Friday, 21 August 2015

GRAPHITE SMOKES

On Monday I facilitated a workshop. The focus of which was to use some more items from the University of St Mark & St John's archive to spark poems we can use at our October poetry reading.
I began the day with a quick exercise. Think of an card that describes something from the archive. Perhaps there is a photograph on one side.
For some reason or other an event I have not thought anything about for thirty plus years came into my head.
The photograph is of the view from my window when I was a student. Half of the people in featured where my house mates. One Sunday night a rather drunk student stood in about that spot and attempted to seranade the woman who is standing in the photograph.
Of course this drew us all to look out of our windows, just in time to see the singer step backwards and his foot though the borrowed guitar.

exhibit: 3B47i5.

On one side of the card a photograph of an acoustic guitar broken in half. The sound board is shattered.

On the other side if this:

hesitant of tune
he sings with passion
too drunk to care
his late night serenade
all our laughter
as he steps back 
and puts his foot through his mate's guitar
This next poem was inspired by a clipping from a paper describing the first curriculum of St John's back in 1840.
There is plainly an element of social control in this curriculum, how the educational opportunities of the lower classes are to be chanelled. 
I thought about how the student teachers needed to master all the skills they would teach and how much I had liked Technical Drawing when at school.

TECH DRAWING

pencil pointed til it could tear skin

he wipes the wooden set square
graphite smokes his handkerchief

turns the paper when told
reads the question three times

a rough sketches
the lines barely feather the sheet

in time he presents three elevations
his text could be mistaken for print
I did not want to write anything about social control aspect of the curriculum but I wanted to convey the idea there is a beauty in simply doing a task to the best of your abilities.
Here's a couple of videos of Anna Terheim.

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