Dr Kevan Manwaring is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. His site-specific commission, ‘Marginalia: graffiti, urban coding, and the semiotics of the street’ was included in a locative app, and the anthology, Hidden Stories (2016). His articles have appeared in Writing in Practice; New Writing; The Bottle Imp; and TEXT. He is the psychogeography editor for Panorama: the journal of intelligent travel; the creative submissions editor for Gothic Nature, and guest editor of Revenant: critical and creative studies of the supernatural. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Hawthornden, and the Eccles Centre for North American Studies at the British Library, and an Honorary Associate of the Open University. He blogs and tweets as the Bardic Academic.

Finding the Line

A triangulation between walking, multimodality, and embodied poetics

Deploying a customised embodied poetics (after Lorde 1984; Cancienne & Snowber 2003; Peary 2018) and primarily drawing upon a two-week coast-to-coast walk across the north of England undertaken during the summer of 2019, this article is structured as a walk in 5 stages (i. Setting Out; ii. View from a Hill; iii. Drifting; iv. Back-bearing; v. Returning). It explores the effectiveness of this experiential approach for the composition of poetry. Walking can be in itself a form of creativity, an act of subversion, or deep reflection — a way of going inward as much as outward. The poem written in situ can be a form of qualia-capture for the little epiphanies of secularised pilgrimage. Sister methodologies such as the psychogeographical dérive (Debord 1954) are drawn upon, but a customised approach is forged: the way of the dériviant who transgresses borders and forms. Extending this approach, a multi-modal approach is discussed, included Twitter poetry, audio recordings, and artwork. Restricted from further long-distance walks during the Covid-19 Lockdown of Spring 2020, Nan Shepherd’s ‘deep mapping’ approach (2011) is adopted, continuing the practice-led exploration within the local universe of the Wiltshire Downs. Finally, the benefits of such an embodied praxis are suggested.