Site-Writing

Tideline (2010-2012)
  • Sarah Butler | Belvedere, London

  • Tideline 1 tideline-2 Tideline 3 Tideline 4 Tideline 5
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • Sarah Butler | Belvedere, London
  • They walk on cinders
    to crowd the banks
    Britannia, Mauretania, Monarch

    he reads the next place to step
    on slippery green

    throned on my father’s shoulders
    he remembers the zeppelin
    I remember him

    we watch them cast secret concrete
    through holes in a tin fence


    Sarah Butler was writer-in-residence in Lower Belvedere throughout 2010. Her commission (from Bexley council, funded through the Heritage Lottery Scheme) was linked to a large regeneration scheme in the area, focused on infrastructure and public realm improvements. 

    Lower Belvedere, in the London Borough of Bexley, is a fascinating area, once a broad stretch of marshland, close to the Pleasure Gardens at Erith, it is now home to Crossness Sewage Works, a huge new rubbish incinerator, an industrial estate, and a tiny patch of precious marshland, some of which is designated a protected Nature Reserve.

    Sarah worked with volunteers, schools and groups to uncover hidden stories about the area, and from this rich source material crafted four new poems, using a Japanese form of poetry called Renga. The project culminated in 2012 with a public art work, walking routes across the marshes featuring Sarah’s writing and an exhibition that toured local libraries. All of this is captured in a beautiful project publication featuring photographic portraits by Eva Sajovic.


    Biography

    Sarah Butler explores the relationship between writing and place through prose, poetry and participatory projects. Recent writing residencies include writer-in-residence on the Central line; at Great Ormond Street Hospital; and Stories From The Road – a project exploring personal stories of Oxford Road, Manchester. She has two novels published by Picador in the UK and with fourteen international publishers: Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love and Before The Fire. In November 2018, I published a novella, Not Home, written in conversation with people living in unsupported temporary accommodation in Manchester. Her new novel, Jack and Bet, will be published by Picador in Spring 2020. 

    www.urbanwords.org.uk | www.sarahbutler.org.uk


    Practices

    Tideline captures multiple stories and experiences of an undervalued space in east London. Using the Japanese poetry form, Renga, I wrote texts based on stories I was told, creating four multivocal, co-authored poems, which were installed along routes from Lower Belvedere to the Thames. The work looks to represent the rich history and personal stories no longer evident in the physical landscape, inserting text into the environment which invites the reader to imagine and understand different experiences of the space and to move through it in a quiet, reflective, attentive manner.


    Keywords
    Poetry, landscape, stories, renga

    References

    Book Of Days, Linda France, 2009 https://smokestack-books.co.uk/book.php?book=28 

    Westpark development, poetry installations by W.N. Herbert, 2004 http://www.urbanwords.org.uk/aplaceforwords/case-study-westpark.php 

    Chris Jones, River Don installation, 2007 http://www.urbanwords.org.uk/aplaceforwords/case-study-river-don.php 


    Other projects
  • Corvid-19 (15 March 2021)
  • 1_5
    Glòries_(Eixample). A dispositive for very slow aesthetic observation, (January 2021 –)
  • Station F (October 2020)
  • 1
    Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History,
    issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
  • City Embers (2020)
  • Between Our Words I will Trace Your Presence (February 2020)
  • What Remains (2019)
  • Situated Writing as Theory and Method (2019)
  • Parts Apart Read Together (2019)
  • Fields of Awareness, (2019, 3min 18 secs)
  • 21 Orientations: An Atlas of Geographic Promiscuity (2019)
  • The Windowless Hotel Room (2018)
  • Spaces of Grief (2018)
  • Soft Landing (2018)
  • Shared Remains (April 2018)
  • Metropolitan Salem, Liuerpul (9 June – 18 August 2018)
  • Things Come Apart (21 – 24 March 2018)
  • Learn to Read Differently (2018)
  • Il Balcone. A site-writing performance (2018)
  • History begins with the vanity of kings (2018)
  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • A Lunar Perspective, (2018-2020)
  • Heaton Hall: A Palimpsest (2017)
  • Location (+) (2017)
  • There’s Sand in My Infinity Pool (2017)
  • Talking Quilts (April 2017)
  • fifteen ways to cross the desert (2017)
  • Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft (2017)
  • A Ficto-Historical Theory of the London Underground (2017)
  • The Glorious Tomb to the Memory of Nothing (2016)
  • The Arrival’s Reader; A Visual Literary Criticism on The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2016)
  • Reading as Art (27 August-19 November 2016)
  • Re: development (London: Silent Grid, 2016)
  • Kjemikerens død [The Death of the Chemist] (23 – 26 May 2016)
  • Kingsland High Street (2016)
  • Foray in a Modern Reserve: An Impounding Portrait of Landuse (2016 – 2018)
  • Fall of the Derwent (2016)
  • Away from Home – Home from Away (April 2016)
  • Penguin Pool (2015)
  • Geography Lessons: Liberian Landmarks 1953-2013 (2015)
  • Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (2014)
  • The Writing on the Wall (after Rembrandt) (2014)
  • The Italic I (2014)
  • Designing Architecture as a Performing-Ground (2014)
  • Urban Literacy (2013/2014/2016)
  • The Disappearance: Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth (April 2013)
  • Folded Ground: Escape from Cape Town (2013)
  • Phantom Railings (2012 – 2017)
  • In The Emptiness Between Them (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • The Museum of Breath (2010)
  • Slab (2010)
  • One wound. Two wounds. The body as site for writing (2010)
  • The Fluid Pavement and Other Stories on Growing Old (2006)
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