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Poetic Responses to Outsider Artist - Mark Gertler / 19 September 2012

painting of a path through grass and trees looking out over a seaside bay with a headland in the distance

Mark Gertler 'Near Swanage', 1916 (oil on board)

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Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail.

This is my poetic response to Mark Gertler's 'Near Swanage'.

Painting sublime scenes
But not seeing loveliness
I have to create beauty
To drown the ugliness
Behind my eyes, all
The horror I have seen
And known, and cannot
Blink away; my eyelids
Are broken wings.

The edge of the brushstroke
Is the battlefield
Will the war for my soul
Be won?

Can I scar the canvas
With enough grace
To save the world
Behind it?

Can I make the world
Beautiful enough
To save my soul?

I want to save my soul.
Will the world let me?


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