Monday, 23 May 2011

The 3D of Poetry

With my current maritime project well under way I'm reading all things sea.

The most recent being Jean Atkin's Lost at Sea (Roncadora Press) on left. Although I'm not convinced it's strictly a 'read', being a wonderful collaboration of text, texture and visuals. The poems focus on the Shetland Islands, their geology, their inhabitants, sailors, drowings and survivors. A subject made all the more visceral by the mashing of the paper's texture upon which the poems sit.

Which got me thinking about the spaciousness of poetry, what it is and how it is perceived. This may have been prompted by John Fuller's article in The Guardian this weekend about the riddles of poetry, or hearing about Bob Dylan's squirming under labels, preferring 'poet' to anything else - for its versatility. Although I'm not convinced his lyrics, taken bare, make such great poems... To me it seems the addition of music is what makes them poems - or how he delivers them...

Anyway. This illustrated book/pamphlet highlights to me the beauty of this flexibility. The block printed pages could be described as poetry themselves. Poems are two-dimensional sculptures, which, like a magic-eye paintings, grow a third, and possibly fourth, dimension upon reading. After years of writing fiction (short and long) when I landed on poetry being the best form for what I wanted to say (and how) I instantly felt at home in poetry. It was a homecoming - to a home I didn't fully recognise, but which had formed the peaks of my childhood landscape as an avid reader of poetry, nursery rhymes, Struwwelpeter, etc etc. Like Eliot's And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time ... except it was the start of my exploration...

As 'poet' I can continue to persue my eclectic practice. Making the films to accompany Host last year was a visual way of exploring the poems, a rewrite of sorts. Working with Mouthtrap stretches my musical muscle. Sailing brings out my artisan poet. Basically I get to muck about.

I love this meeting point that pulls such diverse strands together, and sends them spiralling apart - like a prism. It's this patterning possibility that excites me about working on multifaceted approach to one subject, or form. And by 'working on' I mean reading about too. So I welcome any suggestions for artists/books/films about the sea...

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