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Allan Sutherland’s blog charts the progress of working on his first collection of poetry, Leaning On A Lamppost. The collection will give an overview of his work, including 20 years of performance, his more recent pioneering work in transcription poetry, found poems and a set of new work responding to his mentoring by John O’Donoghue.

Imposing of a Pattern on Experience

30 November 2014

Blog

‘Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.’  Alfred North Whitehead One of John’s more surprising suggestions was that  ‘Tattoo’, a poem from ‘Paddy: A Life’  could be turned into a pattern poem. I’ve know George Herbert’s work since I studied the Metaphysical poets for O Level, so I am familiar with pieces such as ‘Easter wings’...

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Found Poetry? No shit!

24 November 2014

Blog

I talked in my last post about my found poems from NHS materials. To be honest, part of the pleasure of this to me has been that I do like the dark attraction of medical materials.  I enjoy old surgical textbooks with the frontispiece illustrations where you can fold back the skin to reveal the muscular structure underneath, and continue to reveal layer on layer of meticulously drawn anatomical detail.  And when my partner and I visited Paris, the place I was most insistent on...

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Turning the Tables

18 November 2014

Blog

Found poetry is the literary equivalent of collage. It takes pre-existing materials, generally ones which would not be seen to possess artistic merit, and uses the techniques of poetry to create fresh new works from apparently unpromising sources. I have always enjoyed this process. In my student days I used to improvise live readings from the telephone directory. (Younger readers: ask your grandparents what that was.)  That was partly about satirising the pomposity of a certain style...

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Hey-diddle-diddle, the nursery rhyme riddle

10 November 2014

Blog

One poem that John picked up on was the pastiche ‘Mary had a wheelchair’, a little poem about disability access: Mary had a wheelchair It rolled across the floor. And everywhere that Mary went She couldn’t get in the door. I may have underestimated this poem. In live performance I use it to follow ‘What happens to old epileptics?’.  Being the darkest poem I read live, all about drowning in the bath and the like, it tends to leave audiences a little...

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Rhyme and No Good Reason

4 November 2014

Blog

stacks of black and white books with a sepia tint

One of the things John first picked up on about my existing work was my liking for strict versification. Where possible, I like to write poems that have strict metre and rhyme, as in ‘Bite the Hand that Feeds You’ (‘Frank is a nice boy/He never makes a fuss’/Frank spends all his time at home/He can’t get on the bus’). John suggested I should read Charles Causley. Causley was a twentieth Century Cornish poet, best known for ‘Timothy Winters’,...

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