The Writer’s Eye: Poets who Paint

This event took place on April 26 on Zoom and was the first collaboration between in-words and Pindrop Press (pindroppress.com). Pindrop is run single-handedly by Sharon Black – publisher, editor, mentor, designer… Her interest in the visual (book covers in particular) and my own interest in pairing (in a very loose sense) images and verse led to this choice of theme. The result was a challenging mix, as far from ekphrastic poetry, if that’s what one expected, as one can get. Sharon introduced Mike Barlow, Pam Thompson and Ole Hagen.

The word ‘consolation’ is one that resonates in many fields at these difficult times. Poetry provides consolation in various, very personal ways. But as the poet laureate recently said, ‘there’s consolation in concentration’ and for our attentive international audience, concentrating on, and later discussing, the poems and visual artworks by the three poets provided consolation as well as stimulation.

Mike Barlow’s poems and paintings (and one sculpture) did not shock but provoked a pang of recognition that grew as each verse, each choice of words reached a depth all of their own. Themes like ‘elsewhere’ and ‘lost and found’ challenged us while we were allured in by the seemingly ‘conventional’ form.

Pam Thompson’s work bounced us between the immediately recognisable and the experimental. I for one found it comforting that it is possible to play with written words, even those by our ‘heroes’. Her paintings expanded on this, with ‘elsewhere’ being a repeated theme.

This crescendo of playfulness reached its apex with Ole Hagen’s set, which brought a non-English absurdist turn to the evening, with surreal images, gestures, chanting and use of repetition.

I feel delighted that such a different event, a true end-of-term-extravaganza, marked the beginning of in-words summer break.

Do contact pindroppress.com to buy collections by these amazing poets, and others!

Events

Tuesday March 5 at West Greenwich Library, 7-8.30pm

The Birth of a Book: Shakespeare in an Age of Anxiety plus A Taste of 154 – readings of some of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, and modern responses to them

Local author and scholar Neville Grant will talk about the writing of his new book, Shakespeare in an Age of Anxiety (Greenwich Exchange, 2023), about what inspired him to delve into this well-explored subject and to succeed in finding a plethora of unknown, intriguing (and some amusing) facts about the Bard, and many parallels with goings on in the 21st Century.

154 is a poetry collection published by Live Canon. Each one of 154 modern poets was asked to respond to one of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets (not counting the ones inside his plays). We shall hear some of these inspired pairings, by and with Nick Eisen, Gillie Robic, Lorraine Mariner, NJ Hynes, Rosie Johnston and Doreen Hinchliffe.

Unmissable….

Free as always, with plenty of refreshments – and food for thought!

Neville Grant, best known locally as former editor of the Westcombe News, is a professional author who has published many textbooks on language and literature used in countries around the world. His  latest book, Shakespeare in an Age  of Anxiety (Greenwich Exchange 2023), written for the general reader, celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio – the collection of his plays published seven years after his death. The book looks at how a grammar school boy made it in London’s theatreland, how he survived Tudor politics, and gives an appreciation of each of his works in the order in which they were written, so one can trace his development as a writer.