The Cape Farewell/Poetry Society SWITCH: Youth Poetics Programme: Year 2. 


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This year the Poetry Society once again teamed up with Cape Farewell, an international not-for-profit organisation set up to instigate a cultural response to Climate Change, for the SWITCH: Youth Poetics programme and we are delighted to premiere the four Poetry Soundscapes below generated from the 8-month programme.

Melting icebergs and disappearing rainforests – climate change is affecting us now and we must respond. Cape Farewell, an organisation that challenges audiences to think differently about climate change and the natural systems we inhabit, teamed up with the Poetry Society's Young Poets Network on the SWITCH: Youth Poetics programme to create four unique poetry soundscapes that immerse the audience in the beauty and vulnerability of our planet. Selected by poet Helen Mort from hundreds of entries submitted by young poets from across the UK and beyond, responding to her series of four challenges  - based on works from Cape Farewell's impressive archive of climate-focused art works - the four winning poems respond to the realities and challenges of our changing environment.
These four pieces were then set to their own unique score by acclaimed Hollywood composer David Julyan, who has written and produced the soundtracks for huge box-office hits such as Memento, The Cabin in the Woods, Insomnia and Eden Lake. The four winning poetry scores are: ‘Tigerless’ by Rachel Lewis, 18, London; ‘How We Left’ by Denisa Vítová, 19, Switzerland; ‘Lines of Memory’ by Theo Lewis, 18, Wiltshire and ‘Emberman’ by Nat Norland, 16, Cambridge.
The commended poets selected this year by Helen Mort are: Yongyu Chen, Stephanie Brown, Serena Cooke, Tash Keary, Alice Guest, Nasim Luczaj, Daniel Bond, Jake Reynolds, Alex Greenberg and Pratyusha Prakash - Huge congratulations to you all. Read their poems here 
These pieces were recorded in the world-famous Air studios in Hampstead, North London, so get your best speakers or headphnes on, and turn them up loud! 

Tigerless, by Rachel Lewis. Music by David Julyan. 

Images: Experimental go-pro video @ Marieke Helmus (shot at Ameland, Holland), 2014.



In between hunts, when I lie in the grasses
And practise the stillness of death,
I have been thinking hard.
And I believe, Father, that what is gone is certitude.
We learnt the loss of you in between licks,
When we asked where our bull elephant,
Our antlered stag, our spring-spout was.
Mother said you were a wanderer, that all men are,
You were never going to be around for long.
I do my best without you. I rise
As I believe you rose, as I saw Mother
Surge, all dappled haunches, in the den.
Like her, only heavier. For I think you would stand
With all the thunder-strength of muscled cloud.
Now I am big as she said you were and I would be,
Eye-level with the lightning-riven tree.
But she was wrong as well, said you were wandering
Through forests longer than the sky is high,
Forests full of other fathers. I have looked for you.
I have walked the orange day and the black night.
But I could not even find the forests, could not
Even find the way to you. All I found was men
And the carcasses of lands they leave behind.
Father I am afraid for you, lost somewhere
I cannot help, somewhere I cannot even see.
But Father, I am still more afraid for me.

Rachel Lewis, 18

How we left, by Denisa Vítová. Music by David Julyan.

How We Left

We left in a hurry;
our lives hastily packed in the two carrier bags:
a toothpaste, some snapshots from the last Christmas
(we’ve already forgotten aunt Mary was alive back then,
her lipstick smudged around the edges) and our birth certificates
to keep safe for the afterlife, when we’re not here, not anymore.
We left so quickly that the whole journey’s nothing more than a blur;
I can’t even remember myself
breathing in or out.
Denisa Vítová, 19

Emberman, by Nat Norland. Music by David Julyan.

Images @ Simon Barraclough 2014

We could sit here for hours
Telling funny stories and
Laughing through damaged lungs.
The ember man and I
Have plenty in common.
He shows me all the faces
That hide inside of him.
And all his favourite places
Sun baked and ready to fry.
He asks me whether I'm his friend.

We keep each other up all night
Going through my old paperwork.
Reports and letters - as he eats
He begins to believe
That this was always his life.
He's not sure what I'm doing in his house.

He apologises
As he holds out his hand.
I watch his faces hide away.
It's not the the thin orange tongues
Darting about, that hurt.
The smoke does the dirty work.

Nat Norland, 16

Lines of Memory, by Theo Lewis. Music by David Julyan


Lines of Memory

Years ago
we were in France.
One day we
took the car to
Spain, over
the Pyrenees.
The border
was high in the
mountains. We
stopped to look at
the scene, and
up there in
the mountains to
those who died
in the civil
war. On the
road was the sign
to mark the
border, simple
metal to
distinguish one
nation from
another, one
culture from
another so
and all the dreams
of people
on either side,
crossing their
own borderlines
daily, not
speaking of it,
but dreaming
all the same.
I don’t recall
much of the
apart from
perhaps the chill
wind up there
in the mountains,
the thin road
into Spain,
the faces of
the people
locked up in the
pictures of
lost in a
limbo between
two countries,
and the strange crisps
that we bought
later in the
day, crisps that
you cannot find
outside the
borders of Spain.

Theo Lewis, 18

More about the programme
SWITCH is part of Cape Farewell’s new series of Urban Interventions which include Tom Chiver’s Adrift residency in 2012/13 and this year’s residency led by poet Sabrina Mahfouz. This year’s programme featured poet Helen Mort (nominated this year for the prestigious T.S. Eliot Award) and was for writers up to 25 years old. Activity took place online and in secondary schools based in London and Sheffield, from December 2013 to March 2014. Last year's programme featured poet Karen McCarthey-Woolf find out more about the 12/13 programme here
The world premiere event was part of Southbank’s Poetry International festival, full event info here. 
Cape Farewell
Cape Farewell was created by artist and photographer David Buckland in 2001. It is an international not-for-profit programme based in the Science Museum's Dana Centre in London and with a North American foundation based at the MaRS centre in Toronto. Cape Farewell works in partnership with scientific and cultural institutions to deliver an innovative programme of public engagement – challenging audiences to think differently about climate change and the natural systems we inhabit. The organisation has worked with over 140 world-renowned artists, including Rachel Whiteread, Jarvis Cocker, Ian McEwan, Yann Martel, Sophie Calle, Marcus Brigstocke and Antony Gormley which has resulted in the creation of a broad range of climate focused art. More information can be found by visiting or follow Cape Farewell on Twitter @capefarewell

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