Poet for Dawyck starts next month

Poet Gerry Loose
Poet Gerry Loose

Gardening poet Gerry Loose will be a poet in residence at Dawyck Botanic Garden next month.

The project will see the writer at the Peeblesshire gardens, writing and walking in the garden during September, and include a two-week residence at Cove Park residency for artists on Scotland’s west coast.

Gerry told The Southern: “I’d like to show folk, adults and children alike, that poetry is fun; that gardens are the original source of poetry; that poetry is everywhere if we just look and listen carefully.”

His appointment was announced earlier this year. And asked then why he had wanted the role, the 65-year-old, who lives on a boat at Bowling on the west coast of Scotland, said: “Who wouldn’t want to work in one of Scotland’s great gardens?

“I’ll be doing the things I enjoy most: making, discussing and reading poetry with other folk, in a garden setting. Trees have an enormous influence in our lives, from childhood fairy tales to 21st century carbon holding and the arboretum at Dawyck is sheer inspiration.”

The project, Walking with Poets, has been designed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) and the Scottish Poetry Library to give four poets the chance to be at each of Scotland’s botanic gardens for a month and share their observations and work.

Gerry told us via email this week: “I’m looking forward to meeting all the folk who visit and work at Dawyck, talking about, reading and encouraging people to write poems.

“I’m looking forward to acquainting myself with Dawyck’s historic trees and the landscape surrounding the garden.

“I also hope to meet local groups: farmers, knitting groups (ever heard of a knitted poem? – I just invented it), schoolchildren – everyone and anyone who loves Dawyck.”

He continued: “Plans are unfolding and there will be a full schedule shortly. It will include at least one Bug Day, where we search for invertebrates without which gardens become deserts (especially pollinating insects); Water poems (think Scrapie Burn); and fairly frequent walks of discovery and poems on the ‘Red Indian Trail’ – which I intend to rename temporarily the Turtle Island Trail after native Americans’ own terminology.”

Gerry has worked in agriculture as well as editing, designing and creating gardens and poetry, and he has lived also in England, Ireland, Spain and, briefly, in Morocco.

He says his poetry is as likely to appear in his gardens – and ungardened landscapes – as it is on the page.

He has made several films and staged his own plays and art exhibitions.

He has also worked with the Botanic Gardens in Kyoto and his ‘Seed Catalogue’ exhibition and book gave him access to gardens round the world, from New Zealand to Siberia.

A closing event for the whole project including all four poets will be held at RGBE on St Andrew’s Day.

For more information about Gerry, visit his website www.gerryloose.com or his blog, with photographer Morven Gregor, www.wildandstolen.wordpress.com