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Sara Parsons

February 11, 2010

Just had a catch-up with Sara Parsons.  The first time really, since before Slow Magic.  What an interesting and charming lady!

We talked about all sorts of things, around our roles at the Bluecoat, and then wrote some poems.  At one point she asked me what I had learned while doing this residency, which is a fair enough question, I think.

I will answer this more fully in the publication which I’m putting together for the residency-end, but for now I would like to note my feelings about working in a building that is so even-handed in it’s conception of artwork.  It has given me a broader view of what is possible – and necessary – in creating meaningful work and twisting and adding to the historical achievement of art… a much broader view than, say, the world of publishing, academia and readings that the poet usually inhabits.  The residency has given me, above all, a passionate curiosity about the possibilities that are opened to me as a wordsmith within the world of ‘fine art’, galleries and artistic discourse.

We spoke about the presence of frameworks in the body of work of Janek Shafer, and some things about this that had caused me to struggle with a creative interpretation of this exhibit.

Finally, we turned the conversation to Sara, and her understanding of her role – and how we could try to manage some kind of creative collaboration between the two of us.  The role of photography and fetishisation of objects within themes of memory, remembrance and nostalgia was a central theme.  (I wondered about the etymology of the word ‘Sentimental’, which seems so embued with negative connotations in art that we barely seem to understand it anymore)

Then, sitting in the sun-struck wooden warmth of the restaurant, we completed a small exquisite corpse exercise.  Good stuff.  I enjoy the ‘coaching’ these poems, and learning the moment to strike with the start of the exercise.  In these examples, there was a strong beam of sun coming onto the sofas, which chimed with something Sara was saying about a scene in a Terrence Davis film.  Here is the two poems we came up with:


Like sunlight travelling across Barthes’ living room

rug, my porcelain puppies on the fireplace.  I break

down and around the bottom end, with

crunching, frosty footsteps, sodden, heavy

boots.  Our eyes swim and ears fall silent

in the crouching winter sun.


The light that passes along the floor could be

music from the tall city every where I

go today – the perpetual yesterday that we

trail behind us, suspiciously, like leftover wine in

an early morning fridge:

the cold light we are discovered by.

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