Monday, 19 August 2013

A fancy picture!

Look at this ever so fancy picture showing the exhibition...

Thanks to Shane for taking this!

Female War Poets

Lucy & Paul arrived with an army of women for the Female War Poets Exhibition! And what I mean by an army of women is that they brought lots of beautifully framed poems illustrated by a short biography and a picture of each poet.

Our new exhibition is up.
It's all about female poets of the first world war.
It's beautifully laid out.
There's even a competition to enter.

There's original artwork too.
This picture doesn't show the detail very well, so here are a couple of close ups.

Utilising my new camera skills!
There is a lot to read, and you are more than welcome to read it out loud as you walk around.

Poetry should always be read out loud shouldn't it?

The inspiration for the exhibition came about after Paul and Lucy saw this...
So without further ado, here is the interview with the curators...
1.)    Why did you choose to do your exhibit about women and what sparked your interest in showing female war poetry.
The idea came about after Lucy had been to see a production of one of her favourite musicals Bullets and Daffodils by Wirral musician Dean Johnson. The musical is based on the war poetry of Wilfred Owen and tells the story of his life as a poet and in the trenches of World War One. Lucy entered a poetry competition ran by the Wilfred Owen story that celebrated the Centenary of the Titanic which she won. She was then asked by Dean Johnson who is the founder of the Wilfred Owen story to put together an exhibition about female war poets.
Her search began as in the Wirral where she discovered the poetry of May Sinclair. Expanding her search around the North West , she found Cicely Fox-Smith and Mary Webb. The more Lucy discovered the more the research evolved and the poetry on show includes international females from Russia, Italy and Canada to name a few.
2.)    Where does your interest in Poetry come from?
Lucy’s parents loved books and always encouraged her as a young child to read poetry, her passion also stemmed from curiosity about WWI; her grandfather was a Sergeant in the forces and was part of the first Regiment to go to the battle of Mons. When he returned from the war he brought back a poster of a horse called ‘Goodbye Old Man’ Lucy was intrigued by the poster and wanted to know more about it.
Lucy’s aunt also left her a black book full of poems, anecdotes and press cuttings that she had collected from WWI; this fuelled her interest to learn more and explore the War.
3.)    How did you make the pieces, was there any specific mental and physical process – Did you know how you wanted it to look in terms of layout, colour and fonts?
Lucy’s husband Paul, who has a background in publishing developed the project with Lucy and took charge of the composition of the pieces. As the exhibition has toured, the design of the pieces has evolved and changed from the first exhibition. They discussed details and began by making the pieces black and white as they felt this was appropriate and in-keeping with the way things were at the time that these poems were written.
The same layout runs throughout the pieces to make them a uniform collection and for ease of reading, photos of each woman was added for visual effect so that the reader could link a face to the words adding that extra sense to the whole experience. The project has evolved over 12 months and combined Lucy and Pauls critical eyes to create a good mix of poems, biography and visuals so that there is something for everyone at this exhibition.
4.)    How are you involved in poetry in general, do you write it yourself or just read it?
Lucy was always encouraged as a child to read poetry but it wasn’t until her parents Silver Wedding Anniversary that she wrote a poem for them as a gift.
Later Lucy was told by an American friend of hers to ‘just do it’, not to over think it but to write about anything, even Pauls favourite hockey team. Her approach is to write ideas and let them simmer before putting them all together,
5.)    Do you have particular favourite poets/poems?
Amongst Lucy’s favourite poems are Mary Elizabeth Coulridge, ‘Unwelcome’ – has always loved it and visualizes the poems when she reads it.
Browning was always Lucy’s mother’s favourite poet and is also one of hers.
6.) Can you tell us a little more about three of the poets?    
Mary Riter Hamilton was a Canadian Artist who painted the aftermath of the war in 1919. Mary lived in harsh times and wasn’t young when she crossed the Atlantic, she lived in devastated areas with food and water shortages. – Mary is one of Lucy’s favourites due to what Mary achieved through determination.  
May Sinclair – May was a UK writer and poet who joined the flying ambulance to aid the wounded. She was 52 at the time which was old in those day, she wrote poems about the 6 weeks she spent there to reflect her time and experience.  – May is one of Lucy’s favourite as she was courageous to have achieved what she did at her age and the devastating sites she witnessed. 
Ella Wheeler Wilcox – American poet, she was an inspiration to Lucy as Ella had the difficult job of entertaining the troops, which is where she wrote and recited her poems to them.
7. And finally?
Lucy also added Inspirational women not just poets as she felt she couldn’t leave them out for the difficult jobs they did and ones we wouldn’t have even known about such as Spies, Aviators, Munitions workers and lady helpers.
It was important to give a voice to those who were involved and the sacrifices they made.
Thanks for the interview, Paul and Lucy. I also want to thank Carmela, who carried out the interview for me. You'll see and hear more of her on this blog in the future as she is now part of the Arts Development Team. 
So here are a couple more images to whet your appetite and, as always, we hope this encourages you to come and see our gallery in person.  


Thanks for reading.
Ta Ra