Nothing to see here
Liz Breslin from Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature responds to modern surveillance through poetry

‘Modern life is watching us so let’s watch it back, carefully, write what we see, and share our views.’ – Liz Breslin

Liz Breslin is a writer based in Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature. During her virtual writing residency in Norwich throughout February 2021, she explored the concept of modern surveillance and the ways we can turn it on its head and see the natural world differently, using the birdwatching webcams on Dunedin’s Otago peninsula and the Hawk and Owl Trust Norwich Cathedral Peregrine Live Webcams in Norwich as her inspiration. You can read one of Liz’s poetic responses to the webcams below.


Dan Holley says that a significant drifting of lying snow is likely today & that’s poetry & also I believe him because he wore a very nice burgundy knitted jumper (though it looked a little bit acrylic) in that White Christmas weather explainer he did

& though I’ve stalked him on Twitter the only vaguely cancellable thing I found was the Shopping Forecast image he shared. Asda, slight to moderate, heavy crowds by evening. M&S & Co-Op, fair

I check the webcam & the prevailing weather is dark & wind & I set my alarm for sunrise in Norwich. I talk to my son, who had another party while I was away. The owners, I say, have been in touch about mowing the lawn & I make it sound like these things are connected

Yesterday I forwarded him a text that says sounds like there’s a bit of a party going on at your place, was wondering if you were able to ask Dylan to turn it down considerably, I have a 430 start in the morning, not to mention everyone else in the neighbourhood

I go to the supermarket, I go to the beach. see pale seals, poaka, hold hands in waves & aisles & think about snow & snow & snow & Dan, in his forecast/poem, writes about erosion in the usual vulnerable places

& in 2019, Simon Crawford of the Russell Street Community Area Residents Association called for more CCTV, saying surely, surely, he said, the good & tax-paying people of Norwich have the right to feel protected from the less than decent members of the society who reside among us on a daily basis. I do surveillance on Simon & think about the word tricolate & try not to think about the party & the words irresponsible & mother & check the night again for snow

& the Russell Street Community Area Residents’ Facebook page says that Simon is secretary/crime & unrelatedly he wrote in 2011 on a page called Match of the day to all the Match of the day pundits. You have to agree that on today’s showing, Norwich city are here on merit 100%. The result against MK Dons was odd to say the least, however, we will now concentrate on the Premiership, & hear us when we say, we are here, & we are here to stay & more relevantly perhaps the published (on Facebook) Russell Street Community Area Residents Association minutes note that a resident reported that the grass cutting contractor had not mown the outside edges of Mancroft Green & the tale of a City Council housing official removing “No Ball games” signs in Dolphin & Watson Groves

& news & news & still no snow. two springer spaniels are missing, Bonnie & Tilly, the Eastern Daily Press says & here the most famous dogs in the south are spaniels are Dice & Weed, lost/taken, says a billboard on almost every major highway intersection & imagine the found-them prodigal party & there is a rare place, the EDP says, for rent for £1700 a month in Cathedral Close. Dan tells of a sudden stratospheric warming event & I read it as a sudden stratospheric warning

Photo by Michał Jakubowski on Unsplash

Read the full collection of Liz Breslin’s poems from her residency here >>


Liz Breslin writes poems, plays and stories. In 2020 she co-created Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature’s Possibilities Project and was the winner of the Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems. She’s also been part of a spoke’n’word tour of the Otago Central Rail Trail, which will be screened as rail:lines, a documentary film. Her second poem collection, In bed with the feminists, will be published by Dead Bird Books in 2021. 

 width=Imagining the City brings together five writers from UNESCO Cities of Literature across the world to explore connections between Norwich and their cities; link up with local writers; and work on a range of commissions. Read more

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