Sunday, 25 November 2012

Gillian Allnutt Portrait of Gwen John


I first met Gillian Allnutt through Lizzie Siddal, when I was researching Lizzie's then fragmentary life story and Gillian was writing 'Lizzie Siddal: Her Journal'.  We had some fun at literary festivals and art galleries with a  joint presentation of poems (by Gillian and Lizzie) pictures (by Lizzie) and biography (by me). 
She has a new collection Indwellings in preparation, which will be published by Bloodaxe  in 2013. It contains several poems inspired by paintings, including one by Gwen John that should be familiar via a few lines from Gillian's poem, which is as spare and still as Gwen's pictures:

the heart's milk wood made welcome
as necessity
as strength of will
as summer in a jamjar on the table.
I'd call the poem a portrait although/because like the painting there's no-one visible in it.

And I've just discovered that one of Gillian's poems was featured by Carol Rumens in the Guardian last week, with an appreciative exposition - see here http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/nov/19/poem-of-the-week-gillian-allnutt

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