Press Office


Poems heard across the waves from Lindisfarne to Bamburgh


Poems will echo across the sea as part of new installation set up to celebrate the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the North East.

Antiphonal, created by Tom Schofield of Newcastle University’s Culture Lab will see excerpts of poetry and sounds from the natural world played in both the Lookout Tower on Lindisfarne and in the Crypt of St Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh.

The poems used in Antiphonal were specially commissioned for the project and have been written by acclaimed poets including Newcastle University’s very own Professors Sean O Brien and Bill Herbert. The poems are available in a pamphlet, Shadow Script: Twelve poems for Lindisfarne and Bamburgh, published by the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts (NCLA).

The poets were taught about the gospels and northern saints by Professor Clare Lees from Kings College London, and this helped to inspire their work.

Professor Linda Anderson, director of the NCLA is curating the project. She said: “The idea behind Antiphonal was to recreate the multiple voices of medieval texts such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and we have been lucky to work with some wonderful poets and with Tom, the digital artist who put the installation together.

“The Lookout Tower on Lindisfarne looks across the North Sea to Bamburgh and the two separate parts of the installation ‘talk’ to each other.  

“Lindisfarne is a beautiful place which gave us the gospels, one of the most important medieval manuscripts, and we wanted to do something to honour this legacy while the manuscript is back in the region.”

As well as celebrating the return of the gospels to the North East, the project is also part of the Colm Cille Spiral, which celebrates the 6th century monk with a range of art and literature events around the country. Lindisfarne is linked to Colm Cille through St Aidan, who founded the monastery on Holy Island and who was a monk in Colm Cille’s monastery on Iona. Aidan died in Bamburgh, leaning against the church which bears his name and where Antiphonal is located.

Antiphonal runs between 10and 4pm in the Look Out Tower and between 9am and 5pm at the Crypt of St Aidan’s Church until the end of August. The poems in each location are different and each part of the installation takes 20 minutes.

Shadow Script, which was edited by poet Colette Bryce, and costs £4 can be bought in Waterstones, the Lindisfarne Centre, in Marygate, Holy Island and G.S. Clark in Bamburgh and from the NCLA website.

published on: 26 July 2013