"As there should be when searching for new ways to contemplate tradition, a fresh type of experimentation with language, its spacial arrangement and its breath, is given to the reader, but always with a solid and concrete centre of people and place. A balance is struck between the heart, and the search for a language, scientific or natural, which might be able to fully represent it. Poems such as ‘You and Him: A Venn Diagram’ give us a visual language for exploring the pamphlet’s themes, and the pamphlet as a whole brings together the insertion of the urban and natural, the historical and the contemporary. An exciting new pamphlet from a poet doing important new things with the art.”
“Making Tracks uses the texture of language and collaged fragments to celebrate those people who worked at the now defunct Longbridge car factory. Wareham Morris’s father is the beating heart at the centre of these poems, it’s whose voice we hear, entrusted to her tender keeping. There is the melancholy of a way of life gone here, but also the love of a day’s work and the satisfaction of a job well done.”
By design, Making Tracks is very dutiful, yet very fallible.
A sample poem from the pamphlet can be found below.
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You were ruled by the track that sliced through the factory,
that carved the operating chaos of your life,
me too, by the blood in my arms –
the cartographic lines drawn in the grass laid before me
to keep it moving, to keep them and us alive.
Hundreds of transposable parts simultaneously
dropping into place like dancers, with your eyes
shut counting beats, the rhythm in your fast feet
recognised the tools, the bodies, the faces
jacked up the day new West Works opened,
when shells swam with robots then sailed
over the Bristol Road. Each day before and after
mechanised, standardised, but you the one-off,
driving from one heart, one hearth to another.
Daily, nightly dangers posed by predictable
assembly sequence, lines forced to refine,
whilst you designed me first, yet my parts
still coming together, directions in motion,
crafting the chaos of the steadfast home that would work us,
and the men who remained unchanged for years,
the production line that had produced you before.
It never stopped – your brain like my brain
loudly crashing to the beat of your fast feet
dancing on my heart, growing from the middle,
multiplicities dropping into additional software
for brand new computers, your quick hands
finished processes same place, same time, every time.
The machine making machines work.
That conveyor bridge demolished first.
A video reading of 'Grass' from the pamphlet can also be enjoyed below.
"Making Tracks by Katy Wareham Morris, out with V Press, is a creative and conceptual triumph, exploring the disparate effects of a changing place on a multifaceted set of identities, communities and cultures."
R.M. Francis, ‘Best of 2020: Poetry’, Morning Star, full list & review here
"These are heartfelt pieces which speak of tension: the permanence of the natural, and the soul’s depth, versus the expediency of market values and the urban. Thought provoking and original."
Maggie Mackay, OPOI, Sphinx Review, full review here
"Like her poem I try to explain it again, we are in the rhizomes of place-identity and its upheaval. Language and formal experimentation strike a beautifully shaped punch throughout these pages; playfully rendering the slippery nature of memory, class, gender with poetic tricks that are genuinely avant-garde, but never at the expense of earthy guts; which these poems are drenched in. Making Tracks gets to the hypocentre of West Midlands Industrial life."
R. M. Francis
"I enjoyed seeing Wareham Morris play with words, presentation and spacing in this collection. What’s also great is when there’s a clear backbone to a collection, which was obvious from the title, ‘Making Tracks’, which was a reoccurring theme throughout. "
Nikki Dudley, full review here
"That’s where the success of ‘Making Tracks’ lies. It combines social history with factual history, it’s a record of what the Longbridge plant meant to the families of employees and a collection of poems which makes for rewarding reading."
Emma Lee, The Blue Nib, full review here