Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wordsmith: Art + Words

Recently, I was very fortunate to be asked by curator Sarah Norris to be part of Wordsmith, an exhibition which combines the work of Canberra region writers and artists.

Wordsmith, open now at M16 Art space, shows the responses of visual artists to a variety of written forms. The simple concept of matching artists to writers' work has created a fascinating range of interactions.

I wrote The Eddy End of a Day (below) specifically for the exhibition. It is the product of an evening walk in Xi'an, China and a particular moment in my life. Sarah paired me with Jacklyn Peters, whose work I already had a lot of respect for. Her Neighbourhood Project, in particular, combined a strong sense of place with human emotion and stories.

Jacklyn took these sensitivities to my poem and created a collage of feeling. I was overwhelmed the first time I saw it. I thought Jacklyn had intimately peeled away the skins of my writing to get to its muscle and blood.

With Jacklyn Peters in front of her artistic response to my poem
The other writers were Nigel Featherstone, Yolande Norris and Sarah Rice. The artists were Caren Florance, Julian Laffan, Jacklyn Peters, Sarah Rice, Ian Robertson and G L Wyatt.

I was also honoured to be asked to open the exhibition. I performed a poem, Knowing the Trick Spoils the Magic, and said some words about the concept. My words and poem will be the subject of a future blog post.

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The Eddy End of a Day

At the eddy end of a day, out for fruit, bottled
water, bread for breakfast, in the still
light drizzle hushes and silently calls

across the street, over the subconscious
hum of vehicular life. I decide to
interrupt my errands and I pause,

balanced at the centre of the
footbridge, straddling both sides of the
traffic, travelling away and towards,

disappearing into and emerging from a
distant humid mist. The day
teeters at that tipping-point, a cause-

way between sunlight's sharp
relief and the muted fluorescence of
man. Ignoring the rolling wheel's course

flowing beneath my feet and the stressed
pulse of steps in the steel I turn to
find my comfort's awkward source:

right now I cast no shadow.

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Wordsmith is open until 7 September, so I encourage you to check it out. Also being exhibited is the M16 Artist's Exhibition, which incorporates a diverse range of media and themes.