Orchard, Nick Field, Going to the Pictures

Playing catch-up on yesterday’s stuff…

I was lucky enough to take part in an Inky Fingers workshop led by Nick Field yesterday, and I really should have got out this blog sharpish and told you all to go see him at Summerhall yesterday!  I’m sure it was great (it was past last-train-time which is my witching hour).

The workshop was about writing personal poetry. Now, I tend to default to personal poetry, and in a way I’m trying to move away from it. But it was good to explore the pros and cons of personal work and I picked up a number of techniques to improve the personal pieces that will inevitably come out even when I think I’m writing about something else. It was a much better-structured workshop than many I’ve been on, and fitted in several writing exercises.  In an ideal world we’d have had time to hear each other’s final pieces, but I hope some of them will come up at Inky Fingers open mics in the next few months (especially Katy’s one about setting her head on fire.)

After a rather excessive slice of cake at Hula, I spent some time chilling out in the National Library of Scotland at their Going to the Pictures exhibition about Scottish film. The absolute best thing about this exhibition is their fabulous poster campaign (I have already been in and picked up ‘Luke, Ah’m yer da’ for my wall- I can’t find a decent link but you can see them on the library’s facebook page). The exhibition itself is pretty nice, particularly the memorabilia of big stars making a fool of themselves in tartan – it’s been going on for as long as the movies themselves! I’m sure my dad would love this – I think it would be better if you really remember the pre-multiplex days.  Still a nice visit though, and a wee refuge from the chaotic streets outside.

Another refuge is the Scottish Poetry Library, where I went along to a talk on the Orchard exhibition of artwork by poet Gerry Loose and artist Donald Urquhart.  I’m absolutely loving the art festival events – some really thoughtful programming. This was my one Clicket blogging thing for the day – they’ll step up a lot when the book festival’s up and going.

I’m always slightly wary when going to see people talk about their artistic practice – usually it’s interesting but sometimes it can get a bit esoteric (OK, pretentious).  This was absolutely not the case with this pair. I found their talk about their work genuinely inspiring. They both do a lot of site-specific work and their thoughts on constraints were particularly interesting.

I hadn’t really been that taken with Orchard before when I’d seen it in passing at the poetry library, because it’s a quiet work that doesn’t really jump out. It made a lot more sense when I heard about its original context in a psychiatric hospital, and how they wanted it to be very different from the shouty signage surrounding it – it’s something that you choose to engage with.  That totally changed my view of the work.  I’d still say that I preferred some of their other pieces and would definitely seek them out – Donald has a fascinating piece down the coast in Dysart that will be certainly be getting a visit from me. And when I finally get to Glasgow’s Hidden Gardens (something I keep meaning to go to) there will be some of Gerry’s poems waiting for me.

I believe this may be coming out as a podcast – it was certainly being recorded.  I really hope that’s the case because I feel like it’s something I could see or hear several times and still come back to.

I’m quoted in the Clicket blog that suggests things to see at the art festival, but I’m still looking for recommendations for particular exhibitions – I’m not going to get round all 45.  Any favourites?

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