Archive for digital poems

What next?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by noelwilliams

Can’t really answer that question, just yet.

We took down the exhibition today. It was a lot quicker than setting it up.

And now Bank Street is festooned with the beginnings of a new set of exhibitions, part of the “Over to You” mini-festival of art. I walked around the exhibitions-in-the-making tonight, before a reading (by Simon Armitage, Sally Baker, Liz Cashdan, Jenny King and Beverley Nadin, who were all excellent, but I think the stars were probably Simon and Bev. Simon was launching his new pamphlet “The Motorway Service Station as a Destination in its Own Right”, published by Smith/Doorstop, which is the Poetry Business’s publishing arm; and Bev was accepted her righteous and rightful prize as TPB Sheffield Poet prize – she is pretty clearly going to go places, I think).

Anyway, some interesting exhibitions in the offing – but none of them mine. I suddenly plunged into depression that the place which had been pretty much my life for a month – certainly occupied most of my waking thoughts and much of my time – suddenly wasn’t my place any more. “My” spaces were occupied by alien objects. This is not something I’ve experienced before. I guess the closest feeling is when you visit a house you used to live in: an odd combination of the entirely familiar and the completely changed.

In fact, my Residency continues, which is good news. But, of course, all its immediate energy is Prospero’d into thin air, and I’ve no clear project to be working on any more.

I do have, of course, dozens of ideas which spin out of the work so far, but none are in place, and perhaps I need a rest from all this for a while. And it isn’t quite over, in any case, as I still have to produce an evaluation for ACE and deliver another 100 CDs.

I’m thinking possible ideas might be:

– to run a (monthly?) drop-in “poetry clinic”, where anyone can appear, do some writing, and ask everyone else, including the poet in residence, who might vary from month to month, for help and advice on current problems

– a network to better connect all the different poets and groups and activities which go on in the region (South Yorkshire – not merely Sheffield). Matt Black’s “Signposts” does a lot of this, but he thinks there are groups that aren’t missed and maybe a new improved e-zine might hit the spot

– personally, I would like to see more readings at Bank St. But who will organise them?

– I’d also like to read more myself, but I’m not sure what opportunities I might find now.

– I want a new audio project. “Speakers” was exciting, challenging and, I think, a pretty good piece of work in the end. I now want to do something better – perhaps something a little more musical.

– I want to take the exhibition on the road, but I’ve no experience at all in tracking down galleries or festivals and convincing them how wonderful I am

– I’d like to find a project which involved collaboration with a visual artist. In fact, by accident, there may be one with Jen, Gallery Assistant at Bank St – but what I would really like to do is to contribute to some public art, a verbal installation of some kind

– the digital poems are interesting but not as effective as they could be, partly because of the unusual relationship between reading and attention which they create. I want to find a way to use this and produce more fluid digital works.

– above all, I need to finish the Women and Warfare collection and see if anyone wants to publish it, as that was the personal driver for the whole thing

Sudden beautiful progress

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2010 by noelwilliams

I only arrived at Bank St late today. The gallery is transformed. Katherine’s central space is now strung with her bunting, which looks beautiful. The shadows cast are gentle and melancholic. It’s strange to see my words incorporated in someone else’s work, and I can’t stop smiling each time I think of it.

The room awaits my missing texts. Hopefully I’ll be confident enough in them to release them tomorrow. I have produced a small brochure to accompany the private view on Monday, though. Sneak preview here:

Her Garden of Stones is also almost in place, too. About two thirds of my seventy poems are now inscribed, word by word, on stones laid across the floor of one of the galleries. The grey of slate and the silver sheen of the words upon them is a softly dazzling sight in itself, but when you walk amongst them, which you must (especially to inspect the delicacy of her other work in the room) you necessarily disturb the words, and create new paths and connections. It’s like being on a beach, where every other pebble reveals something to you, a word that links with the word next to it, or a puzzle about how such a word might be used in a poem, or a reminder of words you saw elsewhere in the gallery, a visible echo.

And, again, these are my words but not my words. It’s a strange feeling.

It probably won’t matter if the other exhibits fall short, because these pieces are justification enough of the event, I think, and worth your visit if you go for no other reason.  

However, the rest of the work is looking good, too. The Poetry Lounge is already very lounge-like. No poems up as yet, though more have arrived today (we need more, by the way. Inundate us). But the furniture and layout makes it a gentle, somewhat nostalgic room, the sort where you want to spend an idle twenty or thirty minutes outside your hectic day, picking up the odd poetry book, scanning the writings of others on the walls, or, perhaps, as I dearly hope, penning a few words yourself which we can add to the exhibit.

Meanwhile Michael has finished all four of the audio tracks, and it’s up to me to spend the weekend editing the video to them in the best possible way. Which is no mean feat as, by my calculation, a total of at least 480 separate images is needed.

And, finally, there’s the ghost office, the engine room which is intended as the hub of all the ideas, my home when I’m there, as poet in motion, and a space in which half-formed ideas and almost-poems are floating just waiting for visitors to see them and pull them out of the air. At the moment, this entirely consists of two computer monitors. No computers, no desks, no furniture, no exhibits. Just two monitors.

Well, you can’t have everything.

The aim is to have three digital poems writing themselves so that work is taking place with the office creating poetry even when I’m not there. At the moment, though, I’ve only one computer which happily runs the software, so things are looking a little worrying on that front.

Still, three whole days to go……………..