paper variously coloured with swirling patterns laid out on a small round dining table

January Update

I’ve been having a lovely time making visual poems for my workshops at Trowbridge Museum which I wrote about here. This work lead me to think about ways to extend my visual poetry practice, greatly helped by an article by Geof Huth at the Poetry Foundation, and, in particular, the following quotes which gave me more insight into my own creative intentions:

The child of both poetry and the visual arts, visual poetry has a double set of interests and its forms are myriad… Visual poetry is written for the eye, but its methods and intentions… are always poetic…

Geof Huth ‘Visual Poetry Today’ (Poetry Foundation)

At the moment, I’m drawn to thinking about form, rhyme, pattern and repetition in poetry and ways of transcribing that visually. Last year, I made a simple set of visual sonnets (included below) which I posted on Instagram. (I keep a separate account there (@andothermaterial) for my visual work, a kind of online gallery.)

I’ve been thinking more about the sonnet form because the poetry group I belong to, Trowbridge Stanza, is holding a session about sonnets next month, and so I’ve made a new set of visual sonnets to take into our monthly gathering.

Two pieces of pink paper, side by side, which are coloured in stripes of paint, with each stripe representing a line from a sonnet.
Work in progress by Josephine Corcoran (Two English Sonnets)

One thing I noticed about painting stripes onto paper is how much more difficult it is than I had imagined. For instance, I couldn’t go ahead and paint each sonnet in one sitting but had to, instead, wait until each stripe was dry to prevent the colours bleeding. Sounds blooming obvious, doesn’t it, but not to me! I’m conscious of using a lot of paper for this project so I’m grateful to have in my possession a box of different sizes, types and colours of paper that were left on the pavement of a neighbour’s house. They originally belonged to a lady who died, and her family gave away some of her belongings rather than discarding them when they sold the house. I think about that person each time I make a poem using some of her paper. I hope she feels my gratitude, wherever she is. As well as painting, I’ve also been pattern making, using Sharpie pens, and I’m going to cut into these patterns to make more visual poems.

Away from visual work and workshops, January afforded me an opportunity to polish my pamphlet of poems that have been accepted for publication in spring by Live Canon – which I wrote about here – and send them to Helen at Live Canon for proofreading. I’ve finally decided on a title – Love and Stones – since the poems address different kinds of love, family life, the empty nest, and my concern for our planet, set against a backdrop of Wiltshire henges and standing stones. I’ve found a possible cover, drawn by a local artist, and two kind people are reading the poems in order to write blurbs (does that make them blurbists?). We’re still hoping for a spring publication date. There’s another set of poems, possibly another pamphlet, which I’m working on, in between painting and pattern-making. Lots more going on but I won’t overload you with more information just yet, I’ll save that for another time. I hope your year is progressing well, so far. As always, thank you for reading.

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