CCI was delighted to welcome poet and conservationist, Matt Howard, as an artist-in residence for 2020. In collaboration with John Fanshawe and organisations within CCI, Matt’s focus was developing Lines of Migration – a poetry translation project that aims to bring together poets and poems, both contemporary and from the past, that engage with nature and place.

For Matt, the embarkation point of Lines of Migration is the great nature flyway that connects Eurasia and Africa. From Ted Hughes to early English verse, poetry is awash with migrants, not least swifts, swallows and cuckoos, but while these species transform Europe in spring and summer, most spend the rest of any year travelling to and from and wintering in Africa.

By starting with the migration of birds, further connections can be made to all the habits these birds visit, and the catalogue of other plants and animals reflected in the stories, written and spoken of nature and place. The ambition of Matt’s project is to enrich a shared understanding of what the more-than-human world means to poets and writers along this crucial flyway, and how it makes us feel and think and how we act and might come to act as conservationists.

Matt Howard lives in Norwich, where he works for the RSPB as Cultural Campaigner. He is also a steering group member and trustee of the arts and science collaborative, New Networks for Nature, that promotes the central importance of landscape and nature in our cultural life. His first full poetry collection, Gall, was published by The Rialto in 2018 and was winner of the 2018 East Anglian Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Prize in 2019.  He has been poet in residence for The Wordsworth Trust.