‘The Book Remembers’ by Hel Gurney | Verse Kraken

A beautiful example of Old English poetry used by a contemporary artist.

Listen: ‘The Book Remembers’ by Hel Gurney.

Hel’s poem/ digital performance piece is a response to the spur ‘Palimpsest’, as Verse Kraken introduce it on their website:

“Palimpsest: (literally, ‘scraped again’) traditionally refers to a manuscript page which has been scraped blank and written over, but has become more broadly used for things that are layered over one another. Other contexts the word is use in include architecture and astronomy.”

I can’t embed the audio on my website, but please do click through to Verse Kraken’s brilliant magazine to have a listen.

It’s a really wonderful thing to listen to, with Old English providing an echoed layer beneath the modern English words of an object – a book – as it might speak. Obviously it’s strongly connected to the ‘book’ riddle from the Exeter Book, but it definitely has a voice of its own. A re-writing? A translation? A re-telling? I’m not sure what to call it yet… But I’m obsessed.


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