Mapping the Staffs and Worcs
This was a collaborative project between Emma and fine-art printmaker Linda Nevill. The pair produced a fold-up map of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Linda’s artwork and Emma’s haiku take the reader on a creative journey from Great Haywood to Stourport. A thousand maps were distributed along the length of the canal.
“The 38 poems in this collection are all written in the shortest among the traditionally accepted forms of Japanese haiku. They consist of 17 syllables divided into three sections of 5-7-5 and offer a pleasing mix of geography, topology and natural history. Almost all are titled according to the place in which they are located. Beyond the immediacy of the canal, they reach out in subject matter to name features such as the Red House Cone near Brierley Hill or an ancient church at Gailey. Local attractions also get a mention such as the steam trains at Bewdley.
The haiku are peopled with anglers, lock-keepers, boat owners, towpath walkers and Sunday cyclists. There is plenty of humour – the grebes who are “dancing beak to beak”, the Rock Houses at Kinver where “troglodytes are welcome” and “the posher postcode” at Wightwick where “Pre-Raphaelites rub / shoulders with the arts and crafts / of Morris and Co.” Being so close to nature, Purshouse is a good observer of the natural life of the waterbank. Mention is made of trees carved with hearts and initials, kingfishers, swans and herons. The naming of animals does not stop there either but continues into the fields.
The experience of living on a boat is also finely drawn: practical matters such as negotiating low bridges, plant sales and the need to tend to rooftop gardens all get a mention. Domestic issues such as the need to go to the launderette are not forgotten and the annoyance of kitchen drawers shooting out of their containers when a fierce storm brings a heavy swell in its wake will bring back memories for many who have taken a holiday in rough weather on the canals.”
Neil Leadbeater – review in The Black Country Man.
Get a copy
A small number of maps remain and are available free of charge.
Contact Emma if you would like a copy.