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Tidemarks and Tidelines

Fawzia Kane’s new course Tidemarks and Timelines – a poetic investigation into shifting riverbanks, waxing coastlines and the tidal time-marks of history – starts this January at the Poetry School.

Fawzia’s Dark Sparks course from last year was enchanting – students wrote by lamplight, kept haiku diaries, watched the sun set over Tower Bridge, visited a candle-lit 18th century house and ate a banquet of light to inspire their writing – so we are very keen to see what poems she magics from the Thames this time round.

Fawzia works as an architect, and her poetry and her thoughts about the built environment are intertwined in a fascinating fashion. We asked her to talk about her new course…

“Once, years ago, my sister and I lolled on a beach in Malta. Two hours later, the sky was still cloudless, the waves remained swimming pool blue, yet we felt unsettled. Then we realized the water’s edge had hardly moved.

Like our Maltese friends, we were islanders. But for us Caribeñas, our seas had always pulled themselves back along our coasts, twice a day, sometimes exposing gently sloping continental shelves. Our Atlantic tides were a giant’s sleepy exhalations. Salt waves would be sighed for miles into the Orinoco’s estuary. The Mediterranean had baby’s breath.

And now here, for over 30 years as a Londoner, the Thames still fascinates me. How can a snake of liquid keep a city so grounded? It acts as if we are its guests; it tolerates our buildings and roads, our noise, grime, us. We have cut its depths and moulded its banks until the flow quickens and scours. Long ago at low tide, we could have walked across the points where some bridges now span.

My work takes me to the river’s edge, where I record the effect of water on different materials: metal, wood, concrete. In the Tidemarks and Timelines course we will look at the causes of these timed breath-like movements of liquid against solid, including looking at the night skies.

In addition to the classroom sessions, students will be asked to go on adventures to explore their own directions. This includes a visit to the Thames Barrier, where the power of the river is revealed. The course is open to all levels, and although the sessions are structured with some exercises, it will be tweaked to suit the particular group who attends.

This will be hard work, but hopefully the students will gather enough material to inspire their writing for a lifetime.”

To book your place on Fawzia’s course please go here


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Image Credits:

Image credit: Fawzia Kane/Jonas Bengtsson/Les Chatfield/Colin-47