Excellent to get an extract from Donald's new book, The Dark Stuff, in the I newspaper. And great to to see that my drawings reproduced well in newspaper form, as I am always aware of the limitations of printing when it comes to reproducing fine pencil drawings.
My latest series of illustrations for Donald S Murray's new book 'The Dark Stuff', to be published by Bloomsbury on the 4th of April, 2018.
Watch out for more posts featuring information about talks, exhibitions and reviews featuring the work form the book and our other collaboration projects.
Following on from the post of Angela Topping's poem 'Noost', from her collection 'Five Petals of Elderflower', I'm pleased to host another guest poet Lucy Anderson and her poem, also titled 'Noost'. As Lucy explains below, the poem came from a poetry workshop in Wales, with my friend and acclaimed poet Pascale Petit.
This was written whilst on a’ Working with Myth’ workshop at Ty Newydd Writing Centre
Thinking in particular of family myths, myths of origin, I had been thinking of the myth around my very premature birth in 1969 and the myth my mother has upheld that the big nurse told her ‘I was strong and to be treated that way’. In the workshop, I was given a postcard of the art sculpture ‘ Noost’ and this poem was born.
And what if the midwife had spoken
a different language – a Shetland tongue
to my mother,
when I weighed as a bag of sugar
in my father’s butcher-hands.
What if she had said
this baby girl,
though carved and curved, is softwood,
don’t let the bilge water fill her,
keep her moored on dry land.
As I said in the previous Noost post, it is wonderful when another piece of art is influenced by a piece of work you have created, and I felt very honoured when Pascale asked if she could use the wee assemblage to inspire the poets in her workshops to produce new work, especially when she first used it at Ted Hughes' former home in Mytholmroyd.
Lucy's poem will feature in her forthcoming pamphlet, 'Legacy', which will be published by Cinnamon Press in February 2018. To find out more about Lucy and her work, follow this link to the Cinnamon Press website.
Very privileged to be able to share a poem with you on The Net Mender by Angela Topping.
Angela was inspired to write the piece after seeing my small carved assemblage 'Pocket Noost', pictured above. I love when a piece of work that I have created inspires another artist, poet or musician to produce a new work.
It is always interesting to see how others interpret your work and use what they have experienced to continue the thread. Angela's version of the noost idea, with the lovely image of the sound of the gulls and the smell of the sea being there when you open the tobacco tin is wonderful.
Here is the poem as it appears in Angela's recent collection, "The Five Petals of Elderflower'.
‘Pocket Noost’ by Douglas Robertson, a miniature landscape in a tin
I have moored a small boat
in a sheltered Shetland bay.
Your name is painted starboard.
The wood is bleached by salt;
oars stowed under the bench,
ready for you anytime.
Push it into the water, step aboard.
Row where your will takes you,
into the green, towards
distant mountains you long to climb.
The cool blubber of waves
laps and sucks in rhythm
as steady as your heartbeat.
Sea birds thicken the air as you beach.
You are drunk on sea smells,
damp scent of mermaid’s purse.
This is the life you were born for.
Not that narrow place, where you are
pinned like a bug in a specimen drawer.
Carry my gift in your pocket.
When you open this rusty tin:
the gulls’ shriek is deafening,
water moves and tumbles,
your feet are bare on ribbed sand,
your hands calloused; the sun
is on your back, soothing, soothing.
When you close the lid again
that world winks out, is gone
but stays within; sea, mountains, sky,
that place of quiet I bring you.
If you would like to find out more about Angela's work, click on the link here.
Copies of Angela's latest poetry collection is available from the poet, £8.99 plus £1 p&p.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am proud to announce that I have been chosen to be the resident artist for the 2018 issues of The High Window poetry magazine, edited by Anthony Costello and David Cooke.
Art work and poetry collaborations will be appearing in the four issues of 2018. It will be interesting and exciting to produce new works for poems appearing in each issue, and to showcase some of the current collaborations I am working on with poets Isobel Dixon, Gordon Meade and Donald S. Murray, plus a few new poets that I am planning to work with.
The Current Resident Artist is Angela Smyth, and you can see some of her latest work by clicking on this link.
Alice Major's review of Les Animots on her poetry blog.
'There are more allusions to contemporary culture in Les Animots. Meade’s grasshopper is introducing a new dance craze. Jackdaw loves the buzz of a mainline train station. The dolphin is practicing a new form of “hydrotherapy” where “Some clients leave having had / a proper spiritual experience, / others with just a thrill.” This is a dolphin stuck in an environment of human commerce.'
'This viewpoint creates a nice counterpoint to the wonderful pencil drawings by Douglas Robertson that accompany each poem and give the book much of its pleasure. Robertson creates not so much illustrations but metaphors—not the snake but the snake’s tracks in the sand.'