Thinking about ‘Uncertain Cartographies’

I’m doing the planning, and so the thinking, for my next online course on The Poetry Wire – ‘Uncertain Cartographies’. The course is already fully booked, and we’ll make a start on 14 September for the following six weeks. So I’m thinking about prompts, and the poems that inspire me.

The course will examine the roles of place in all our lives. How do we recall happenings except in place? A time of day – a moment where things changed – a years-ago glimpse of privet hedge while someone spoke, forever part of remembering their words. Or we could write our love on a bench, map it in our memory and include it in the Key, to be accessed by us in different decades – and wondered at by passing strangers.

We all have maps of our lives, and still more incompletely, maps of the lives of others close to us. Maps are signs, and carry symbols. They can show the passage of time, as well as space. Maps choose what to show, what to omit. Some show, for example, fence lines, which are ephemeral as woods and paths. What would we include, if we drew our own maps? In what ways can a poem be a map? I’ve been reading with these thoughts in mind. Here’s my field of inspiration for the course, with great thanks to all these poets and publishers.

I’m really looking forward to working with the participants, who’ll make new forays, map crossroads, find ways to record turnings.

4 thoughts on “Thinking about ‘Uncertain Cartographies’

  1. Really looking forward to this course – I am currently doing a 6 week course with Philip and Zelie Gross – ‘Voices of the Earth’ and this week’s module is ‘Maps of the Unknown World – looking close up’ – so I’ve already started the journey! Their course combines words and visual images and encourages collaboration between the participants.

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