Alice: Ekphrasis at the British Library

walrusThe postman dropped my contributor’s copy of Alice: Ekphrasis at the British Library through the mail slot just now.

What a wonderful project they have taken on this time, gathering responses from fine poets throughout the UK to the work of Lewis Carroll. I was delighted to add a political poem to the mix.

Many of the contributors will be reading this evening at the British Library in what looks to be a stellar lineup, with an encore reading tomorrow night as well.

Do check it out if you can.

Maddest of hats off to Ekphrasis for another really excellent collaboration.


Commissioned Poem in Visual Verse Online

visual-verse

If you like ekphrastic and prompt-driven poetry, Visual Verse is a goldmine discovery. Each month, they post a new intriguing image, and publish scores of written responses from all over the world.

To kick off 2016, Preti from Visual Verse emailed me to ask if I would write a poem in response to their image as a commission to sort of prime the pump. Do ducks swim? I was delighted to complete the challenge: 50-500 words written within one hour of viewing the image.

You can check out the image, and my poetic response, on the Visual Verse website.


Reading at the Royal Academy

Robert Peake reads at the Royal AcademyLast night I participated in a truly unique poetry reading sponsored by Ekphrasis. A dozen of us poets dispersed ourselves amongst installations in the Sensing Spaces architectural exhibit at the Royal Academy. As patrons wandered through the exhibits, we read poems to them, which we had written in response to these very spaces.

It was challenging. Bursting into poetry as the spirit moved me felt a bit like trying to be a one-man flashmob. Having never done any busking, I was unaccustomed to people wandering into or out of a room while I was reading a poem. Based on their responses, I think it was challenging, too, for the patrons. I saw many a bemused and bewildered smile.

Often, when we encounter something surprising like a provocative art installation, we seek guidance — in the placards on the walls, or the words of a knowledgeable guide. Yet we poets were the opposite of guides — raising yet more questions in response to their questions, bringing our own thoughts, music, and imagery to bear. The patrons were therefore simultaneously experiencing their own responses to the installations, and responding to ours. Challenging, indeed.
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