Archive for interactive poetry

It’s over

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2010 by noelwilliams

Well, it’s March 6th, so “Exploding Poetry” is no more. We’ll be taking it all down on Monday. No more Garden of Stones. No more Speakers. No more Poetry Lounge. The White Space will be filled and the poet no longer have any office.

The last day has been quite fun, a good emblem of the exhibition as a whole: some visits by people I knew, some by people I’d never met before’ a couple of hesitant contributions for the whole, some strong adjectives in praise of the event; people wanting something like it to continue; some bursting balloons; some new poems in the stones; a long conversation about the nature of poetry, the nervousness of poets, the terrors of performance, the need to be honest and authentic.

But the best parts of the day were visits by two young ladies, Leah, who is 7 and Mila who was probably a little younger, just learning to write properly. Both of them did beautiful jobs. Mila gave me a poem with a drawing, the only visitor in the entire exhibition to do so. Leah made a poem in stones, a poem from the words of burst balloons, and a poem from the dice that went on the walls. For someone of her age, the brilliance of her work and the enthusiasm she showed for the task, would be a good model for many a grown-up writer.

It was wonderful to see the work of those two poets. Although I’ve been overwhelmed by success of the exhibition: we’ve had well over 420 visitors, some have returned, many have made a point of giving excellent and flattering feedback, something like 60 to 80 poems have been contributed for it or during it, both the readings I organised were really successful: big, attentive, rewarding and rewarded audiences.

I may never get the chance for anything like this again. Who knows? It has been an incredible month, and a pretty astounding year that’s led up to it. I am very lucky to have had the chance, very pleased at the success, amazed by the opportunities and learning it has given me, and think both my work and my understanding is so much better as a result.

Of course, I still don’t have the published collection which was the aim right at the beginning, but I do  have seventy poems I didn’t have before, and a couple of them have found publication or a prize, so I can’t really complain, can I?

I hope to keep working at Bank Street, perhaps supporting other poets and writers, and perhaps collaborating with other artists there, which I’ve now got a taste for. So perhaps I’ll see you there.

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Office changes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 26, 2010 by noelwilliams

I think the poet’s office in the exhibition is probably where people have responded least. This is mainly because many visitors have simply seen it as an office, not as a site of poetry or an installation, and so have made their visit brief and superficial. Many simply haven’t seen the digital poems because they thought they were intruding on a more or less private office.

So I’ve changed it a little today, making it a little less like an office, a little more inviting, and also adding a small display of three “poems in progress” on which I’ve invited comment. I don’t know whether anyone will feel moved to scribble their views on my work on a post-it and append it to the poem, but as several have added to or amended my incomplete poem on the whiteboard, maybe some will.

Some new pix

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2010 by noelwilliams

I’ve just added some photos from today’s version of the exhibition. It changes daily. Today I’ve added a couple of poems by Yasamin Motamedi, and seen several new poems in the Garden of Stones. The balloons have been revitalised with some new texts, ready for the next heavy footed interactive poets.

So it goes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2010 by noelwilliams

The exhibition has settled now into a gentle rhythm. Occasional visitors pass through. Some creep in and creep out, saying little, not doing much. Some are entranced by the poems in the audio room, and spent long periods moving stones around in the garden, or simply sit in the Lounge with a cup of tea and a poetry book.

Here’s me and Cora looking at stones:

And here’s what one visitor did with some of them:

Some great little things have happened, too. Young Dominic (15 months old, I overestimated him before) returned, making straight for the stones, although he quite enjoyed ploughing his pushchair through the balloons, too.

Last time I arrived, I found a paper airplane inscribed “poems can fly”, although this sentiment was clearly too weighty for this particular construct, as it mainly preferred to fall.

And in the middle of the Garden of Stones, a folded paper fan, inscribed “Now I’m a fan”. So, that’s one, at least.

Quite fun. That’s one of the great things about this exhibition. I can’t anticipate what we’re going to get.

Someone has also used the Visitors’ Book to write poems. That’s fantastic, but means no-one will now write in the book, as they’ll think they’re expected to coin original sentiments. So we’ll need a new one. Maybe one for poems and one for comments??

We’ve begun the rehang of the poems in the Lounge, because the overall display was hard to read, and not really inspiring people to write. What I really would like to see is every visitor inspired by what they’ve seen to offer their own contribution, there and then. A few have, and these are now on the chimney breast. We’re also going to take some pages from poetry books and magazines and display these, too, so that the impact is “poetry, poetry, everywhere.”

Meanwhile, fixed the recalcitrant monitor, so all three computers are running as planned.

And work begins on the DVD. Two thirds of the writers and half the readers have given permission to use their work, and only one person decided against it. So planning has started and, with luck, it’ll be out there before the exhibition closes.

A couple of people also suggested that we should publish the poems. I wanted a catalogue of some kind, but don’t want to self-publish my work, and couldn’t really catalogue the work till it was in place. If we produced such a thing, it would probably contain some pieces from the audio work, some from the contributions, and a few of my own, plus images from the various exhibits.

I’d be interested to know what people think: is there enough mileage in this work to document it in a brief (say 32 page) collection/catalogue?

Meanwhile (shameless plug) if you want to read a couple of pieces by me, surrounded by some excellent new writing, you could do worse than Matter, the literary magazine of the MA Writing at Sheffield Hallam. You can check it out in the Lounge and, if you want a copy, contact me, or see: http://www.makingwritingmatter.co.uk/

[Photos taken by Mary Musselwhite]