Chant du monde boréal
Sandshifter, 60N.
Where it all makes sense.



Through Chronicles from Arcania, I shall attempt to share walks with you, this poetics from 60N, where I feel at one with our Earth, my sense of place so maritime.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Intellectual nomadism

What more enriching than opening up to a palette of languages and cultures?
Humanity, our home planet, blue gem of civilisations.

Why limiting ourselves to our own (and by this I imply the one imposed by our parents, family, nation) when we can access others so easily?
As a child, my favourite authors made me trek across the planet.
R.L Stevenson, Jack London, Sir Walter Scott, André Brink, Voltaire, Joseph Kessel and Jules Verne remain my top all time favourites... And the list is by no means exhaustive! Furthermore, Africa knocked on my door in my early teens and it made a profound impact.
As a learner, humanities - literature, languages, art, history and geography - have shaped my path of destiny.
Duality in cultures & homes - one inherited by birth, the other, chosen. (Interestingly enough, Kenneth White and I have "swapped" place of birth & chosen home. He left Scotland for France and I, the opposite.)
A trinity of twangs in my tongue and this avid curiosity to widen my horizons... Living and writing in the UK's most northerly archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic makes my mind want to reach out in all directions. SSW, to the Scottish mainland & more southerly islands; NW to Iceland & Faroe, east to Scandinavia and west, towards Canada.
We share this young ocean, cultures and languages. Connecting with (notably) the bi-lingual Canadian sphere seems a natural progression. Hence my involvement with the Canadian Poetry Association.

Yet from childhood, travelling without moving has always been possible: as a reader, books act like long ships, computers, like star ships.
As a poet, this ability to write without (physically) travelling allows the mind to go adrift and exploit that rich palette of shores, sea spray, jungles, forests, civilisations in order to create a kaleidoscope of lanscapes through a distinctive view of the world. As a teenager, I learnt to appreciate this substantifique moelle and cultivate one's (inner) garden.

And talking of gardens, this intellectual nomadism does not stop at neither distances nor artificial boundaries. Connecting with Lissa's Australian world forged many bonds as well as an exciting project: Garden2Garden.

Such activities enable men to metaphorically tear their passports and elevate them to the real status: that of world citizens.


  1. How true, Nat, how true! We are indeed fortunate to be living in a time when we can access the richness of the cultures of the world wherever we live. You became an intellectual nomad at an early age and we can all become one by being open to everything and, as you say, reaching out in all directions. In this, your bi-lingual ability will be of great advantage for exploring the considerable volume of work written in French on intellectual nomadism and geopoetics.
    Your wonderful images and music in your Garden2Garden project shows us the way to become citizens of the world.

  2. Yes, we are blessed with this, Norrie - knowledge just at our fingertips and embracing it can only elevate us :)).
    Oh, am bathing in it at both international [web]and regional level through "Grounding a World". Thank you for sending me your book!
    More enlightenement.