An edited version of Emily Trig's review
Poetry Field Club field trip to Portsdown Hill
on 24th November 2012 was published in the Hampshire Chronicle on 6th December 2012. The original version of the text follows below.
Andrew Jordan's Poetry Field Club 'field trip' (on Saturday 24th November), one of a number of events celebrating his book Hegemonick, involved a walk and in situ poetry readings on Portsdown Hill. The day was dark. It was already raining as we approached the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson. Once inside, we went underground, following a tunnel to a series of rooms.
There, Jordan read 'Fieldnotes: Fort Nelson' and 'A Paulsgrove Bestiary', the latter poem concerning the 'Paulsgrove paedophile riots' of 2000. It ends with a journey through the tunnels beneath Fort Nelson, where the poet unearths his own childhood self: "My dark side, / a naked boy, like a fossil / or root / hauled from the chalk . . . " Oddly, during the reading, we heard children screaming in a distant tunnel. The day was already reminding me of Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky's epic film, and this impression grew after we left the fort and made our way along the ridge of the hill.
Memorable moments included Nelson's monument (emphatically phallic), the perimeter fence of Portsdown West (a defence research establishment where we were confronted by a picket line of video cameras on poles) and the underground fuel bunker portal, a brick built structure that outcrops in the middle of nowhere. This is the tunnel exit referred to in the poem 'Inside Mary Millington'. "Arse vent portal", the poet shouted joyously upon realising where he was.
'Portsdown Technology Park', another defence research facility, also held a peculiar aura, brightly lit in the gloom. There we saw, in the distance, a radar test rig, an early version of which is referred to as 'the Bull Artefact' in the book. Its form is similar to Nelson's monument. We had, it seems, walked from one phallus to another.
Here is the review as it was published on 6th December 2012:
Hampshire Chronicle review of the field trip on 24 November 2012
(1.1mb PDF file).