‘Tings are quite’ – Scribblers and Slow Art

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Sad red cats and weird bed-cars, cloud-soups and monster mice, butterfly-lions, aliens raining beans and timely planets – these are some of the bizarre, delightful apparitions that turned up this week in Scribblers, my Young Writers’ Taster workshops. As one child put it, ‘a magic puffed.’ Really looking forward to the rest of the Programme, which will take place on Fridays from 3.30 – 5.00pm. All children from 8-12 years of age are welcome. The poems created during these workshops will be compiled into a pamphlet, in time for President Michael D. Higgins’s visit in June.

I joined Alison Cronin’s Slow Art Afternoon on World Slow Art Day, where she made us look at individual exhibits for ten whole minutes, without speaking. The effect was amazing. I saw so much more, as time passed, and began to connect with each piece in a profound way. Later we had afternoon tea and exchanged our ideas about the artworks.

Inspired by the experience, for today’s Poem to Go workshop, I took my students to this painting by John Doherty, wonderfully titled ‘Tings are quite’ and got them to study it for a while, before writing an ekphrastic poem in response to it:

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The Tuesday Poem to Go sessions have moved from the art space (which has been taken over for Life Drawing classes) to my studio, a more intimate experience.

This week, I’ve also written a poem in response to Emma Jervis’s beautiful photograph of the moon:

Thank you for 1500 likes

(Thanks also to Emma for the other photos above. Her website is here: http://www.emmajervis.com/) My poem will be showcased at the end of my residency, along with other completed collaborations.

The one-to-one editing surgeries are growing into two hours instead of the promised one hour and 20 minutes! I’m hoping those availing of this service find it good value, at €35 per surgery. For today’s session, we managed to get through nine short poems. Anyone interested in making an appointment can ring me on 086 3633567.

Slow dancing in a flaming building

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Photograph taken by Emma Jervis. http://www.emmajervis.com/#!/index The ‘beasties’ on the wall are part of an exhibition called ‘Flying Colours’. Pupils from twenty primary schools contributed their work.

I’ve been invited to be Poet in Residence at the exciting new Uillinn Arts Centre in Skibbereen, West Cork, from the 24th March to the 18th May.

Part of the remit is to write a blog, and as I already have this one, I thought I’d hijack it for the eight weeks, to write about my discoveries and writing process during the residency, which will be my first. This is also the centre’s first time having a poet in residence, so we’ll all be learning from the experience. Justine Foster, one of the organisers at the centre, is fantastically open to any ideas I may have, so I’m exploring ways my poetry might respond to the opening season’s exhibition, called Fourth Space. This comprises sculptures and installations by a range of artists: David Beattie, Karl Burke, Rhona Byrne, Maud Cotter, Angela Fulcher, Mark Garry, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Dennis McNulty, and Liam O’Callaghan. As I’ll also be interacting with the wider community, out of my familiar territory  and in a wonderful space, who knows what will happen!

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The new Uillinn Arts Centre in Skibbereen. Photograph by Celia Bartlett.http://ailecphotography.blogspot.ie/

During the residency, I’ll be offering Poem-to-Go lunchtime workshops on Tuesdays, and one-to to-one editing sessions, as well as collaborating with other artists in residence, such as the fantastic photographer Emma Jervis. I’m also looking forward to   observing aerial dancer and teacher Tara Brandel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpyplVqURqM.

Of course I’ll be reading as well as writing, and will continue to post any wonderful poems I come across.

Anyone interested in doing the workshops or having one-to-one editing sessions should contact the Uillinn Arts Centre: 028 22090 or 0863633567.