Thursday, 6 December 2012

Events for the winter season

Happy Yuletide everyone,

There is an opportunity to join me reading at my seasonal event in Witney, next Friday (see flyer attached)
We raise money for Oxfordshire hospices.

There are two dates for your diaries for Poetry at the Museum in the next Ashmolean Programme.

Sat 26 Jan and Sat 16 Feb

It will not be associated with any special exhibition this time.

The format will evolved when I see how many people are interested in taking part.

I have had some excellent feedback on the first series, but am still hoping to receive some more comments and suggestions. 

With every good wish

Nick Owen

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Workshop on creating poetry and pictures 19 November

This workshop will be on November 19th at 6.00 p.m. at The Albion Beatnik Bookshop.

It is a free event.

Bring a poem, an idea for a poem, or a vision that haunts you, which you might turn into a poem.

Nick uses his experience and knowledge of teaching creativity in therapy for over thirty years to draw out material buried in your unconscious mind.

An example of blending an image with lines from a poem.

For background to the workshop read on below:

Poetry and Pictures:  a manifesto.

From the earliest days of printing, a world of visual images with associated thought and feeling, juxtaposed with text has been part of the western way of enculturation, to help in the process of translating meaningless ciphers, squiggles on a page, into the stuff of inner experience, into understood written words, leaping from the page or screen into constructs of a mental world.

I will never forget the moment when words and images entwined and danced for me as I began to understand written text for the first time. It was like the moment when stumbling and sinking transform into skiing and swimming as learning transforms to achieving.

The real father of Poetry and Pictures as a genre has to be William Blake, a visual artist by trade, and one of the greatest poets in the English language. More recently, the last poet laureate, Ted Hughes, set the ball rolling for modern artists with his book, “The Remains of Elmet”. He wrote poems specifically for a photographer’s art works here. In a second book, “River”, he juxtaposed poetry with an artist’s photographs without connecting them more intimately.

Hughes only wrote the poetry. He collaborated with others to create these poem-picture works. We are encouraging such collaborative work, and are open to both photographers and poets, but we are mostly focused on creating a combined work made by one author. “Poetry and Pictures” is, I believe, the first attempt to establish the two arts together as a genre for the twenty first century. 

Photography has always struggled to establish its credentials as an Art form in its own right. Poetry in turn, has struggled to make a case that it is still relevant to this fast changing world. Much modern writing is as uninspiring as a snapshot from a cheap digital camera. I believe that combining ideas expressed visually with ideas expressed in words can make for a powerful medium of expression, both folk art and high art. The idea is to link a poem with a picture or series of pictures. The two can also blend together into a single visual image, which is both poetry and photography. I am not sure how many variations on the overall theme will emerge. Already there are versions I had not dreamed about. I find the merging of words into visual art in graphic artistry a particularly inspiring form. Poetry condenses experience. A photographer or graphic artist can do the same with a visual image.


Some of us are beginning to explore spoken poetry alongside a series of video images.

You can see examples here: 

and here: 

Critical evaluation

Poetry and Pictures will receive much unkind critical comment from both poets and visual artists. A poetry critic is likely to think that a specific image can only diminish the power of the inner imagery generated by a poem. Sometimes and for some people this will be true. At others it will not. Poets may write in such a way that the two interweave. 

Visual artists often protest that words detract from the image. But our culture is saturated with low grade imagery, devoid of emotional content. Some images are poetic on their own. Most are not. Individual P&P artists are building their own fascinating, challenging, even riveting approaches to this work. It is much too early to make adequate judgements.

I am indebted to Martin Kimeldorf, a member of the Poetry and Pictures International Group, currently hosted on the flickr website, for the suggestion that we are creating a new folk art. Just as great novels grow out of fairy tales and great symphonies build from folk songs, so we may be able to create works of art at many different levels of merit and complexity. The way we identify ourselves as human beings and relate to each other as people is already being transformed by web formats such as Facebook, and twitter, as well as weblogs. Poetry and Pictures can be incorporated into such a web format to create a way for everyone to develop self expression, self affirmation, a new kind of intimacy, friendship and better social relationships. The international group I have formed currently uses these very powerful tools for communication both in words and pictures which is provided by It is not perfect, since it is primarily designed for photo sharing rather than poetry. But the group already had 180 members within a month of starting, and representatives from Europe, North America and Asia. Within two years it had members from every continent. It grows at about 20 new members a month. There are now over 600 members. Oxfordshire has some of the leading lights, which include Mike Jones and Giles Watson.
BBC GCSE revision

Anyone teaching or taking GCSE English will now be familiar with images being run alongside poetry. The BBC has made this a major feature of its revision format.

Biographical note

Nick Owen is a poet, playwright and photographer with over thirty years experience in the field of personal development education, working with all ages from unborn babies and their parents through to old people’s reminiscence groups. He has been a director of a school of psychotherapy. Nick recently won the Witney Calendar Photography competition.

 To find out more visit

A course in poem-picture making at the Ashmolean Museum

Learn to use both sides of your brain to create images and poems which combine to make "poem-picture art". Working from objects in the museum the course helps you towards a public performance and display at the Ashmolean. In four two-hour sessions you learn about creating images from museum objects and writing poems to go with them. The museum can supply cameras and art materials or you can bring your own. The course leader, Nick Owen, uses process-oriented psychology to develop your writing skills.

People who have done the art appreciation and photography courses at the Ashmolean may find this course builds on from those courses.

More information from the museum education department, the “What’s On” Brochure for the autumn

Poetry Recitals at the Ashmolean Museum

In celebration of Edward Lear, the famous Victorian poet and artist, the Ashmolean offers three sets of poetry readings in galleries at the museum this autumn. Some of the best Oxfordshire poets will share poems written to celebrate Edward Lear’s works, or other objects in the museum. Visitors will gather in the Randolf Gallery and be led to spots in the museum, where poets both read and explain their work. People who join the “poetry and pictures” course this autumn will also be able to read their work at a special recital on 17 November.

Times 12.00 - 13.30  and  14.30 - 16.00

Dates 6 October, 3 November, 17 November

More information from the museum education department, the “What’s On” Brochure for the autumn

Friday, 9 November 2012

Provisional Gallery Performances for November the seventeenth.

Poet                                          Title                                                        Object/place

Merryn Williams                   Admiring the still lives                         Still life gallery

Giles Watson                          The pearl                                                mediaeval gallery

Vahni Capildeo                      Handfast                                       Hawking glove. Room 8

Jennifer McGowan                 What Mr Lear Saw                         Lear Exhibition

Diana Moore                        Ashmole- Lear-ean                               Lear Exhibition

Nick Owen                           Gorilla                                                      Lear Exhibition


Not yet confirmed

Louise Larchbourne

Geraldine Clarkson

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Poetry at the Ashmolean this Saturday 3 November

2 readings. 12.00 -13.30  14.30- 16.00

Check for more information about the poems and the writers on their profiles.

Each reader has 10 minutes to introduce read and answer questions.

1          Sarianne Durie            Sphinx
2          Pauletter Mae             The ghosts of the five moons
3          Jalina Mhyana            Seeding Prometheus  
4          Louise Larchbourne    Earth Wash
5          Sean Quinn                 Cloud Mantle
6          Paul Surman               The Road to Emmaus
7          Diana Moore               Ashmo-Lear-ean

Monday, 22 October 2012

Notes on the first presentation of poetry at the museum.

                                                                                                                                The Alfred Jewel  

                         The past is a storehouse of precious things:
                   curious fragments and confusing questions,
                   stories and objects, strangeness and sameness.
                   Museums remind us of the mysteries of time:
                   everything changes, everyone dies.
                   Our age will vanish, as Alfred's has done.
                      Those days are gone; these too will pass

This stanza is probably the most resonant for me of everything we did on Saturday October 6th. There was a moment as John read “those days are gone; these too will pass,” when I slipped out of time and into some other sphere, which I might be tempted to call “the eternal”. 

I have spent too little time in museums. I am only just connecting with them fully.

Giles sometimes looks as if he belongs in a museum, with his wild hair and his PhD in medaieval studies. Mark Maker was read in one of the the place’s darkest spots, which made it very hard to see or video. Someone asked him if his work was all about making marks in the landscape. That could be right. People should look at his stuff on youtube and flickr. John was impressed with Mark Maker. He said there are two kinds of poems, the ones you wish you had written yourself and the others. This came into the first category. Giles is hosting Christopher Reid at the Wantage Literature Festival on Wednesday 31. Worth a ticket I think.

Vahni bravely turned up feeling fluish, but still drew us into the magic of how a museum can turn into a place of worship or sanctuary. She looked a little like a saint with a very bright halo above her head, made by the light of her object.

David gave us the most amusing moment of the tour. I had to ask him how he had resisted the “irresistible” pull of the object in his “Do not touch.” He said he had been well brought up. 

A poet well brought up! I still remember reshaping a piece of sculpture in the Haywood, which someone seemed to have sat on. That was the seventies. No one objected. Today I would go to jail. I would not dare. David was fortunate in having a well lit place to recite. I never gave a thought to the fact that it is not allowed to make videos in there. Modern art is much to be protected. 
Jude, our very helpful hostess said it was allowed, this time.  I could not help but feel angry that a sculpture is “for our eyes only”. There is something about sculpture that is essentially haptic. It should be touched. Nothing is everlasting, nor should a museum have the delusion that it can make it so.

These days shall pass
Everything changes

I look forward to David’s poem about the Stradivarius that no one must ever play. It is in there somewhere.

Jenifer entertained us with different ways of reading nonsense. She emphasised how much we bring to the object and the poem in our listening and perceiving. I would have focused more on the meanings that lie hidden in nonsense that are sneaking through to us. I had hoped to lecture on sense and nonsense in psychology and art this term, but it was not to be. Both points of view are worthwhile.

Then it was my turn. I felt happier doing the performance than in looking at it on video afterwards. I am slowly making them into something just about watchable on Youtube, linked to the blog. 

Do tell me if you don’t want to be seen. 

Someone made off with one of my poem-pictures from it, so I suppose it wasn’t too bad. 

The audience in the Lear Gallery was a good one. I was able to lower my voice to a whisper for the relevant part, and I heard no other voices.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

If you like this weblog you might also enjoy this one

What it says on the tin- a mixed bag of things to do with poetry. If you want to write something for it please go ahead and send it to me

Please also send me anything you would like to add about the first set of performances at the Ashmolean.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

November 3 2012 Gallery Performances

The order of running is not yet fixed, but here are the times and names of performers with their works and objects.

Session 1  12.00-13.30

Session 2  14.30-16.00

Please gather in the Randolph Gallery on the left of the main entrance.

Poet                           Poet                   Object/location

Sarianne Durie                      Sphinx                                        Randolph gallery

Jalina Mhyana                       Seeding Prometheus                       Piero di Cosimo/ The Forest Fire

Diana Moore                         ASHMO-LEAR-EAN                     Nonsense Poetry/Lear exhibition

 Paulette Mae                   'the ghosts of the five moons'       'Fishing nets' by Yang Yanping (LI1486.4)

 Louise Larchbourne         Earth Wash           Virgin and child with St Joseph

Paul Surman              The road to Emmaus     John Linnell 1792-1882.      Room 66

Sean Quinn                Cloud Mantle   John, Count of Nassau, van Dyck    Room44

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Update on the road to Emmaus

It was the weather of a dream,
like some rough fabric we wore
that chafed, a thin lightning
crackling uninvited
through the general disturbance
of our flesh: but our thoughts
were worse. We stumbled past things
as if they were illusions.
The road a deep-rutted curse,
skewed by imaginings,
and us alone on it, silent
inside the mutterings of our thoughts.
Everywhere the heat shouted at us
from a text of light on rocks,
obscure sayings from a book
of the inert that seemed to say
this is it, this is all there is.
Then he was there beside us,
a stranger asking us what it was
we had said; cruel, he called us fools
and slow of heart, quoted scriptures,
as day turned to a heavy night
that blundered along with us,
until on arrival we asked him in
to eat. That’s when the dull
pressure of fear and heat was released―
and we were amazed by sudden
recognition, not of man or god,
but of a simple gesture, plain
as the blessing and breaking of bread.

Paul Surman

Friday, 5 October 2012

Sharing Poetry and Pictures Internationally

               Poetry and Pictures International

You can share your poem-pictures on this weblog, or on flickr.

People local to the Ashmolean might prefer to join

PPI is a new artistic form. Start with a poem you have written and post it to this flickr group. You need not include any graphics, but you may use whatever style or background you think best enhances the poem. Then add one or more pictures, which you feel were inspirational in your creative writing, or which add another dimension to it (select a maximum of five images). Add your picture in the comments space. Group members will then add comments, criticism and /or creative imagery which illuminate the poet's work. Poetic responses are also encouraged.
PPI is the central hub group, but there will be many genre and linguistic satellite groups. Please suggest a genre (e.g haiku) or language group you would be willing to co-ordinate.

Please tag your picture with "Poetry and Pictures International" (copy this with the quotation marks), when you add it to the group pool!

One more thing: You are strongly encouraged to watch out for poets on flickr! When you spot one, please invite him/her to PPI!

PPI es una nueva forma artística. Comienzo con un poema que lo has escrito y que fijas a este grupo del flickr. No necesitas incluir ninguna gráficos, sino que puedes utilizar cualquier estilo o fondo que piensas lo más mejor posible realza el poema. Entonces agregar unos o más cuadros, que sensación eras inspirational en tu escritura creativa, o que agregan otra dimensión a él (seleccionan un máximo de cinco imágenes). Agregar tu cuadro en el espacio de los comentarios. Los miembros del grupo entonces agregarán los comentarios, la crítica y/o las imágenes creativas que iluminan el trabajo del poeta. Las respuestas poéticas también se animan. PPI es el grupo central del cubo, pero habrá mucho género y los grupos basados en los satélites lingüísticos. Sugerir por favor a un género (e.g haiku) o a grupo de la lengua que estarías dispuesto a coordinar.

PPI ist eine neue künstlerische Form. Verwende einfach ein Gedicht, das du geschrieben hast, und schicke es in diese Gruppe. Du mußt nicht unbedingt ein Photo als Hintergrund benutzen, es kann ein beliebiger Hintergrund sein, von dem du denkst, daß er die Bedeutung deines Gedichtes am besten unterstreicht. Füge dann, wenn du willst, noch ein oder mehrere Bilder hinzu, von denen du denkst, daß sie dich beim Schreiben inspiriert haben oder die deinem Gedicht eine weitere Tragweite verleihen (wähle maximal 5 Bilder aus). Füge die Bilder im Kommentarbereich hinzu. Gruppenmitglieder werden dann ihre Kommentare, Kritik und/oder kreative Gedanken äußern, die das Werk des Poeten näher beleuchten. Auch poetische Kommentare sind erwünscht.
PPI ist die zentrale Gruppe, es wird jedoch viele Teilgruppen zu verschiedenen Genres und Sprachen geben. Bitte schlag ein Genre (z. B. Haiku) oder eine Sprachgruppe vor, die du evtl. koordinieren möchtest.

Bitte füge deinem Bild ein Tag "Poetry and Pictures International" (mit den Anführungszeichen) hinzu, wenn du es in den Gruppenpool schickst.

Oh, und noch etwas: Es würde uns freuen, wenn du Ausschau nach anderen Poeten in Flickr hältst. Wenn du einen findest, wäre es toll, wenn du ihn nach PPI einlädst!

Poésie et photos international (PPI) est une nouvelle forme artistique. Sélectionnez d’abord un poème que vous avez composé et affichez-le dans ce groupe flickr. Il n’est pas nécessaire d’inclure des graphiques, mais vous pouvez utiliser un arrière-plan ou une présentation qui, selon vous, accentue le poème. Ajoutez ensuite une ou plusieurs photos qui ont été inspirantes lors de l’écriture ou qui ajoutent une autre dimension au poème (en choisir cinq au maximum). Ajoutez ensuite les photos dans la zone des commentaires. Par la suite, les membres du groupe ajouteront des commentaires, des critiques et des images qui éclairent le travail du poète. Les rétroactions en forme de poèmes sont aussi les bienvenues.
PPI est le centre d’activité principal du groupe, mais il y aura plusieurs groupes satellites pour différents genres et d’autres langues. Si vous désirez coordonner un groupe, veuillez nous faire parvenir vos suggestions de genres (p. ex. : haïku) et la langue.

PPIは新しく功妙な形態である。 あなたがこのflickrのグループにそれを書き、掲示する詩との開始。 グラフィックを含む必要はないがあなたが最もよく考える背景かどんな様式詩を高める使用することができる。 それからあなたが感じあなたの創造的な執筆で心に強く訴えるようだった、またはそれに別の次元を(加える最大5つのイメージを選ぶ) 1つ以上の映像を加えなさい。 コメントスペースのあなたの映像を加えなさい。 グループのメンバーはそれから詩人の仕事を照らすコメント、批評をや創造的なイメージを加える。 詩的な応答はまた励まされる。 PPIは中央ハブのグループである、しかし多くのジャンルおよび言語衛星グループある。 ジャンルを(例えばhaiku)またはあなたによってが調整して喜んでである言語グループを提案しなさい。

PPI è una nuova forma artistica. Inizio con un poem che lo avete scritto e che inviate a questo gruppo del flickr. Non dovete includere alcuni grafici, ma potete usare che cosa stile o priorità bassa che pensate il più bene aumenta il poem. Allora aggiungere una o più immagini, che tatto eravate inspirational nella vostra scrittura creativa, o che aggiungono un'altra dimensione ad esso (selezionano un massimo di cinque immagini). Aggiungere la vostra immagine nello spazio di osservazioni. I membri del gruppo allora aggiungeranno le osservazioni, la critica e/o il linguaggio figurato creativo che illuminano il lavoro del poet. Le risposte Poetic inoltre sono consigliate a. PPI è il gruppo centrale del mozzo, ma ci sarà molto genere e gruppi satelliti linguistici. Suggerire prego un genere (per esempio haiku) o il gruppo che di lingua sareste disposti a coordinare.

مكتوبه لك وظيفه من هذه المجموعه فليكر. تريدون من اي رسوم ، لكن يمكنك استخدام اي اسلوب او الخلفيه ترينه افضل يعزز القصيده. ثم يضيف احد او اكثر من الصور التي كان شعورك ملهمه لكم في الكتابه الابداعيه ، او التي تضيف بعدا اخر هو (اختيار اقصاها خمس صور). اضيف ان الصوره في التعليقات الفضاء. اعضاء الفريق ثم تضاف التعليقات النقد او الابداع الصور التي تضيء الشاعره في اعمالها. شاعريه الردود مشجعه ايضا. الارقام هي المحور المركزي المجموعه ، ولكن لن تكون هناك سواتل والنوع المجموعات اللغويه. الرجاء اقتراح النوع (هايكو مثلا) او المجموعه اللغويه كنتم علي استعداد الاحداثي

生产者价格指数是一个新的艺术形式. 首先你写了一首诗,但这个职位Flickr组. 你无须将任何图形,但你可以用任何方式或背景你认为最好的诗提升. 再加一个或多个图片,你觉得你是创作灵感,或加上另一个层面它(最多选五项图像). 您在评论画面增添空间. 小组成员将加入评论、批评和/或图像,照亮了诗人创作的工作. 诗意反应也是鼓励. 生产者价格指数,是集团的核心枢纽,而且有很多类型的卫星和语言集团. 请显示类型(例如句)或语文组你会愿意配合.

Almost there: Jerusalem reading for 6 October

Here is the version I shall read at 13.15 on Saturday 6 October in the Lear Exhibition Gallery.

      Jerusalem           A poem by Nick Owen             2012

We look over his shoulder                                             
At Shepherds standing by,  
Unmindful of the city.
An open sky is heaven enough for them.
But shining on the other hill
The artist shows so clear
The place they call Jerusalem
So far and yet so near.

A valley lies below us, bare and dark.
For me this has to be the shadow of death,
A place of desolation, fearful, stark,
Where all too many soldiers took their final breath.
Armies of the past, and of the future too;
We do not see them now upon the ground
And yet I think I hear their dreadful sound.

Over his shoulder we see some goats or sheep
In pastures almost green,
A peaceful, restful, pastoral scene;
Even the rocks are bright and clean.
He might have drawn on William Blake.
These could be northern English hills;
An English man’s Jerusalem to make,
Not covered in satanic mills.

Out of nowhere, a God without a face
Compels the souls of men to make for this.
It whispers to the world, “This is the place
Which, more than any other, is the source of bliss,
More powerful, more wonderful than any lover’s kiss.
For, if there is redemption, it is here.
Come all ye, and enter without fear”.

Our fathers went on pilgrimage to reach this holy city,
A pure white shining citadel beyond decay.
In hope to reach eternity, they made their way,
With prayers in many tongues, and oaths to say.
Some came in peace, some came in holy war
They shared a sacred dream,
Some thing, for them, worth fighting for.

Thousands fought and thousands died
And thousands more will fight and die
To hold this land.  Many have tried
To find a way of peace, but many lie
And will lie again. I ask you why?
When you believe that God is on your side
You do not count the dead, or lose your pride.

We look over his shoulder
For a dream that we hope to come real
A place of love and beauty, peaceful games,
A place with magnetism, a serene appeal,
Where conflicts end in happy resolution.
But all these hopes are turned to desperation,
The darkness spreading higher on the hill,
As war threatens death to every nation.

Christian, Moslem, Arab, Jew,
The jealous God that was just for you
Can change his mind, adding new revelation.
Acceptance might transform your indignation.
Please set aside the gun and bomb,
Or I fear the end of days will come,
Jerusalem itself will be no more.

The breathless child Lear left behind
Escaping into nonsense or fine birds
And pastoral landscapes of this remarkable kind,
Where life becomes more real, less absurd,
And men sit silently, no words
Upon their lips. Perhaps his promises had all been kept
Or maybe he has stood here, painting while he wept.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Gallery Performances for October 6th

                                            October 6th

Meet Saturday at 12.00 noon in the Randolph Gallery near the entrance

Poet                                                         Poem                                                                               Object/theme

 Giles  Watson                            Mark Maker                                               Robin Tanner's Wiltshire Hedger

Vahni  Capildeo                     Museum stands in                                         Room 32, India from AD 600

John Elinger                              The Alfred Jewel                                       The  Alfred Jewel      

David Olsen                               Please Do Not Touch                                 Barbara Hepworth Sculpture


Nick Owen                                    Jerusalem                                            Lear’s Jerusalem Picture/exhibition

Jennifer  McGowan
                  Deedledammer                                  Nonsense poetry/Lear exhibition

Performances are repeated starting at 2.30 p.m.

Edward Lear in the media, and National Poetry Day News


I may not get to the Ashmolean, but you can have this,

Good luck,

Happy Birthday Edward Lear
And the limericks we hold so dear
Five short lines
And two simple rhymes
Are enough to illicit a cheer.

The winner of the stanza competition is announced for National Poetry Day

THE WINNING POEM: 'Stone written' by Angela Stoner

Not a calm or a cool stone
It still carries the charge of its birth
the fracture of every wave smash
the bruise of every pebble smash,
every power hammer of the sea
the jarring fall of every tide
the percussive battery of stone slides
as each pebble rubs its partner up the wrong way.
It carries the record of every knockout blow
etched in white hot lightning stripes.
Angela Stoner lives in Cornwall. She runs workshops which explore the therapeutic power of writing. She has two published books Once in a Blue Moon (Fal publications) and a collection of poetry Weight and Flight (Oversteps Books). She finds the support and insight of groups such as Stanza invaluable.

Angela: "The poem was inspired by a workshop led by Alyson Hallett where she gave us stones to explore. My stone seemed to speak of the fiery relentless violence of its life. Every knock seemed marked on the stone like wounds. I aimed for percussive, repetitive phrases which would echo its experience."
John Siddique: "One of the wonderful things about poetry is that it places the life of a person or object or time into the reader’s soul. Line by line poetry can paint a picture that will stay with the reader changing the way they look at the world in a small way ever after. This poem does just that."

Angela's poem will be sent to the Forward Prize judges for consideration for the Best Single Poem of the year, and Angela will be invited to read at a future Poetry Society event.

I have been collecting stones from everywhere I have ever been for fifty years. This does nothing for me.
perhaps if we had the picture of her stone it would all come through.
I have never chosen or seen a stone that made me think this way. You could saythat was great. It has opened my mind.

I disagree.  Give us a picture, if you want to convince with your poem.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Profile: Paulette Mae

I am a dance artist and writer of fiction and poetry because I find it easier to communicate experience, insights, visions, observations through these mediums, especially those which evade the ways we’re expected to say what we mean.

I perform my poems with The Jericho Poets, and have performed with The Back Room Poets in and around Oxford, and Malika’s Poetry Kitchen in London, as well as independently.  

My poems have been published in the magazines Under the RadarThe Dawntreader and The Nail.

Paulette will read  'the ghosts of the five moons' based on the object,  'Fishing nets' by Yang Yanping (LI1486.4)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

limericks from Diana Moore and others

There once was a man who was quirky
In topics from zebra to turkey
He sketched fish and ants
And curious plants
And declared: "This is very nice worky."
Diana Moore

Happy Birthday Edward Lear
Your limericks we hold so dear
Five short lines
And two simple rhymes
Are enough to elicit a cheer.

Gerard Robinson

Profile: Sarianne Durie

Sarianne is an artist who has made stained glass windows almost all her life;  she changed direction five years ago and started writing poetry again, which she had stopped about thirty years before when she was too busy making windows.

The Sphinx

We Sphinxes all creep by the banks of the Nile
you may see us peeping from faience and tile,
while guarding the gates of the most ancient tombs
as tourists wander and the sand turkey booms.

We sometimes turn purple and hide in the sky,
it wouldn’t fool you, but the birds that fly high
right up in the ether to dance in the sun
come floating down to us and sing us their song, then

in red satin cape, with buttons agape,
we dive to the depths of the Nile
and there we do meet with fishes all sweet
and a mermaid or two from Argyll.

All day we sit haughty, with head in the air,
we do nothing naughty, not even our hair;
the tourists stand round us and take photographs –
then all run away when one of us laughs.

One day I was caught and stolen away      
I was wanted in Oxford in these serried ranks
alongside dead sculptures just standing all day –
but I tell you it hasn’t stopped me and my pranks:       

now in the museum when no one is here
and night time is come, I prowl without fear;
I somersault neatly in style down the aisle
hoping I won’t go and land in a pile.

I did that one night and lost part of my nose
and then on another lost some of my toes,
and being more lion and only part girl
my looks touch my pride;  I’m rather a churl.

My great aunt, Jasmina, the Sphinx of Old Thebes
riddled her Four, Two and Three to all passers by;
a Greek heard the answer as he walked by the reeds –
and when Oedipus told her she died with a sigh.

The Djinn of the desert who conjured the Sphinx
got into such trouble when he put on the jinx
and invented ourselves and, grand though we are,
he was caught by Aladdin and put in a jar.

We’re contrary beings, so misunderstood –
we stay holding our breath, only move when we should –
but way beyond time we sing of our plight,
watch us swing through the sky any bright starry night.

Sarianne Durie                                           August 2012

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

More about Jalina and her poem-picture making

Some cutting edge stuff from Jalina's website.

I have seen very many kinds of poem-picture on

a lot of it mediocre at best

and mostly good stuff on

But Jalina's work is different and original.

Go for the top link

Profile: Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn, born 1965, South of Manchester.

Studied textile design as a mature student, attending Loughborough College of Art, he graduated in 1997 . For his final year, alongside a collection of hand woven silks, he submitted a dissertation detailing the significance of the Eternal Feminine in relationship to the poetry of Aleksandr Blok, a personal paper drawing upon a wider interest in Russian Symbolist Poetry. Sean combines a passion for costume with an awareness of the physical presence of dress. His work explores the connection between creativity and wishfulfilment, both in language and in photography. He is a prolific writer of letters, dedicated to the art of correspondence, and it is through these engaging connections that his voice as a writer has emerged. Sean is currently working in collaboration with Jalina Mhyana, both as an editor and as co-contributor to her epistolary novel Calliope and Swansblossm. (

Poem for performance: John, Count of Nassau, with his Family, 1634 

Artist: Anthony van Dyck 

Location: Room 44 

Cloud Mantle 

I envy you.
Not your wealth, your youth, your lineage.
Only your threads.

Royal blood, spooled as blue ribbon,
Tips a feather vein, astonishes,
Darts through to where your bodice announces a sleeve.

You observed intricate knotting.
Witnessed the gathering tensions,
Shirring balloon enclosures,
Heavy pendulum cuffs.

Your cloud mantle is woven from base metal.
Poison informs the palette, 
Pigments bleed, an alchemy of paint.
Raw canvas brushed towards silk.

A Lacewing halo embraces your shoulder,
Unfurling to reveal a string of clear pearls
Water droplets at the nape of your neck, minute crystal orbs.

I marvel at the non-weight of globe rose,
Tricked in your hand.
Wet stem lick across your palm.
Fortune teller trace along your lifeline.
It tickles, spins with ease, rotates an open face to your Fathers golden fleece, his ram sheared distinction.
Bowed at the knee, with a flourish.

He points, heralds a procession of touch.
Mothers double echo, holds a parallel caution,
Allows your brother a nimble scale, across her knee.
A roundelay of hands.
Where a lap dog gazes, curious.
And your Brothers braggard swagger, dense plot of vermillion, fails to outshine you, could never compete.

Pearls roll from your wrist
Your left hand draws a furrow
Down your clotted skirt,
Nervous fingers trying to occasion a purchase;
Where there is only slip,
Lustre glides,
Raises a crescent,
But the gilt hem drags lower
Holds a draught upon the floor.

You stand proud in wonder, hardly knowing the world.
Buttoned and corded into a life of ceremony.
Balancing long hours of portraiture,
The weight of the gown insistant,
Tapes and ribbons discomfort, count the hours slow passage.

Your thoughts look ahead,
Anticpating the rush of childhood
Where ribbons pull free,
Playful escape, quick to erase the mask of appearance.

And there is a doll somewhere, 
Comforts companion, seized tight;
Whispers poured into wood scratch ears.

Edward Lear Exhibition; Guardian write up

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Profile: David Olsen

David Olsen's third poetry chapbook, Sailing to Atlantis, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2013. Since early 2011 he has placed poems in Envoi, Acumen, Orbis, Assent, The Interpreter’s House, Scintilla, SAW Poetry, Bloodroot, Babel Anthology, Earthborne, and competition anthologies from Cinnamon Press and Templar Poetry. Reading for October 6th "Please Do Not Touch" from the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture