“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike... We find that after years of struggle
that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
Steinbeck, the ultimate writer on travel across america’s vastness, gets nearest to answering the
question that many ask those of us afflicted with wanderlust - Why?
We journey to fulfil a longing that our imagination alone cannot satisfy. it is essential to have
seen the shimmering heat rising from the endless blacktop, to have smelt the sage as evening
draws shadows across distant peaks, to have heard the ticking motor as it cools.
This is the stuff of John powls’ poems, glimpses from the corner of the poet’s eye woven into
an odyssey as ancient as Homer’s, yet as immediate as Carol Ballenger’s photographs grabbed
from Google’s eye. Together these contain the essence of Route 66, a journey fulfilled not
through reaching its end but through memories of what was, what might
John Powls is a long- established writer with a broad ambit encompassing journalism, drama
and contributions to other artists’ books. Above all, he is a landscape poet influenced by the
Romantic tradition with a considerable body of published work.
His poetry has been inspired by Dartmoor and his native North East of England with
interesting diversions to London, Japanese gardens in England, the art world and, now, Route 66.
A storytrader developing his particular heritage of language, John aims to achieve innovative realisation
of his themes on the page and is fascinated by the interplay of anticipation, memory and experience
in doing so.
He is a frequent performer of his work, including with artists and musicians in multimedia projects, and
has collaborated regularly with Carol Ballenger over more than twenty years.
Carol Ballenger’s photographs are in collections in the UK and abroad and have been
exhibited widely, including for the National Trust, The Dartmoor National Park Authority,
The Royal Photographic Society and the Edinburgh Festival. London exhibitions include St.
Martin-In-The-Fields, The Barbican Galleries and the Embassy of Japan. She has exibited at
The New York Hall of Science and her “Tree of Life” image was used as the cover for a report presented
at the UN summit on climate change in Paris.
Carol is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and a
founder member of Arts Live who promote exhibitions, performances and workshops, often combining
photography, music and poetry. She and John have collaborated on various projects and three books,
Dartmoor Dreams, Stone Universe and Dartington Hall have been published by Halsgrove.
For more information about Carol, John or Arts Live go to: www.artslive.org.uk.
Imprint: Halstar. ISBN 978 1 906690 64 9, hardback, 238x258mm, 96 pages. Published November 2016,