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Poet rocks up in research residency at geological society


A University of Wolverhampton graduate has become the Black Country Geological Society’s first ever Poet in Residence.

Rob Francis, who lives in Dudley, completed his PhD in Creative Writing in the School of Humanities and now teaches Creative and Professional Writing at the University.

The local writer and poet was successful in obtaining a place on the University of Wolverhampton's Early Career Research Award Scheme (ERAS), for a creative writing project that explores the geological heritage of the Black Country. 

The first Black Country Geopoetry project will be a series of poems entitled Chain Coral Chorus. Geopoetics are a variety of experimental writing practices that draw on geological method and language, and consider human life, culture and society in a deep time context.

Rob will work with the Black Country Geological Society to engage the public in new ways of considering poetry and place through a series of walks, talks, readings and workshops throughout the year.

Rob said: “I'm very excited to be Poet in Residence for the Black Country Geological Society.

“In this twelve month role I'll be exploring the geosites of the region, and writing a series of geopoems inspired by and set in these wonderful places.  These poems will be creative responses to the environment and will explore how the geological make-up of the land impacts, connects and clashes with the much overlooked cultures of the Black Country.  

“This work will be enhanced by the important geological research and work of the Black Country Geological Society and together we'll be furthering the messages of geo-conservation; introducing newcomers to geology and the region's rich history.”

Graham Worton, Chairman of the Black Country Geological Society, said:  “We are absolutely delighted that his funding application for the project 'Chain Coral Chorus' was successful.

This residency will be a whole new dimension for our society and follows on from the poem we published by Rob in our last newsletter.

“Rob will be exploring the Black Country Geosites through the medium of poetry and this funding will open up opportunities for him working closely with us. We congratulate Rob and look forward to meeting him when circumstances permit, and to some geopoetical collaborations in the future.”

Rob said: “The Black Country is famous for its role in the Industrial Revolution and its industrial heritage forged unique and important communities and cultures. This, in many ways, was connected to the grounds that gave life to these cultures - the fossil rich grounds dating back to the Silurian era.

“My creative work will re-figure our relationship with the local environment; both in its surfaces and depths, the building materials and the forces that create them. This project will consider these issues in an overlooked region, famed for its  'dark satanic mills' in the Industrial Revolution, considering this in conjunction with conservation, ecology, sustainability, and new ways of experiencing place in the anthropocene.”

Find out more about R. M. Francis here and connect with him on Twitter @RMFrancis.

Picture of Seven Sisters Cavern, Wrens Nest courtesy of BCGS.

For more information contact the Corporate Communications Team 01902 322736/518647 or out of office hours on 07973 335112 or email:


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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