Perpetual Night: a Poetic Collaboration with Charlotte Hodes

Charlotte Hodes, Perpetual Night (2018), silkscreen and digital hand-cut enamel transfer on 36 china plates, dimensions variable. Courtesy the Artist. Photo: Nicola Lorini.

Perpetual Night (2018) is a group of 36 ceramic plates and fragments that bear the text of a poem in and around screenprinted images—silhouettes of women and furniture, decorative patterns and scraps of linear ornament. It constitutes the third project in which artist Charlotte Hodes and I have explored the relationship between poetry and the visual image, thinking about movement and representations of the female body and experimenting with different ways that text and image can be generated and presented to create new modes of reading. The first of these collaborations, And You, Helen (2014), took form as a book and a film, using words, cut paper and drawing to reflect on the memoirs of Helen Thomas, widow of the British poet Edward Thomas1 ; the second was a film version of Elizabeth Bishop’s 1956 poem of geographic exploration, “Questions of Travel.”

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  1. Deryn Rees-Jones and Charlotte Hodes, And You, Helen (Bridgend, Wales: Seren, 2014). The film was commissioned for the Ledbury Poetry Festival, 2014, and can be seen at: []