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Nowhere to go but on

A film poem

The poem is a Cento, a traditional form in which a new poem is made by splicing together lines from published poems. It was created quickly, I didn’t give myself time to work out the meanings of the source poems, but skimmed through them and picked out the lines that resonated. This is a fascinating and often cathartic way to make a poem, circumventing the logical, critical part of the brain and giving voice to the unconscious. I collaborated with the composer and musician Martyn Cain, whose hauntingly beautiful music felt like an elegy for the Anthropocene.

Janet Lees is a poet, artist and filmmaker. Her art photography has been widely exhibited and her films screened at numerous events around the world, including the Zebra Poetry Film Festival and the Aesthetica Art Prize. In 2021 she won the Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition. Her poetry has been published in many magazines and anthologies, and her two books are ‘House of water’, a collection of her poems and art photographs, and her award-winning pamphlet collection ‘A bag of sky’. Janet is DAF’s volunteer poetry editor.


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