Thursday, February 08, 2007

Word Art

Though now writing fiction and non-fiction for young children and mid-grade, my first books were non-fiction for adults - 'The Australian Manual of Calligraphy', pub. Allen and Unwin in 1987, and 'A Manual of Calligraphy' pub. Unwin Hyman / Harper Collins in the UK and NZ. I have more non-fiction for adults planned too.

My calligraphy tutors have included the world's finest - 'The Queen's Scribe' - Donald Jackson, Thomas Ingmire, Michael Gullick, Kennedy Smith, Gaynor Goffe and many more.

I'm just writing a proposal to perform at the Queensland Poetry Festival in September, but I'm not sure if this is what they have in mind:

I'd like to spend the 3 days of the Festival working on a large roll of paper, writing poetry in calligraphy as word pictures, starting with one poem and then adding and interweaving lines of onlookers' choice, so that in the end, a large scroll is produced.

Throughout this time of demonstration I would be able to talk to bystanders about design, layout, texture, scale and materials – and provide advice. Thomas Ingmire said:

“It is only the expression of the words, the conviction, the passion, the love behind them, which gives them meaning.”

Here's the result of my recent experiment to visually interpret parts of 'Relearning the Alphabet', by Denise Levertov.

In the beginning was delight. A depth
stirred as one stirs fire unthinking.
Dark dark dark . And the blaze illumines

Vision sets out
journeying somewhere,
walking the dreamwaters

Better get back to the proposal!

Peter Taylor

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