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Poetry Films for the Environment / Biosphere at LYRA Bristol, 14 march 2020

Lucy English and I are pleased to have curated a selection of Poetry Films for the Environment for LYRA 2020, March 14 in Bristol, where the theme is part of the festival this year.

international screening
Mary McDonald, Penn Kemp; Ian Gibbins; Helen Dewbery, Suzannah Evans; Helen Moore, Howard Vause; Jutta Pryor, Lucy English; Janet Lees; Fiona Tin Wei Lam, Tisha Deb Pillai; Valerie LeBlanc, Daniel Dugas; Meriel Lland; Sarah Tremlett.

panel discussion
Here is the stimulating panel discussion with Lucy English poet, co-director of LYRA and Liberated Words, and ecopoets Helen Moore and Caleb Parkin. Sadly, Mark Smalley of Extinction Rebellion, ecopoet Dr Meriel Lland and myself could not be there. However, the discussion turned out to be very successful in our absence.


This event happened to occur in the middle of March, at what we now know to be the advent of lockdown in the UK. As a result some of the invited speakers couldn’t attend, including myself.  The films are all by leading poetry filmmakers trying to make sense of what is happening to the world in global warming.

Bristol came out in good numbers to support this event so we were very pleased.

There are follow up essays on the subject from: Lucy English – Books of Hours and Writing the Landscape Lucy English; a highly perceptive account of ‘Biophilia and Practice Dr Meriel Lland for Liberated Words‘ by Dr Meriel Lland; and by inclusive (Bristol City Poet) ‘Queering Ecopoetry Film‘ Caleb Parkin, where there, are strong links to a non-dualist philosophical view of our position in relation to the ‘More than Human’ and the biosphere (rather than androcentrically within an environment). All very very important work on the subject of artistic practice and a planet in crisis.

So many vital points raised, particularly in relation to artistic practice, and how a poem for a poetry film, rather than the page, may need a different structural approach – more space – to allow for the other elements of moving image and supportive soundscape. Ultimately, they agreed that ‘shifts in perception’ and/or empowering others, or simply gaining knowledge (as a maker or viewer) were all outcomes that they hoped might result from watching these films, which highlight a planet in crisis.

Poetry Films for the Environment
Arnolfini Art Gallery
16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA, FREE EVENT Sat 14th March 1–2
@lyrafest @liberatedwords @ArnolfiniArts