Artistic Collaborations


Collaboration with painter, Jayne Sandys-Renton.

For two years, Jayne and I visited sites such as Birling Gap, Racton Tower and West Wittering and walked the countryside in Sussex. We talked as we walked and both made work from the same sources, though we explicitly set out not to illustrate each other’s work. The collaboration culminated in The Fallen House and Other Voices exhibition at the Otter Gallery in 2010. I wrote a sequence of fourteen sonnets which gave voice to the countryside, plants, water and buildings, while Jayne showed paintings that developed interim stages of metamorphosis between figures and settings. My poems were recorded by a variety of speakers and broadcast in the gallery on a loop. Later I rewrote some of the poems and unsonneted a few of them; my favourites appear in The Blue Den; the full original set of sonnets was published in A Track of Light, ed. D.Swann. In the middle of our collaboration, Jayne and I also presented a joint paper at The Lonely Page creative writing conference at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Film of my poem Trevail (Hidden River, Bloodaxe, 2008) by Jenni Steele produced in 2015. Here is a link: This is a fascinating reinterpretation of the poem which made me understand that the narrative had more than one possibility. This is all part of the pleasure of collaborations between forms.