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Vince Laws is a poet, artist, performer, campaigner. He writes poetry, performs poetry and makes visual poetry, paintings, collage, posters, film, installations and recordings: “As an artist, I define what art is. As a poet, I define what a poem is. If my art can be anything from a painting to a concept, so can my poetry. I am a poem.”

Vince Laws shares a piece of visual artwork about what 'they' did to his head

25 June 2010

Blog

photo of artist next to a circular piece of artwork

Last year I got called in to the Job Centre during a long period of illness. “I see you are a magazine editor,” the person behind the counter said. “I was,” I explained, “but I don’t want to do that any more. It’s too stressful.” “What do you want to do?” “I want to be a poet and an artist.” I fully expected to be told to stack shelves. “We can help you with that...” And they did. First I saw a Shaw Trust...

Comments: 5

Vince Laws recalls one fine Father's Day

21 June 2010

Blog

photo of dog with poet Vince Laws

I was living in Brighton, when Father’s Day came around, and in my house I’m the Daddy! Neither my boyfriend nor my dog sent me a card or said a word all day, so I went for a walk in a huff. Badger was just a 3-month-old pup then, and this is what happened… My Father’s Day Gift I took the dog for a walk feeling a touch sorry for myself, Father’s Day sun was touching the Downs and no one had said a word that much mattered. But then Badger saw rabbits today, for the...

Comments: 4

Vince Laws joins the Human Library

19 June 2010

Blog

Crippen cartoon of a wheelchair-user under a desk

I’d never heard of the Human Library until I was asked to be a ‘book’ in February as part of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) History Month. As it happens, that event was cancelled, but I liked the concept so much I went on the training course and held a Human Library within a 2-week art exhibition I curated in May/June. Instead of borrowing a book, visitors borrow a Human, and sit down with them and chat for 30 minutes. Titles at my event included Wiccan Priestess,...

Comments: 6

Vince Laws redefines poetry with a performance of his Silent Poem

17 June 2010

Blog

The silver lining to a prolonged period of depression and inactivity last year was the time to think. I came out from under the duvet of darkness determined to pursue a career as a poet and artist. More specifically I wanted to perform my poetry in front of live audiences because that’s when it’s at its most powerful. And I wanted to continue exploring visual poetry, taking poetry off the page in every sense. I became increasingly dissatisfied with the definition of poetry –...

Comments: 13

Vince Laws on the importance of Disability Pride

14 June 2010

Blog

Disability Pride logo

I was telling a disabled woman I know, let’s call her Tina, that I was about to perform at Disability Pride. “I don’t get it,” she said, with a frown. “What have we got to be proud of?” I was a bit taken aback. Maybe it’s easier for me to understand as a gay man because I’ve grown up with Gay Pride events. These events have given the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community visibility, strength in numbers, a chance to educate the wider...

Comments: 4

Vince Laws goes in search of his missing Poster Poem

14 June 2010

Blog

image of a union jack with a slogan painted on it

I got tired of hearing that to suggest the troops come home is unpatriotic. The logical conclusion of that argument must be: Support the Troops – Start Another War. I first hung this poster poem on the railings of a church in Norwich, stepped back, and listened in. Some people laughed, some frowned and shook their heads, a man of the cloth tutted and hurried past. Three schoolgirls were outraged, “Why would anyone want to start another war?” they wailed at each other. Why...

Comments: 6

Vince Laws gets out of a spot of bother with the BBC

13 June 2010

Blog

No Complaints So Far… I do like firsts, don’t you? Last week was Refugee Week and the giant Fusion screen at The Forum in Norwich screened a whole series of short films made by the participants around the theme of ‘Identity’. In some ways it’s easier for a poet. I turned up at the BBC Open Studio with my script - the poem Human, something I’d already worked on for a considerable time, honing and crafting - and two volunteers filmed me on the streets of...

Comments: 5

Vince Laws talks about the commission of his radio play Small Frayed Knot

7 June 2010

Blog

a mirror image of blood red writing on white paper

Late last year, Future Radio, Norwich, commissioned a 15-minute radio play from me. Soon after that, I spent a week in Yorkshire on an Arvon residential poetry course in Ted Hughes’s old house, specifically aimed at taking poetry from page to stage. I was encouraged to fill in the back-stories to some of my more confessional poems. All this together resulted in The Small Frayed Knot. The title is a line from my poem Diagnosed, which I made into a visual piece by painting the left side of...

Comments: 3

DAO is pleased to welcome a new blog from visual poet Vince Laws

4 June 2010

Blog

series of medication bottles and boxes with the word 'human' painted on them in red

Disability Pride Tonight, June 4, I’m performing at the Norwich Arts Centre, at a Disability Pride benefit gig. Tomorrow, June 5, I’m showing visual poetry in the Disability Pride art show at the Forum in Norwich. One of the pieces is called Human. I wrote it for World Aids Day 2009 and then wondered how to make it visual. I decided to write it out letter-by-letter on my empty HIV and Hep C and side-effects empty medication boxes and bottles. A week before I was due to show it, I...

Comments: 5