A poem a day: Tracings of a River

Going off prompt* as I’m STILL finishing a draft chapter (Really? I’ve obviously not been going on about this enough! 😉 Just about accepted that this first draft is a massive pile of pants.)  I’ve gone off prompt because today I was thinking about “deep mapping” as the chapter is on mapping and how we understand how a place is made (yes, I’m thinking of the different ways of mapping Rochdale).  This list of ways to deep map was devised by the late Cliff McLucas, a visual artist who thought about ways of approaching a landscape as if you’d never beheld it before.  Drawing upon American author William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth (a deep map) (it’s a long read but worth it) McLucas devised ways of visually “deep mapping”.  So I’ve been thinking of ways that I could quickly do this.  Here’s a tracing not a map, more collages/cento than deep map but a start.  Each line links to the web page where it’s from, except for the picture line – this is an unfiltered detail from a photo taken in December 2015.

Tracings of a River
The quiet Roch comes dancing down
an imaginary stream in which there is nothing liquid but mud
Areas at risk include the area from Roch Valley Way
Looking upriver from the bottom of the Walk towards Drake Street
to Yorkshire St and Albert Royds St.
extensive gardens alongside the River Roch

Revealing the Roch Dec 2015

I see bright rivers run
expose the river’s historic bridge
The river to which Rochdale owes its name and existence
like thee my little life glides down
Down to the heaving sea


* Although if I were to follow that prompt – these books are currently on my desk and form the following (name of the poem is my own flight of fancy):


Obsessions of Cartography

Postmodernism, or the cultural logic of late capitalism,

mapping cultures:

on the map,

off the map.

Britannia obscura: mapping hidden Britain,

geography and vision,

the practice of everyday life.

The new nature of maps:

rethinking maps.

Graphs.  Maps.  Trees.





4 thoughts on “A poem a day: Tracings of a River

    1. Thanks! Deep mapping’s really fascinating. Not got time to go into it in more detail today blog-wise, however, will hopefully do so at some other point 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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