Uffington Horse Puts Poetry in Motion; Ancient Myth and Magic Collide in Horse, an Experimental New Work by Poet Katrina Porteous and Composer Peter Zinovieff, as TAMZIN LEWIS Learns

Article excerpt


THE Uffington White Horse, near Oxford, is a mysterious and slightly controversial beast. After much theorising, archaeologists have concluded the leaping figure is 3,000 years old. But what was it created for? And is it even a horse? Fertile ground then for a poet interested in history, myth and landscape. Katrina Porteous, who lives at Beadnell in Northumberland, has spent a year collaborating with her friend Peter Zinovieff on a sound piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3. Horse will premiere at this weekend's Free Thinking Festival of Ideas at The Sage Gateshead, which is bringing a host of big names to the venue including Foreign Secretary William Hague, author Margaret Drabble, psychotherapist Susie Orbach and - as Thinker-in-Residence - the Rev Dr Giles Fraser who recently resigned from his post at St Paul's Cathedral.

Katrina explains she was inspired by artist Mark Wallinger's proposal for a monumental white horse which won an Angel of the South competition in 2009.

"I saw the proposal, which is very realistic, and I thought the horse looked very static," she says. "I decided to do a piece about the spirit of a horse rather than its appearance.

"This made me remember the Uffington horse from many years ago. It doesn't look much like a horse but it does look like the spirit of a horse."

Katrina first visited the late Bronze Age steed, which lies near prehistoric track The Ridgeway on the Berkshire Downs, as a child.

She says: "I was obsessed with horses, like many little girls, and, aged seven, I begged my parents to go on a school trip to see the Uffington horse. When I saw it I was very disappointed."

Returning to Uffington as an adult, her views of the stylised horse were rather different. …


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.