The Dancer in Residence, Tara Brandel, and a visiting dancer from San Francisco, Kathleen Hermesdorf, performed in Gallery One, incorporating into their movements connections with the exhibited delicate unfired ceramics, and in particular, the upper torsos and heads of two young boys. A random box provided another prop.
Aside from a couple of synchronized phrases, they danced separately or in response to each other. In particular, their breathing, and level of energy seemed particularly symbiotic, synergistic. Sometimes dynamic, spaciously taking up the whole room with frenzied gestures, sometimes foetal, supine, still, they were a mesmerizing act.
They invited me to read a couple of poems for them to respond to. I read ‘Leaning into your world’ and ‘No need’, with long pauses between lines, so they could pick up on the mood of the poem, and respond kinetically to the images. (The poems can be read at the end of this blog.)
Emma Jervis came down and took some photographs. Tara’s agreed to doing a collaboration for my showcase at the end of my residency, so I’m excited about that. Tomorrow, I’m going to their studio to write a poem in response to their movements.
My Tuesday lunchtime Poem to Go group responded to work by Bernadette Cotter, which features 600 names embroidered into organza squares, sewn together and hung as two enormous wall hangings. In front of the two wall hangings is a tumble of red organza strips which suggest the skirt of a ball-gown. Some fantastic poems emerged – in just one hour!
I popped in to meet Alison Glennie’s drama students. She’s brainstorming words with them, in anticipation of next week’s workshop, when I’ll join them for a word-fest.
My Scribblers are getting into the swing of things now. We have a core group of four boys and four girls. This week they wrote a story. We had Chinese horses, magic masks and jars of pickles.
I’m hoping Emma’s video will be available soon. meanwhile, here are the poems Tara and Kathleen responded to:
Leaning into your world
Yours was an impenetrable loneliness;
a skeletal tree leaning away
from nomadic winds.
and found arms braced,
like rocks for waves.
Your mouth, skin, hands –
these are my borders now,
With a knife,
you measure rock pools,
clouds, my hips.
We bump against each other
while walking, laugh at rain,
slide to grass.
Our bodies trapeze
cavorting on lines.
A hand held brings tears.
Such a winding memory,
We read poems
lifted to light,
sleep when birds sing.
I divert misgivings;
a crack in the sky
is just a small thing.
No need to tell me
that endings are a moment
of transcendence, and all that is solid
melts into air;
no need to remind me of the eyeblink
tales of life:
like furniture, stacked on the lawn,
that vanishes in a lizard-flick.
No need to challenge me to walk
the high wire, or drag me to a party
with all the wrong people,
where short men take up space
with knuckles on hips,
and there’s barely elbow room.
No need to show me I’m in safe hands –
I’ve seen your scar
and know what you’re made of.
No need for you to hold up
a cardboard cut-out sun:
I remember how it looks, how it feels.
Or to suggest that I’m more stone
what do you expect?
I’m still half a couple from ark days
pickling memories in a jar.
No need to say that love will return
like ‘speech after long silence’;
that’s dirty talk.
The poems were first published in my début collection, The Lucky Star of Hidden Things, published by Salmon: http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=260&a=221
Meanwhile, I’m writing away, and editing poems for my forthcoming collection. What will next week bring?! (Thanks to Emma Jervis for use of the photographs. http://www.emmajervis.com)