R.M. Francis – The Chain Coral Chorus: a geopoetics filmpoem

In collaboration with filmmaker, Paul Stringer, this short filmpoem explores the sites that make up the UNESCO Black Country Geopark. Focusing on R. M. Francis’ poetics and poetry, and discussing Kenneth White, Francis Ponge and Don McKay, this film is a tour across this post-industrial region and the grounds that gave rise to its cultures and communities. 

R. M. Francis is a lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. He’s published two novels, Bella and The Wrenna (Wild Pressed Books), and a collection of poems, Subsidence (Smokestack Books). He co-edited Smell, Memory and Literature in the Black Country (Palgrave MacMillan) with Professor Sebastian Groes and his work on the region’s culture and literature has been published in edited collections and journals. In 2019 he was the inaugural David Bradshaw Writer in Residence at the University of Oxford and is currently Poet in Residence for the Black Country Geological Society.

Paul Stringer is an award winning documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Birmingham, UK. He has worked with a variety clients both nationally and internationally in film production, photography and workshop facilitation, including The British Council, University of Birmingham, TEDx and Beatfreeks among many others.  Alongside commercial work, he is currently working on his first feature documentary film ‘Hidden Philosophers’ documenting the open mic poetry scene in the U.K. and its impact on society.

Nirmal Puwar/Adele Reed – In Memoriam: Tree Felling at the Plaza

This film was commissioned by Dr. Nirmal Puwar, Sociologist at Goldsmiths University, as part of the project Mourning, Mapping, Mobilising.

All of a sudden the trees had been chopped off, they were gone, with logs all over the place and mounds of sawdust blowing in the air. Though the trees were classified as protected, the city council raised no objections to the bulldozing making way for university developments at the junction of Cox St and Jordan Well in Coventry, West Midlands. A relation of kith and kin, developed from being passersby to civic green heritage, was unnecessarily severed, with trees that had stood tall for over fifty years, shifting, growing and sounding with the wind sun and rain, suddenly gone. To observe the shock of the sudden and unnecessary perplexing  break, of what was part of the everyday and is no more, sociologist Nirmal Puwar, photographer Adele Mary Reed and urban sketcher Paul Chokran, engaged in an inter disciplinary site-specific collaboration.  The tree felling and the scene left behind became an installation as well as an illustration of disregard for both civic and environmental heritage.

Via regular, prolonged site visits involving examinations and conversations over the devastation and smaller details of the ruins of stumps outside the front of the Graham Sutherland building, Coventry University’s arts faculty, Puwar, Reed and Chokran between them developed and reflected upon pictures, words, sounds and collections of natural materials. The film “In Memoriam: Tree Felling at The Plaza” [8.30 mins] produced by Reed, is a composition of the findings gathered during the lockdown months of Spring and Summer, 2020.

Nirmal Puwar is Reader in the Sociology Department of Goldsmith’s College, University of London, where she has lectured for over ten years. She has authored Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of place (2004). The concept of Space Invaders has been developed and discussed in a number of institutional sectors. Puwar has co-edited 17 Collections, including: Post-colonial BourdieuOrientalism and FashionIntimacy in ResearchLive Methods and, South Asian Women in the Diaspora.  A number of her writings have been translated into different languages. She was Co-Director of the Methods Lab for over ten years, undertaking projects to re-think, stretch and connect the very walls of the academy beyond the academy. She takes a critical historical approach to ‘public engagement’ and has worked collaboratively using creative methods.

Adele Mary Reed was born in 1988 in Warwickshire, UK, and is now based in Coventry in the West Midlands. She has been experimenting with and exploring photographic imagery, written word, collage and video through diaristic practices from a very young age. She graduated with a First Class BA [Hons] in Photography from Coventry University in 2016 and has exhibited widely across the UK. She carefully documents observations of the places she finds herself in and in doing so seeks to playfully highlight, maintain, introduce or restore the inconspicuous beauty within moments occurring during day-to-day life. She is interested in analogue methodology and the materiality of film and video tape, cataloging personal archives, taking unplanned walks, plant-life, elusive moods of stillness and balance, topographical and urban themes and since her child was born in 2017, representations of mothers and maternal figures.

Paul Chokran is a Coventry-born artist who has been involved in the local art and theatre scene for many years. He is an active member of the CWSA (Coventry & Warwickshire Society of Artists) as well as the Criterion Theatre, where he designs and paints scenery. He is also a member of the Coventry Sketchers group. A qualified graphic designer, Paul has been drawing for as long as he can remember. He has exhibited locally over the years, most recently at the Herbert Art Gallery in CASE (Coventry Art Societies Exhibition) 2019, where he was the Winner of the Chairman’s Favourite Painting Award. He has designed and painted scenery for various local theatre groups, including the GEC Variety Society, Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth Gang Show and YOG. After having been made redundant a few years ago, Paul has spent more time sketching from life, particularly urban sketching, which has led to him being involved in local events as a ‘sketcher’.

Mark Goodwin – 3 film poems 

Earth Acceleration & Situation

… both focus on gravity, or what I call groundpull. These film-poems are part of my ongoing exploration of gravitation ( associated with the attached philosophical poems – Gravity & Groundpull). Earth Acceleration (6 mins) can be viewed here: Situation (2 mins) is here: The following comment on Earth Acceleration expresses something of my relationship to place, balance, & poetry (as rooted through gravity!): The first time I balanced the thin white rail over the lock gate my fear was intense. Although I knew falling into the lock was unlikely to do me much harm. But the lock, its narrow slot, its dark obscure water – the lock holds a terror. The terror in the bottom of the lock is still there. It’s a simple terror, and a true one – it consists of no oxygen & filthy cold wet depth. No place to live in. Over the years my balance has become so sharp that walking the thin white rail over the lock gate poised breathing above no place to live where the terror still is has become a joy. I love poetry! [Longbarrow Press blog ] Both of these film-poems were made with video-artist Martyn Blundell


.. also has the pull of ground at its core, but focuses more on a particular ‘wild’ place, and demonstrates how arts can meet to express a certain place. Moor (a film-poem interpretation of an original art & poetry chapbook of the same title) is a portrait of Scotland’s magnificent Rannoch Moor – fifty square miles of bogland surrounded by mountains. It explores Rannoch’s historical, wild, peat-layered landscape. Moor (17mins) is here: This film-poem is a collaboration with the following: artist Dominique Cameron , video-artist Martyn Blundell & sound-artist Edu Comelles

Mark Goodwin is a poet-sound-artist, and speaks & writes in various ways. He is also a walker, balancer, stroller, climber, and experiencer of place. Mark began learning to make poetry decades ago. Robert Macfarlane has commented: ‘Goodwin’s startling poems record how certain landscapes leave you “weathered”, “shed”, “meshed”, “flicked open”. Mark has long and wide-ranging experience of collaborating with various artists, in the context of making and also through live performance. He has a number of books & chapbooks with various poetry houses, including Leafe Press, Longbarrow Press, & Shearsman Books. His poetry was included in The Ground Aslant – An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry edited by Harriet Tarlo (Shearsman Books 2011) and The Footing edited by Brian Lewis (Longbarrow Press 2013). His latest chapbook – a compressed mountain travelogue called Erodes On Air – is published in North America by Middle Creek. His next full-length collection – At – is forthcoming from Shearsman.  

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