Friday, April 11, 2008

Eye eye



To London last night to listen to Tobias Hill, Caroline Bird and Don Paterson read poems on the theme of EYES. It was part of a series of readings organised by the charity, Poet in the City.

Some random notes I made on the train on the way back from the reading, and also the discussion afterwards:

* We remember 75% times as much by scent than any other sense (from a question from a member of the audience about how important sight was in poetry)

* A week from which you can't remember any clear images hasn't been a good week at all (Caroline Bird)

* Tobias Hill talked about his good eyesight and how this influenced his poetry. A member of the audience said she was a visual artist with short sight and she found this useful in her work, as she could get the form but not get overwhelmed by the details. And also short sighted people see things better close up.

* Tobias Hill said he looks at things first and only then uses his imagination. I think I mostly work the other way round, and will get inspiration from snippets of stories heard and then look for images, but I might try to be more conscious of my process.

* TH (again) in his poem, Repossession, had the beautiful image of a derelict house becoming 'homeless'...

* and before reading a prose poem, said that poetry on the page was like dried soup. It needed to be read to become whole.

* Don Paterson said that most poets he knew loved watching films, and there were close links between films and poetry.

But I was only half listening towards the end because I kept thinking of a short story based around 'I see what you mean' - someone that actually does SEE images of meaning. Hence it's my prompt for today!

(nb the photograph of a useful portable collection of false eyes comes from a visit to the Wellcome Library, where the reading took place. They are, worryingly, exactly the same colour as my eyes.)

12 comments:

Alex said...

Was John Mole there? He lives a stone's throw from Shedworking HQ.

Sarah Salway said...

I don't know, I wasn't really in mingling mood last night. The reading was good though.

jem said...

Interesting stuff. I once did a creative writing assignment that asked me to work with each of the 5 senses and I found sight the hardest to write about creatively. It just doesnt translate so well for me. Sound and smell and touch are far stronger.

By the way - your 'Cool EP' arrived this morning! Delightful little thing that it is! I shall be saving it for a sunny afternoon on the seafront!

Kathryn said...

My Cool EP arrived today too. My handbag is not the barren place it was yesterday.

SueG said...

Hate to say it, but that photo is one of the creepiest things I've seen in a long time. And you know, I wrote a poem called "A Poem About Seeing" (it's in the play), and it made me realize how little i actually see things, and how important it is, especially when you're thinking about metaphor. Really seeing doesn't come naturally to me and it's something I consciously work at.

Nik's Blog said...

Interesting stuff, Sarah. Just dropped by, really, to say that I loved After Addition. Tres cool.

Nik

DJ Kirkby said...

Just finished reading 'After addition' *gasp*. I was incredibly, it is moved such a beautiful love story. Your book arrived in the post yesterday and although I can not wait to loose myself in it, I am determined to wait until I have enough free time to be able to read it in one go.

DJ Kirkby said...

P.S. *note to self* proof read comments before posting! Sorry Sarah, my comment should read as : Just finished reading 'After addition' *gasp*. I was incredibly moved, it is such a beautiful love story. Your book arrived in the post yesterday and although I can not wait to loose myself in it, I am determined to wait until I have enough free time to be able to read it in one go.

Sarah Salway said...

I have to consciously think about putting the other senses in, Jem, particularly touch, and yet it's often smells that I pick up when I read. Definitely worth thinking about. So pleased you've got the Cool EP, I like to think of my story being taken to the beach!

Or in your handbag, Kathryn. Will it be snuggling up next to some chocolate?

Sarah Salway said...

Thanks, Sue - I always take creepy as a compliment! ANd your comment sent me back to Dreams of May. I just love this image in particular - A star like tangled spider legs/refuses to shoot across the sky/but sits/ half asleep....half broken/...splintered.
Beautiful - hope you don't mind me quoting it.

Sarah Salway said...

Aw thanks, Nik. And particularly glad you liked it because you've won the t-shirt! See the latest post.
And DJ - very pleased you didn't proof read because I got to read your nice words twice. Many thanks!

Clare said...

That comment about short sightedness being an advantage -- I second that! Except that I'm slightly astigmatic, and without my glasses everything looks slightly blurry unless I have my glasses on. When I'm not wearing them, I'm always seeing things that aren't really there: faces at windows which turn out to be reflections; a lady walking down Villiers Street with a cloud bobbing around her head (turned out to be a tall white lily in a pot); creatures in trees (and clouds); patterns that spring out in 3D. In some ways I feel very lucky, at other times, I feel like I'm living in a Poe story.