This Personal is Political piece is part of the new Wales Arts Review ‘Artists in Residence’ line-up series that explores the poem Cumulonimbus by McKeand. Throughout 2017 these artists, including Sophie McKeand will take a leading creative role in what Wales Arts Review publishes, centring their skills on a challenging project over the course of a month. We were inundated with applications, receiving hundreds of emails about the positions, and it was no easy task whittling down all that talent to this final eleven. Our team of six editors debated long into the night, and in the end, we decided on a collection of people who we most want to work with, and whose work excites us. We think you will be excited by them too.
Sophie McKeand is a writer of water and earth, of migration and roots. These threads of poetry are woven throughout McKeand’s life in celebration of the kaleidoscopic forces that make up the unnameable essence of being.
The theme of this residency is The Politics of Authenticity. Much of this exploration, either with the blogs or through poetry, is trying to map how to trust our instincts and listen to our own unique heartbeats. I’m examining how to leap off the railway tracks our society firmly places us on and out into the unknown landscape of Self.
How is this political? The personal is political.
*NOTE* This is a recreation of the poem therefore, the formatting may have slight errors. The correct formatting is to the right.
by Sophie McKeand
We read the word world wrong and say it deceives us.
– Rabindranath Tagore
When the elite men of the world had finishing lecturing
(their last tombstone marked heavy upon the map of the earth’s
gossamer wings) she flapped once
as she did so myriad cities of reason folded – an atlas of
concrete slabs crumpled into soil and vast tenets of intellect
were spewed at an indifferent sky
the Rebel Sun melted the swords these great men had refused to fall upon
(the staunchly defended coastline of their honour long eroded
by relentless waves of criticism)
with no one to tell them how to think the people
diversed like ghosts.
Groping for meaning in the half-life they
eventually congregated as massive cloud formations:
cirrus | altostratus | cumulonimbus | stratocumulus
in this form they heard only the voice of mountains tumbled as rain from
cerulean skies in praise of slopes and crevices and ridges and
finally understood what it is to be
in the presence