Thoughts from David Annwn
I first experienced David Smith’s sculpture at the major Exhibition of his work 1932-1965 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England.I knew that Hudson River Landscape is a popular and well-known sculpture. What impressed me was how David Smith’s eye imaged recognizable motifs: current, fish, sails, flow as it flashed by and how it also registered the passage of consciousness propelled through this world. That is why I wanted to bring the maker and observers’ minds into the lines of the poem.The still sculpture isn’t ever still and is always changing its shapes for us, whilst always carrying us on. It seems a creation which invites, and even draws energy from our varied interpretations.I also started to think about lettering, words and characters seen from different angles. It was as though the sculptor’s way of re-purposing and welding industrial and agricultural machinery invited new ways of envisaging words outside and extra to their straightforwardly instrumental value. Thomas’s calligraphy came to mind.
Thoughts from Thomas
David and I discussed David Smith’s sculpture as a source of inspiration for a collaborative work. The calligraphic character of Smith’s sculpture had always fascinated me, but I had never looked at it as a model for new letterforms. David’s poem presented this opportunity. In a review of Smith’s work I rediscovered the role that drawing played in the development of his sculpture. His series, Imaginary Glyphs, 1952, could easily stand as modern lettering studies. And his sketches for the sculptures, often in pen and ink, are near what modern calligraphers refer to as expressive lettering. This material, along with the rhythms and images of David’s words, served as inspiration for my work. I was particularly intrigued with the idea of seeing my lettering as sculpture. By pushing the designs in that direction, I felt that I was discovering new forms of calligraphy in the process of creating the words. In my mind’s eye I imagine the pages being sketches for work in steel.
David Annwn (born 1953) is an Anglo-Welsh poet, critic, teacher, playwright and magic lanternist who was raised in Cheshire, England. In his undergraduate years at the University of Aberystwyth, David edited Dragon poetry magazine and helped convene the Gallery Poets series at UCW Neuadd Fawr with Rose Simpson, ex-member of the Incredible String Band. In 1973, he met Robert Duncan, a future influence on his poetry, and studied for his doctorate supervised by Jeremy Hooker. Annwn taught at Wakefield College and Leeds University from 1981 to 1995, latterly becoming Head of English. Active as an organiser and performer, Annwn collaborated with musician John Cowey and poet Roula Pollard in running poetry/drama events at Wakefield College Theatre and convened reading tours for American writers including Robert Berthof, Black Mountain artist Basil King and Bobby Louise Hawkins. Since 2004 Thomas Ingmire and David Annwn have collaborated in the creation of more than 15 unique artist books.