Karen Dennison

Poet and artist

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Next Big Thing: chain tag

I’ve been tagged by the poet Abegail Morley to answer set questions relating to my next book. I plan to combine poetry and art within the tradition of ekphrasis (writing inspired by art). I aim to bring together the origins of ekphrasis – where an imaginary artefact is brought alive with words – with the contemporary poetic practice of responding to visual works of art and vice-versa. I start with the tradition of writing about an imaginary object and then invite a sequential chain of responses from artists and poets in turn. These will be presented in the form of an artist’s book that I design.

Where did the idea of the book come from?
As part of the MA Art, Design and the Book that I am studying for at Colchester Institute/the Minories Art Gallery and from a particular interest in writing poetry inspired by art and images.

What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry, art, ekphrasis and artist’s book.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a film version?
The contents of the book will be in the hands of the poets and artists that contribute but the starting point will be Borges’ short story The Book of Sand. I could imagine Adrien Brody playing the main character from the story.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It’s not written yet but I hope to present it as part of the final year show in 2014.

Who or what inspired this book?
My interest in ekphrasis came about through attending Tamar Yoseloff’s Poetry and the Visual Courses through the Poetry School. My MA is inspiring me to explore further the notion of ekphrasis in the context of the artist’s book. I came across a reference to Borges’ The Book of Sand at another Poetry School workshop run by Heidi Williamson about poetry and science and thought it would be an excellent source of inspiration for the starting poem in the chain in terms of narrative and metaphor.

What one sentence would sum up your book?
Poems inspired by art and art inspired by poems – a chain of responses in an artist’s book.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I’m looking for poets and artists to get involved. If you’re interested, contact me.

Will your book be self-published or published by an agency?
I’m designing and making the book myself.

The people I’m going to tag:

Elly Nobbs
Judith Johnson
Kathleen Jones