Thursday, April 11, 2013

Manifest exhibition at Edge Hill University

an exhibition of collaborative works by the poet Robert Sheppard and the artist Pete Clarke

April 11th -26th, 2013

The Arts Centre
Edge Hill

Here is a general view of the exhibition followed by a list of works in the exhibition.


Edge Hill University Arts Centre

Exhibition of the Collaborative works by the poet Robert Sheppard and the artist Pete Clarke. The works may be seen here.


1. In mid seas stands a tower, 2013

Mixed media/collage on card

2. Dead as a door step, 2013

Mixed media/collage on card

3. Walled in a Lost City, 2013

Mixed media/collage on card

4. A song that does not sing, 2013

Edition 1/7 Silkscreen and wood relief on somerset paper


Edition 1/8 Letterpress and wood relief on somerset paper

6. Moving through the conventions

A/P Letterpress and wood relief on somerset paper

7. Tangled Scree, 2012

Edition 2/9 Letterpress and wood relief on somerset paper

8. MANIFEST, 2010

Edition 5/10 Silkscreen and Letterpress on somerset paper

9. Tangled Scree, 2011

Edition 1/10 Silkscreen and Letterpress on somerset paper

10. Tangled Scree, 2011

Edition 1/10 Letterpress on somerset paper

11. THIS IS NOT GUILT [3], 2011

Edition 1/10 Silkscreen and Letterpress on somerset paper

12. THIS IS NOT GUILT [2], 2011

Edition 1/10 Silkscreen and Letterpress on somerset paper

13. LYRIC, 2010

Edition 5/10 Silkscreen and Letterpress on somerset paper

14. ODE TO FORME, 2010

Edition 1/10 Silkscreen and Letterpress on somerset paper

15. Invisible Cities, 2009

Oil, acrylic and screened text on constructed canvas

All works are for sale, framed or unframed, contact Pete for details

Pete Clarke lives in Liverpool and is the MA Course Leader and Principal Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. He also makes paintings, prints and installations with the artist Georg Gartz from Cologne exploring collaborative strategies within contemporary practice questioning individuality, authorship and authenticity in a European context.

Other works were shown on a continuous video presentation. It was a shame to see the exhibition being taken down, but the symposium I organised at Edge Hill on Literary Collaboration during the exhibition was a great success.

Here are images of a new collage work (number 1 above) which takes the phrase ‘Walled in a lost city’ from my work somewhere, but I don’t recognise it off-hand!

I was amusing myself with a reproduction of the wonderful Brazilian concrete poet Augusto de Campos and made this translation of his poem about the Portuguese poet ‘Pessoa’, whose heteronyms (fictional poets) have obviously influenced my own recent obsessions, but whose name means ‘persona’, rather incredibly. I came up with the neologism ‘persong’ to deal with this concept. Pete has adapted the lineation of de Campos’ original and my version. Number 4 in catalogue.

That was a new work, as is ‘Moving through the Conventions’ that takes a part of a sentence from a very defamiliarised new text of mine from the ongoing prose collection, Unfinish, called ‘Venus and Adonis’. The full sentence by the way is: ‘I can see her moving through the conventions, solving crimes with the bristles that grow out of her chins.’ I’m glad Pete works selectively! Patricia Farrell (who took these photos in the exhibition) likes this one too. Number 6 in the catalogue.

The ‘Tangled Scree’ text has been shown before on the last post, but here are some details of that piece in situ. This is the re-working of a quennet and was shortlisted for the Adrian Henri Prize.

Finally, here are some more details of the ‘This is not Guilt’ series of prints.

More here. Later images may be seen here.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Manifest Pete Clarke and Robert Sheppard


an exhibition of collaborative works by the poet

Robert Sheppard

and the artist

Pete Clarke

April 11th -26th, 2013

Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
L39 4QP

Featured was our piece that was shortlisted for the Adrian Henri Prize. Here are a few versions of that. The original poem is a quennet. Most of the text is visible in the second version.

Our first pieces were produced, quite qiuickly for the Poetry Beyond Text exhibitions, and all three texts come from A Translated Man, but you don't need to be thinking about the contexts of those 'fictional poems' to be following what's going on, formally.

Here are some photographs of more recent pieces, and details of pieces, taken by Patricia Farrell. The first features the 'This Not Grief' text which opens section of 'Reading the Reader' from Hymns to the God in which my Typewriter Believes.

This is not guilt but grief

From now on she will be in quotation marks

She emptied herself out with good reason

He is left empty for no reason good or ill. Reading

her absence as a presence he bears witness

His testimony is as blank as an orphan’s. His testament is frozen sweat in solid steam

Here are two recent rather dark collages produced by Pete with more text from Hymns to the God, a square book that fits neatly into his pocket while he's working!

These did note feature in the exhibtion in the end. And there are later images here from a later collaboration.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Thatcher Dead

It's just been announced that Thatcher has died. I once said she was the most important influence on my poetry (half-jokingly); but I also said that I couldn't be really happy while she was alive. How appropriate she died on the day the Con-Dem government introduced more of its austerity measures, in part to demonise the very victims they are creating. As I type I can hear sanctimonious tones on the BBC downstairs.

Here’s part three of ‘Coming Down from St George’s Hill’ from Twentieth Century Blues

Democratic vista he parks the car
Then has to queue for the cashpoint
Whispering possessive St George’s
Somewhere above the embossed logo
Window tissue paper
And its history of pleasantly
Attired servants
In famous fables begun at this
Desk of irregular
Attic windows car door opens blonde
Hair spills into the gutter
He speaks in deadpan cockney learned
Of the East Sussex school of villainy
Creaming himself at Thatcher’s rush of
Active citizens revving up
Fumes and consumption’s vapour
Lists a pop capitalist
A staggering dislocation of the
Cocktail effect gone defective
Electric against meshed frost
Produced by desire dreams
An act of love a realised cell
Phone interrupts you all right mate?
Giggle at least it stopped a repetition
Of his ardent administered dream

20 September-16 October 1988

And here is a verse from The Lores written in the mid-90s:

The Millennium Enterprise Zone layers
on layers of torn calendars that
wipe Thatcher’s solid dream trappings
below any diction a satirist
with no worship centre his
ears adjust to a future
of persistent sensations, lacking himself

And I used her own words in another poem in The Lores, where I begin with the name that I ised to denote that period: 'The  Drowning Years', which alludes to the book I was using as a source for those lines, Thatcher's own The Downing Street Years. As I put it in the bibliography to that poem: '
Thatcher, Margaret, The Downing Street Years (a condensation [thank God] of the book) in Today’s Best Nonfiction [sic], Reader’s Digest, 1994 – a volume I found lying outside my front gate during the summer of 1994, a veritable found text.' (All of these poems may be found in Complete Twentieth Century Blues from Salt.)

drowning years

I needed no interpreter spoke the same
language the complex romance of international trade

I liked living over the shop good
wishes from people who are suffering free

to pursue their own dreams arguments always
give one appetite true vice second thoughts

not everybody cheers the same thing I
was glued to the radio for news

we were not fatally wounded but a
totalitarian state with siege barriers of coal

I prayed fitfully revolution still to be
made our problem was presentation red roses

proved photogenic families were the government nemesis
of gain (one country      one system      ours

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Zoe Skoulding - Gurkan Arnavut - Robert Sheppard - Enemies of the North

On Saturday I was too ill to read at The Enemies of the North reading in Manchester, organised by Steven Fowler (to whom many thanks for the invitation). And many thanks for pairing me with Zoe Skoulding, and thanks to Zoe for collaborating with me, and indeed, playing along with my interest in fictional poets. René Van Valckenborch is soon to be published in A Translated Man but various fictional poets of his (poets within poets) exist both inside and beyond the book (and can be found on the European Union of Imaginary Authors website). One was designed to have a walk on part in the book (he was meant to be a loose strand, a name without a reference, but that strand has now become a woven fabric). He is Gurkan Arnavut, a Turkish Cypriot, though living in the Cypriot part of the island. Zoe and I picked him for this collaboration, innocent of the impending financial indignities visited upon the citizens of that small nation. Watch Zoe introduce and read the poems beautifully. Because of the artifice of its construction, I like the single voice.

I’m really pleased with these. Thanks Zoe.