My application to Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts programme for funding for the year-long project Arctic Poems: Quujaavaarssuq & the Queen of the Sea has been successful.
This project supports the completion of my poetry collection, and an associated programme of events in London, Brighton, Oxford, Bristol and Newcastle.
This collection surveys the culture of arctic Greenland from prehistory to the present, with a focus on the hardships experienced by indigenous communities under colonial rule during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The poems address the tensions between modern life and traditional means of subsistence in the Arctic, and explore themes of cross-cultural communication, cultural and species extinction, landscape and climate change. Many of the poems use forms that are strongly linked to oral performance such as ballads and pantoums. The sequence entitled Quujaavaarssuq and the Queen of the Sea retells the legendary journey of the Greenlandic hero Quujaavaarssuq to beg forgiveness from the Queen of the Sea, who destroyed the ice as an act of revenge on the humans who pollute her waters.
The poems will be performed at five readings around the UK during 2014 and 2015. An associated series of six free workshops (The Library of Ice) held in Oxford this winter will introduce new audiences to contemporary writing on environmental themes. Details of these events will be announced over the summer.