There are many thousands of aerial and reconnaissance photographs of the First World War that offer an unfamiliar and rarely-seen visual perspective of the conflict. Map-like images of cratered fields and hieroglyphic trench patterns; dreamlike “obliques” showing landscapes of sepia-toned towns and ghostly villages; panoramas of apparently tranquil meadows and country lanes that disguise more macabre details. These photographs will form a physical and atmospheric backdrop to poems that explore events and locations significant to the Somme Offensive. The result will be a dialogue between military documents of the day and the poetic responses they provoke one hundred years later.Simon Armitage
As part of Fierce Light, British poet Simon Armitage wrote a series of poems in response to six aerial or panoramic photographs of battlefields taken during the First World War. Inspired by the landscapes and locations, the poems were superimposed onto the photographs, the words interacting with the haunting, abstract images. The framed pieces formed an exhibition at the East Gallery during Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016, and have also been published.
Still premiered at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016 where Simon Armitage performed alongside some of his fellow poets as part of Fierce Light.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Writers’ Centre Norwich