The Gypsy and the Poet – images and experiments
In my last poetry collection "Enchantment" I asked Peter Blegvad to come up with images that would intervene in the book, proving breathing spaces between sections and textural moods. If you know the book you will know he came up with great work (see PB's 'Hedgehurst', left).
Well, my new poetry book is completed.
It is called "The Gypsy and the Poet" and once again I am thinking about images that will work with the poems, not illustrating them - but extending from the poems in some manner that enhances and deepens the tone of the whole book, the conversation between the poems, and between the poems and their readers.
I need to experiment with images on the blog for the next few entries and am meeting with Peter again next Wednesday. What do you think of these? What do they say to you? What might they evoke or invoke?
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Lovely 5-minute brief; perfect while dinner in oven and kids in lego!
1. Not looking head-on: turning away from something. Only half-there. Hidden in bramble of words/thoughts. Or: a confused, literary hedgehog!
2. William Blake for some reason. William Blake in a farmyard. At night, watching stars. Reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night but without the cafe. Northern Lights. Invoke promise, hope. But maybe also the unknown: open door leading to where? What’s beyond the hill that’s shining so brightly? Is it to be feared or celebrated?
3. Big body, small head: intuiting with the hands rather than the mind. Traditional craft; elegance in simplicity.
02 Jul 2012, 17:27
Picture 1): this is all about funnelling, or tunnelling, light between shadow. There’s a seeming barrier but in fact the eye is led (by the diagonal bar) up and out towards the hill. So, apparent barriers that overcome themselves? The distant light has something stiff, non-naturalistic about it, compared to the rest of the picture, that seems to ask for it to be read symbolically. It could be a sunrise or it could be a nuclear bomb flash. I’m reminded of ‘Z for Zachariah’ – the combination of traditional, subsistence farming in a highly rural landscape which is actually post-apocalpytic. Are the figures sitting waiting for something? For sunrise or for the end of the world? In hope or resignation? What’s that constellation? Is it identifiable? Is that hill a tumulus? Is there a god pinned to that tree? The road is powerful: pied piper, road goes ever ever on, old straight track through the woods (though it’s a bendy track!). Generally, thinking lots of duality – ancient/future, light/shadow – and ambiguity.
Picture 2): less to say about this. Something about his expression is interesting, is he sad? Why? Knife in his hand – sacrificial wood kings – Virbius . Enmeshed boundaries, living boundaries – euro-zone?? Poems with woven lines.
02 Jul 2012, 17:37
1) Is it dawn or dusk? Are the figures waiting for something to begin or watching something end? Like Leila above, I thought of a nuclear glow: it reminded me of Raymond Briggs ‘When the wind blows’.
2) Taken on its own, this seems a straightforward print, but seeing after the first picture, which had an eerie feel, it takes on new significance. What are the birds above? Carrion crows perhaps? Is the man building a simple fence or a barricade? His knife echoes that of the grim reaper.
02 Jul 2012, 18:53
1] Samuel Palmer – transcendent nature, traditional men, pipe-smoking, grounded secure hopeful beginning of new quest / project after taking stock together – where is the Feminine, tucked away in the byres? the stars?, the moon rise, not the sun after all, maybe – or waht is it they share, what is completed? what is contained in the tight yard, where does the (conventionally) winding road lead once the hill is scaled and the source of light seen?
2] tradition again, old-fashioned, enduring skills / crafts and materials, securing the future, containment and maintaining the strength of the enclosure, the quiddity of trousers and binder-twine as emblems of deep, longstanding understandings and ownership or would it be, tenancy – formulaic birds and cloud-suggestions and distant trees – all is well with this world, little changes, life is hard but satisfying, it takes its toll but that is willingly or at least unconsciously paid, a billhook is a billhook is a billhook – or have I missed something ther – that Grim Reaper ref? maybe, but I’m not going with it, after all – again a Masculine world of activity and solitude and silence – despite the rowdinesof rooks /crows andthe regular hack of theh bilhook – bending nature to Man’s will – an unequal contest for both sides – neither ever ‘wins’ – perpetual vigilance?
02 Jul 2012, 21:59
1. Don’t know – can’t help you.
2. Intriguing. Ambiguous. Inclined to a positive reading. Comradeship. Story-telling. Evokes narrative. Awakening consciousness?
3. Tonal quality striking. Dark predominates, so somewhat sombre – in line with seriousness of the man’s expression. Coarseness, solidity.
02 Jul 2012, 22:43
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