Born near Belfast, I spent my youth in ‘NornIrn’, before heading to Scotland to study forestry, then psychology. I now work at Corbenic Camphill Community, and live in Aberfeldy.
Poetry took hold more than ten years ago and has maintained a firm grip! My work has appeared in numerous journals. I have also been working collaboratively and exhibiting with Scottish artist Lindsay Turk (my wife!).
Unexpectedly I have come to enjoy the performance side of things too, with a recent win in The Aspects Irish Literature Festival Slam & a 3rd in the N.Ireland finals.
The Corbenic Poetry Path has been a coming together of the right things and people in the right place at the right time: a community who value creativity
and with beautiful grounds, a resident stone-carver and other creative people. And into this mix I sauntered with my passion for poetry.
One of the real pleasures in this project has been how supportive the poets involved have been. The path now features twenty-five poets – most of them FWS members.
The path has grown to a circular 3.5km with thirty installations of poetry along the way, carved in stone, cast in resin or bronze, etched into glass, and burned into wood. We are always experimenting with new ways to display poetry outdoors in lasting ways. The latest is on paper dipped in wood preservative, and first results are promising!
The work on the path is carried out primarily by the Corbenic Estate Team, comprised of volunteers from around the world who come to live for a year or two, residents with learning disabilities and two full-time staff members – myself and stone-carver Martin Reilly.
This year we also had six sculpture students come from Budapest University of Fine Art to live on site for four weeks and create some fantastic sculptures. This will be repeated next summer.
One of the challenges we face is in ensuring the standard remains high – both in the quality of the poetry on display and in the sculptural way that it is displayed. To help with this we now have a ‘Poetry Panel’ of respected poets and poetry editors, and a ‘Visual Panel’ of professional artists. These panels assess any submitted works or ideas and provide us with the support to ensure standards are maintained.
It is exciting times for us with the Poetry Path Project, with ideas for more live events, more sculpture, and of course more poetry.
Finally, a BIG thanks to all of the poets involved. It is their words that help make this place so magical, and maybe even, as an Edinburgh couple walking the path this week said – ‘the best walk in the world’!