An afternoon of chance encounters

This afternoon, fancying a change of scene, I paid an impromptu visit to New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.  Part of me hoped for writing inspiration, but I wasn’t expecting to encounter any poetry, per se.

I immediately engaged with the vivid colours of Christopher English’s contemporary modern symbolist paintings on The Wall: the short-term for-hire exhibition space running alongside the museum’s gift shop and cafe.  Close up, these paintings reveal incredible detail and texture.  On leafing through the (beautifully-produced, A4 glossy, FREE) brochure, I discovered the bigger picture, as it were.  For English is a local artist who paints his poems.  I’ve since spent time between the covers, reading Forewards by Suzanne Iles and Deborah Tyler-Bennett, and the poems which appear opposite their paintings.  I particularly like Hospital Ward and A Game of Cards in a Ploughed Field – both poems and paintings.  And I’m wondering why the poems do not form part of the exhibition…

Upstairs, Lost Lands and New Horizons includes an artwork by women from Leicester’s Somali Development Centre.  Amongst the collaged fragments that the women chose to reflect their homeland, a ‘country of poets,’ is a poem, or part of a poem by (I think) Mohammed Abdullah Hassan.  Via the touch screen, I could read not only the poem but the life stories of some of the women behind the artwork.  And it reminded me of a website I haven’t visited in some time: Poetry Translation Centre.

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