~ Poet: Zoe Paterson Macinnes ~

My Father’s Bones by Zoe Paterson Macinnes

An author-made poetry film by Zoe Paterson Macinnes,

a visual artist and filmmaker from the Isle of Lewis. Zoe’s work is a result of her island heritage. She combines personal observations of land and sea with voice, memory and music from the islands to explore themes of identity and belonging. Her documentary short, Cianalas, which investigates the identity of young musicians in Lewis, was awarded Best Documentary Short by Desert Rock Film and Music Festival, and Best Student Film by Culture and Diversity Film Festival.

The music is by Lauren MacColl—the traditional fiddle tune “MacGregor of Roro’s Lament“—setting the mood for a bittersweet, meditative film which I liked well enough when I first watched it two months ago, but found incredibly moving the second time through. I suppose it helps than I can connect to it in two ways, from having visited other islands in the Hebrides, and from my own deep connection to the place where I grew up (including knowing exactly where I’ll be buried, as the poem says).

Video is such a great medium for poems of place! And despite being a professional filmmaker, Macinnes kept things simple with text on screen and slow-moving shots that aren’t redundant with the text and give the viewer’s mind permission to roam—paradoxically, a state more amenable to active engagement. It moves at a walker’s pace. I like that.