Using poetic licence in research practice
Caleb will be starting a creative writing practice-as-research studentship aligned with Theme 2 (Community Action) in January 2023, looking at poetic responses to the science of biodiversity renewal and the role of the poet-educator during the biodiversity crisis.
Unbeknownst to many at the Parliament, Caleb was hard at work capturing the essence of the event in poetic form. At the event close, he wowed delegates with a spontaneous performance of two poems that astutely and playfully responded to discussions across the two days. You can read these poems below.
Here’s what Caleb had to say about his creative process:
When I’m writing poems at an event like this, I go into a different ‘mode’ of listening. This often focuses on the poetry already being spoken. For me, this can mean throwaway comments – which can be hugely significant – and dominant metaphors which people are using, often without realising (all of language is a metaphor, really).
Part of poetry’s work, especially in a reflective, reflexive setting like this – is to notice and draw attention to those images, make them new again for the listener (and speaker). I do this by weaving them together and creating a symbolic landscape where they coexist. They’re fragmentary, yes, but somehow carry the energy of the conversations had in that space – with all their jumps, non-sequiturs and asides.
These poems are a reflection of just two of our breakout group’s sessions: there were unseen abundances of poetry, happening elsewhere at the Biodiversity Parliament too. And this spirit of abundance – in our resources, connections, the poetries of our research – is really important, I think. It’s part of nurturing a culture in RENEW which contributes towards more abundant biodiversity in the UK, and beyond.
There is plenty, for human and nonhuman life, when we share it.
A masterful display of poetry’s ability to capture and articulate the social, cultural, and emotional aspects of people’s interactions with each other and the natural world, Caleb’s poems are testament to RENEW’s commitment to establishing a diverse research community that takes a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to understanding and tackling the biodiversity crisis.