Poet hears the call of the sea

Just Regional
Mar 11, 2024 2 mins read

A Cromer poet and publisher has investigated the mystery, history and beauty of Norfolk in his fourth poetry collection – and made some fascinating personal discoveries on the way.
Chris Emery has spent the past 13 years making a home in north Norfolk, and capturing its beauty in poems. But while immersing himself in the county’s history for his new book, Modern Fog, Chris became intrigued by his own ancestry, and was shocked to learn that he was not the first in his bloodline to end up in Cromer.
Growing up in north Manchester, Chris, 60, knew of his Irish ancestors who had migrated across England in the 18th and 19th centuries, but he did not expect to find DNA traces of his forebears in Cromer and Sheringham.

It is believed that they settled there to work as boat builders and Chris, who lives on Norfolk Road, has brought the family full-circle.
“It’s astonishing to find these links – the family I never knew I had – who left the coast of County Mayo in terrible circumstances and migrated here where, centuries later, I too have found my home.
“Perhaps my genes knew where they wanted to be, and the sea was calling me.”
In 2012, Chris’s book The Departure was shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards
This was a book that was “very much about leaving one life behind and settling here on the Norfolk coast”, he said.
Since settling in Cromer, he has been capturing the county’s animals, birds and landscapes in a series of musical poems that have become part of Modern Fog.
The former director of operations at The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham also includes hiking, meditation and discovery in his work.
“We are fortunate to have over 600 medieval churches in East Anglia and almost every community has at its heart some extraordinary treasure,” he said. “If you really want to grasp Norfolk’s deep story, I suspect you need to understand this legacy.
“My poetry is obsessed with travel, time and place, and the stories they contain range widely. Yet I am haunted by the majesty of Norfolk and that sense of finding somewhere that lives in your bones.”

Modern Fog is out now, published by Arc Publications.

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