Past exhibitions

Poetry Library Open Day 2014 |The Material Word | 16-Nov-14

The 2014 Poetry Library open day delved into a world where text becomes material. The focus was on art objects that manifest text in unusual ways.

On display were poems in boxes, poems that move, poems without words, edible poems, poems as mailart, poems as postcards, poems as T-shirts and poems as teabags. We saw work from artists such as Colin Sackett, zimZalla and Robert Lax. Some of the most exciting books collected in the past year were exhibited, as well as picks from Poetry Library staff.

This was followed by a live event in the Poetry Library where we heard from three very different poets, Patrick Brandon, Hilda Sheehan and William Wyld, as they read new work specially created in response to the open day and the objects featured. Read a poem from each of the poet's below to get a taste of the one-off event.

Patrick Brandon, 'Even in Arcadia' (written in response to work by Ian Hamilton Finlay)

Death is everywhere, even in paradise.
in the oak, in the stretched silk of an estuary

at high tide. The earth is carnivore, jammed 
with bones, inexplicable fragments,

bedsprings, books, an old boot, a frying pan
blackened by a lifetime of heat and fat.

Wisdom and cliché share a common border 
with home-spun sanity. The silvered grove 

and the cool spring are an illusion. The skies 
hold no fascination, solitude spins, recurs, 

the mythic interludes thrown in waste. 
The plough will be seized, turned 

to other use, and our ships, dragged ashore, 
will gain weight, lose all dialect of grace.

Hilda Sheehan, 'A Piece About Kissing'


Go from one kiss to another -

Just because

 You kissed me

Ki Ki Ki ssssssss


Top of a building.

There's a kiss up here.

 Catch it.

Before they do.


Do not listen to kisses.

 Kisses are so -


Here they are want-

Ing tobeto geth

Er  A  gain

Until they grow old.

And can't say each other's names.

The end of a kiss.

Is a full stop of life.

It is a death. Stop kissing before we die and kill

other people too.

William Wyld, 'The Temple'

We stood between his doric columns
and looked out through the gap he'd cut
to frame the mainland and the sea
between the oak and elder trees.

You said, "Do you ever feel like your whole life
is contained within a landscape?"
I stared ahead and held my drink,
I didn't want to sound soft, I think

I may have grunted bland assent
in the manner of our fathers.
Today would have been his birthday.
He hated all that anyway,

though once, when I turned seven
he brought me back a snowglobe
from a trip to New York.
I smashed it, to find out how it worked.

More images for the event can be found on our Facebook page

:: View the event slide show ::

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