoy thinking that way?

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