by Nick Jones
When writing poetry, I try to capture meaning, whether it is in joy, wonder or melancholy. I think that a good poem is often understated, allowing the reader space for their imagination to interpret the poem in their own way.
Art is the arrangement of elements to stimulate the senses and emotions; it communicates ideas, whether spiritual, emotional, political, or simply to create an object of beauty. It can be didactic but is often better when it leaves the observer scope to explore.
For etching I use colours, shapes and texture instead of words, sound and rhythm but the place I go to in my soul is similar. Leonardo da Vinci said,
Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen
What is surprising, is how few have pursued both mediums together. The most famous person to combine poetry with their own art is William Blake. He explored concepts of good versus bad, rationality and imagination in the relief etchings that he combined with poetry. David Jones is another with his works The Anathemata and In Parenthesis.
For me whether a picture can enhance a poem, or vice versa, depends on the kind of space that the reader/observer has to explore the relationship between the two. This is different from ekphrastic poetry, derived from art, which has a tendency to be literal and descriptive. While ekphrastic poetry can be enjoyable it tends to restrict the space for the observer's imagination.
My pamphlet, Night Journey, consists of a series of etchings and poems that explore the impersonal environment of the solitary night driver. The etchings and poems are meant to complement each other, not by didactically describing the other but, by being together, allowing the reader to explore the cues each gives. It might seem that the impersonal nature of darkness and tarmac would be the antithesis of the self, but it is within the space that the prints depict that aspects of the self can be explored.
In my latest pamphlet Still Life, I try and probe many of life's questions. Human foibles, our search for meaning, and the mystery and wonder of the physical world. The etchings and prints have been chosen partly to leave space for the reader's imagination but perhaps also to suggest a different viewpoint from which they could be interpreted.
Donald Revell, a renowned American poet, said:
Poetry is a form of attention, itself a consequence of attention… Poems are presences, themselves the consequence of vivid presentations…'showings'. An intimacy in which creative writing or reading share together continuous presentations of this world
I hope that by presenting my prints and poems together it gives the reader another dimension through which they can examine each.