The Walking Home archive consists of physical and digital materials which include:
· Simon Armitage’s handwritten walking notebook
· the guidebooks and maps that he used to plan his walk and inform his writing
· digital drafts and proofs of Walking Home
· over 200 photographs
The placement of items in an archive can raise interesting questions. In one of the archive boxes a published copy of Walking Home is kept with the maps and guidebooks used on the original walk. This prompts us to consider the difference between travel writing and travel guides, and to think about authority and genre. Do we as readers come to genres with different expectations, and why do we trust some books rather than others? What do we need to ‘find’ ourselves in any given place?
Armitage used the red walking notebook to record daily observations but also to draft poems. This invites us to consider whether poems can also be a type of guide, and if so, in what sense? Further questions include whether landscape is differently represented in poetry and prose, and if so how? How does the form of landscape writing transform the reader’s engagement with, or perception of, its subject?