Forwards always – poetry to read aloud

Hodson, Matthew (2017) Forwards always – poetry to read aloud. [Artefact]

Abstract

The output is an illustrated book of nonsense poetry called ‘Forwards always – poetry to read aloud’. It is an edited collection of poems written between 2015 – 2017. The poetry takes an irreverent and nonsensical tone, used as a vehicle for storytelling, observation, satire and critical discourse. Research Process: The book has been designed to be read aloud, between parent and child, performer and audience. Its design promotes performance, it is activated through play, with footnotes and graphic language akin to that of a school text book instructing closer scrutiny, repeated readings, meaning making and play. The book also references 1980s’ poets and paperback Penguins. Research Insights: Play is crucial, we used type, footnotes and the non-sequitur positioning of image and word to promote the performative act of reading the book. The book itself plays with the concept - to read it is to decode it, to unlock it, to perform it and to imagine it. The book is prefaced with a citation from Stephen Natchmanovitch’s critical text, Free Play, Improvisation in Life and Art, 1990. Penguin Putnam, New York. Natchmanovitch suggests that Galumphing (childlike play) is a vital form of meaning making and is of huge evolutionary value. This idea is central to Hodson’s practice-based research and acted as the starting point for much of the books content, both visual and written. Dissemination: The book was disseminated through a reading at an exhibition, 'Forwards Always – Seasonal Observations Through Image and Word', at the Vernon Street Gallery, Leeds Arts University between 15 September and 27 October 2017. It was also shortlisted in the Book category at the Association of Illustrators World Illustration Awards 2018.

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