Kathleen Jamie’s first project as Makar was to call for a collaborative nature poem, crafted from lines submitted by the Scottish public. The work will become a filmpoem, and will be released in time for the #COP26 gathering in Glasgow
Here, Kathleen updates us on the process
“I took all the 100’s of lines.
Groups or categories seemed naturally to emerge, so I arranged the lines under headings; The Sea, Trees and Forests etc.
Then I began to nip and tuck, meld and arrange. Almost all of the original lines have been shortened, some reduced to a phrase, sometimes to a single word. Very few have been omitted altogether.
Then I made them into little stanzas of two or three lines. Just by ear, what felt right.
Then I printed it all off and pasted it onto cardboard. Then I cut out every little stanza.
Then I set about re-arranging them, soon realising that I didn’t need to arrange them over much, as a random selection could make a perfectly good ‘poem’. Indeed, you could make an almost infinite number of ‘poems’ of any length by taking a handful of stanzas and arranging them to please. Choose a title, repeat it in the text and Bob’s your uncle.
The pic shows the whole poem in its box, being read by the cat.”