Tag Archives: Buddhism

Inside This Earthen Book-Box 1

This is only part one of a blArt about my new Inside This Earthen Book-Box ITEB

Part 2 will follow in a few days with more images of the Book-Box

pot wit scrolls sm
6 scrolls surround my pot on a hexagonal table, notice the Beuys’ scroll has felt over it!

A while ago I wrote a series of poems to be printed as scrolls which I placed inside a big pot.

I called the project Inside This Clay Jug after a poem Robert Bly had recited after the original translation by Rabindranath Tagore of a 14th century poem by Kabir. I first heard the recital on the late a Jackie Leven cd. I loved it and was lucky to have known Jackie when he used another pen name, John St Fields. I loved his rendition of Inside This Clay Jug for years and was fortunate to get together with Jackie shortly before he died. The project was as much in memorium to him as it was a celebration of knowledge passed down in ancient times by communities who hid their precious writings in pots in caves or underground like the Nag Hamadi library and Buddhist pots found in Kandahar.

the jug sm
Pot + Scrolls stand on sand base. There are words from Kabir’s poem on the pot. Each scroll has a leather thong with the name of the subject or his associative domain created on a clay tab.

I don’t expect anyone to go to this link BUT it has an account of how Buddha’s pot for alms was found in Kandahar, it’s an incredibly complex story but the kind I find quite fascinating if & when I find the time to explore. For me this kind of exploration is the closest I’ll ever get to actually setting foot in Kandahar cos am a lazy old tyke. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=umZEfH1n0X4C&pg=PA281&lpg=PA281&dq=Buddhist+pots+found+in+Kandahar&source=bl&ots=XcgKUd5QC8&sig=qX35SJ3d_ZAJ9w4c_sG7PDX6YGQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqmNzu2_zUAhUNY1AKHV-ADl8Q6AEIRTAJ#v=onepage&q=Buddhist%20pots%20found%20in%20Kandahar&f=false

Recently I bound a copy of David Jury’s beautiful letterpress version of my poems in pots into a codex book.

1 isev bk SoB comp sm
Inside This Earthen Vessel (ISEV)

Letterpress print version bound as a codex book 

I only made two copies so far, one for me and one for DJ. And I have added a lovely little purple tassle to mine and sent it up to an international competition to see if they like it.

Whilst making the book I made a couple of extra cover and thought one day I’d make a book-box with one of em and put into it every incarnation of my poems for the Clay Jug Project about which I also published a book called G BATCH.

a cover of gbatch
Front cover of G BATCH

Now I know G BATCH is not the best name for the book, it’d be better named something like Inside This Clay Jug an Introduction. I preferred at the time to take letters from the names of the six men that my poems are about and as a group is also a batch called it a batch, G BATCH. The book is handmade in an edition of 50. It explains my ideas behind the project.

a orignl carl jung design
In my collage of Carl Jung I include a mandala I invented for Jung with pots and fishes plus a Buddhist Wheel of life. He is wearing his Gnostic ring.

It also has the master drawing that I used for the etchings of the six men.

isev at corsham court 2 sm
ISEV displayed at the Bath Spa ‘Concrete Poetry’ Symposium

I re-wrote the poems and published about 3 versions of them, Inside This Earthen Vessel (ISEV) was one version wherein I did the layout of the poems in the shape of pots and when DJ saw them he suggested we collaborate on the letterpress version which he would print. Those prints of the poems are now quite famous. Back in 2014 The Poetry Library at Southbank exhibited their copy in the Open Show of that year. They were recently (June 2017) exhibited at Bath Spa uni as part of their symposium on Concrete Poetry.

I did do a ‘concrete poem’ with the names of the G BATCH, actually more a log poem:

a gbatch concrete poem sm
Look carefully and you’ll see the names carved onto the logs.

Nowadays the bark is dropping off so I am going to recut the names a little deeper into the trunks to add to the poem’s lifespan along with some clarity.

Here’s some images of the Tenzin Gyatso (Dalai Lama) one when it was first cut.

a gyatso log stands
In my log poem I put his name where the T is in Batch. I s’pose I can recut the name as Tenzin?

 

a gyatso log cut
Tenzin Gyatso is the Dalai Lama’s name.

 

 

 

 

 

Be my Homeward Dove

‘Lift me like an olive branch

Be my Homeward Dove’

Leonard Cohen

Poet

a-homeward-dove
Be my Homeward Dove

On Friday night I took part in a series of readings for EducAid in Colchester Sixth form college. The main contribution was my Beuys ‘Sliding thru Eurasia’ poym. However I want to read one of Cohen’s pieces if given the time.

Thanks to Jim Pey for giving me the opportunity to ‘perform’ last night  and my friends Richard & Shelley who joined me and really seemed to enjoy the evening of poems & readings in Colchester on behalf of EducAid. http://www.educaid.org.uk/

This is from my Inside This Clay Jug poems.

Here he comes now over the hill! Sliding … Gliding…

Joseph Beuys with his Celtic roots

Sweeping…and…

Dancing down the backbone of England

Along the Pennine Way

 

Please “Don’t mention the War”

(in which)

He served the Luftwaffe in the air up there

(appropriate bomber diving sounds)

We each of us has a cross to bear

 

He says he piloted a Stuka bomber

Then he all fell down and broke his crown.

He went flying from the cock-pit and cracked his skull

Maybe that was what loosened his slates?

 

So who were these mysterious ‘Tartar Shamans’

Who pulled him from the burning wreck?

They were Siberian nomads

Who wrapped him up in felt and fat

Which later on he used for sculpture, just like that!

 

Swooping… down to Poland on a sled

In his waistcoat with his homburg on his head

He alone put the wrongs of the 3rd Reich to bed

 

‘Join up’ he told Eurasia… ‘Show me your friendly nature’

 

‘Everyone can be an artist’ (don’t you know?)

‘Just let your honey in all directions flow

Draw yourself in to the spiral vor…text

Why don’t you come with me little man On My Magic Blackboard Ride

 

Meet up with Hermann Hesse

Fellow Wanderer on the mountain paths

Dancing down the Backbone of Italy

Along the Appennine Way

 

We are not humans We are dancers

Swirling and whirling

Along the road down Destiny’s Inscrutable Was

It was lovely to see some of the audience smiling as I moved thru mi Beuys ‘poym’ “Explaining Beuys To A Dead Woodpecker”. Funny as you look around when you’re doing summat like that. There’s a nervousness at trying to remember the words and the nuances, yet nowadays I feel can bring in some of the audience with a little look. I try to gauge reaction/interest, altho it’s never a perfect science, I think I am learning to ‘read’ an audience better. That allows me to stay with something that’s ‘working’ and move quickly on if it isn’t.

“Dance Me To The End Of Love” Len Cohen

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

Dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone

Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon

Show me slowly what I only know the limits of

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born

Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn

Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in

Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove

Dance me to the end of love

I did my take on reading the above song as a poem  and I thought it wonderful how a couple of the other participants recounted their Len Cohen experiences reflected against my story of not seeing the man, whereas they had! It was not so much a mourning as a real delight in what he stood for and emanated with a panache and quite grace. I agree with the last speaker who said that he, on having the opportunity to meet and speak with LC, said thru a post event party-champagne haze, that Len was good no matter what others may think. It still applies. I loved when he did Glastonbury and gained thousands of new fans. Here he sings ‘Anthem’- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJSlpEb_jFk

There’s a poignant story about the girl in his song Marianne which is told in the Telegraph Obituary on 19.8.2016 about Cohen’s erstwhile love Marianne Ihlen who “spent her time since 1979 working in the personnel department of an oil company, painting and exploring Tibetan Buddhism.She remained in touch with Cohen, though when he performed in Oslo in 2010, she attended the concert without going backstage. But she sensed that he knew she was there.

When Cohen heard that Marianne was dying of leukaemia, he wrote to her: “Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom … but now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Now he can join her again without hurting anyone as we are all destined to travel down the inscrutable road of destiny, one day.

I was lucky to get tickets to see Dave McKean at the Tate Brit on Sunday 13th doing his Black Dog gig and talk . I am hoping to be able to get some more live images of him. Here’s one of the results from last time I saw him.

saint-d-mack-sm
St Dave

Leonard Cohen, I have been a fan since someone compared my artworks to his sad songs in a derogatory way in about 1976. I love his use of words. The way he counterbalanced beauty and high note with the beast and his low tones.

 

During my previous incarnation as a teacher I managed to ‘sing’ his ‘Dance me to the end of love’ to an entrapped audience of other teachers (they deserved it!). Luckily my assistant was a young Canadian who could sing well. Half way thru the ‘performance’ the Head of Science stole the show by dancing into the centre of the stage dressed in a tutu. I think Leonard would have smiled benignly!

Which he’s doing now, looking back at the human pace.

leonard-cohen-sm
Len Cohen drawn in 2008

Shalom & Namaste! 

 

LC was born a Jew and later adopted Buddhist monk Sasaki Roshi as his mentor.

https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/zenord.html

all images ©pete kennedy 2016

a Poetry day fer me too

I write some poyms

As a artis I write some poyms

Some of ‘em are off the cuff

A little bit rough (that’s ruff)

Around th’edges

Burri don’t mek no pledges

Nor hide behind hedges shouting about em

 

No am not pledged to any schools of art

Am just a bloke what writes

In fact

Am just a fella what creates em and

They cum in many colours Oops

In many forms they comes abart

 

Some on em are short and

Not so sweet

About my everyday life

And some are much more

Cleverer

Than that

 

I write about historic tings

Like the heroes I have

Or great names in history who we never heard of much

Cos the text books do not know them as such

But I tinks they shud have some say

In what I calls my poetray

 

Some of ma poems are real clever

Like those shaped in pots

And the ones I did using snaps I took

Of words on the walls

And in books and tings

On my way ome from the poetry library

 

So this blog by this poet wallah

On national poetry day is a show-case

Fer sum of ma werks in words and

Other forms of poems

Taken from my life and all the

Experiences what I have done.

 

2. Don’t Give Up, Things Get Better One Day

 

The fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso,

Bodhisattva of Compassion, Ocean of Wisdom, Refugee

Exiled from his home Land in Tibet he had to flee

Escaping into the charitable arms of neighbouring India

 

Do unto others as you would have others do unto thee

 

Meditate on the clear Light of the Void

And everlasting undemanding love

Om ha vajra hung

Padma guru siddi hum

 

Truth and justice and human understanding

Will triumph in the end

Over Ignorance and despair

When the oppressor finally sees the light

 

Everything is always changing

We are interdependent and need one another every which way

Nothing stays the same forever

And in the end, all Empires eventually fade away

 

You must Never give up

Things will get better one day

Things are getting better in every way

If you follow the path with your heart

 

See the Wu Li Masters prancing

Just little lights moving and dancing.

All of us merely bundles of energy

Tripping and skipping along the merry way

 

  1. Vision Of Mud

 vision-of-mud

4. my Gurdjeff Pot Poem, ‘Life Is Real Only Then When I Am’

g-poem-bi-dj

Letterpress print by David Jury

 

  1. Visit this past blArt o mine on th’Poetry Library Open Day way back

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/a-happy-man/

 

Namaste

Team of trophies.

 

Real Madrid have eleven European Cups in their trophy cabinet now. (Liverpool have 5, Notts Forest won it twice & Man U av 2.)

That makes Real Madrid (Ray-Al some say) historically the greatest club in Europe, by far. Even back in 1961 when I was ten years old and playing for Tod Road Junior team in the Hartley Cup Final Ray-Al had already won the Cup 5 times, in fact every year since its inception in 1955 and we all fought to be Di Stefano, Puskas or Ghento in kickabouts in Burnley’s backstreets. I go to two finals as a 10 year old and we were joint winners of both. That’s the closest I ever came to winning a cup. Where does that place me in the ‘greats’ of football? About the same place as I am in amongst the greats in everything else- Nowhere Man.

But Don’t Give Up I hear Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush & the Dalai Lama sing. I may never have won a cup but I scored many wonderful goals and had some great achievements. Oh be Thankful!

sennacheribs prism BM image

The Sennacherib Prism 691 BC rests in the British museum for all of us to fascinate over. Their comment is:

‘Hexagonal clay prism, foundation record lists campaigns of (Assyrian king) Sennacherib until the start of his final war against Babylon, and includes a description of the tribute received from Hezekiah, King of Judah in 701 BC’. See this fascinating (despite having subtle leanings toward a biblical bias) article about the prism et al:

http://www.bible-history.com/empires/prism.html

 

I discovered it (The Sennacherib Prism) was there (at the BM) in the final week of my MA in ‘Art & the Book’. I had just about completed a major project in which I had used six men of ideas as the focus for my idea of placing ‘knowledge’ in clay pots. The project pivots around the concept of ‘six’, which in fact was a pragmatic reduction on Gurdjeff’s use of nine, nine would have increased my workload by another 50% and I had enough with six. Luckily six sided shapes tessellate as any bee will tell ya and bees also feature in the ideas of two of my ‘heroes’, Gurdjeff & Beuys.

 

For me the ancient hexagonal prism was and is tantamount to a book and at the time vowed to make a book(s) influenced by it. I love it. I cannot read cuneiform so must rely on the experts to tell me what it records. It seems to me that the view of history which we received in schools was so jaundiced against Assyria & Babylon, for reasons I shall not try to mention nor explain here, suffice to say that the region in which it was made has been at war with itself and others for millennia.  Assyria & Babylon and Persia for that matter had truly great civilisations for their time and those people arose out of a cauldron of activity in which their cultural and technological skills grew exponentially. I just love this prism. For me it represents (not in its words which are about wars and conquests but in its skills of the art of writing and making) a great human achievement. Compare it to an ipad. If in 2,000 years time a being stumbles upon an ipad & this prism I think it will be the prism which would communicate more once that being deciphers the content into its own language. The ipad will communicate little because the waves (of the internet?) which inform it will no longer be around, so it’ll be just a piece of plastic with a few words like ‘ipad’ marked on it.

My first real opportunity to make a book(s) influenced by the prism came recently when I saw an ad in Sarah Bodman’s BAN p49  http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/pdf/newspdfs/103.pdf

‘Call for artists’ books: The Great Silk Road International Artist’s Book project Organiser: International Association “Artist’s Book” Curators: Vasily Vlasov, Mikhail Pogarsky Project theme: Artists’ Books unite the world! The art of communication The international art project “The Great Silk Road” is aimed at the development of communication and cooperation between countries and peoples. Two thousand years ago, the Silk Road united the Far East and Europe and has been the main channel for the exchange of goods, technologies and knowledge. Today we offer to renew the exchange on a new level of art’s message, ideas and images through the artist’s book. The Great Silk Road is primarily a metaphor. We do not limit artists in the methods of the interpretation of this theme. We are open to any bright images and ideas aimed at communication between East and West, North and South, art and society; on building productive dialogue between countries and peoples. If politicians cannot find a common language for each other, they will have the help of the international language of art.’

BANG off I go again. I don’t have time to create any artisbuk right now, but anyroadup am gonna! And I did and I sent it to Moscow and I shall shew it to yez when I get a message from Russia saying they gorrit and they’ll have it in the show. Why did I bother to do it when am so busy working on other books like my long awaited (by at least half a dozen long term suffering friends + one or two masochists) New Shrewd Idiot? Well.

I may win a trophy like Ray-yall Madrid did? [Idjet! there’s no trophies to be won. The real trophy is being able to participate, innit?]

 

The Silk Road is what I DO! It features loud in much of my work since my MA studies in 2013. The Silk Road was much frequented and writ about by my old mate Gurdjeff (Gurdjieff or Gurdzhiev if you like) who talked of the Remarkable wise men he found tucked away in places like Bokhara and Samarkand on the old Silk Road. So I just cracked on and did it.

silk rd buk 2 sm

The result is my first hexagonal prism book. Using binds and words and artefacts together to indicate my fascinations which my bookbinding mentor Mike Sullivan kindly said, ‘…they look very exciting…’.

Everyone who sees them seems to like them. I have made 3 slightly differing versions each of which can be shown in different placements, all of which are reminiscent of ancient stupas built by various peoples moving out of India onto the Old Silk Road trail to China taking one of the most valuable of human commodities with them, ideas. And creative, beneficial, positive notions are, for me, the best.

What else happened this week?

Well I turned up at Firstsite for another impromptu lesson in break-dance from ‘Isaac’. He runs classes there as part of the YAK youth project. He’s so tolerant and patient and I have now nearly ‘got’ the first six steps in the basic break-dance form.

Blu Bella sm

I have installed the Quark2016 package and am working thru some teething issues with one of their engineers. Well I think I am, I hope she didn’t get back over the weekend cos they don’t work over (British) bank hols in India, not cos she’s given up on me as a dead loss. Hopefully once solved I shall rapidly (I hope) put my 1970’s illustrations into the New Shrewd Idiot. I got to get it finished and finally out. I have a new idea for the wrap-over cover. I have a self portrait what I done just before I left my home town for college days.

a self P 1969 v sm

I may use that with three flower picture above it representing three young women who play important parts in the book; a bluebell, a rose and a camellia. It’s wonderful where an unshackled mind takes you innit?

and in tribute to those who drowned at The Battle of Jutland, both sides.

a first poppy 2016 sm

 

It’s For The People.

 

Going back to thoughts https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/a-lifelong-friend/ on my old friend for 60 years Trev*, initially it would trouble me that my words don’t reach people like him but, on consideration, I have spent 48 years developing my words & ideas which he neither followed nor kept up with my path, why should he? I don’t understand his zone either, he was an accountant, I don’t do money, ask HMRC they’d confirm that. *Good news is Trev got in touch and said he enjoyed my last blArt.

Here’s the first viewing of one of the Apulhed Comix c.1977 that never got published in the 1970s. By 1979 I had created Happy Apulhed, a much more friendly, less eerie character.

ahed sets off color sm

When I was doing Apulhed comics at college in the early 1970s my old mates back in Burnley could explain my work was beyond their experience by saying, “Pete’s gone off to college and is full of new-fangled ideas, he’s just a bit strange but we can tolerate that because he’s…” Now nearly 50 years later I have further widened the gap. Not vindictively, just by osmosis, as a result of my endeavours but it still begs the question- If my art cannot reach ‘normal’ folk, am I missing the mark?

Nonetheless folk from all over the world do find my art interesting. yesterday I had hits from Vietnam and Sweden and my total views is fast approaching 10K. Some write and say I write well or the blog is good. But more, I feel that when I do any more Performance Art (PA) I’d need to be able to communicate or ‘get’ to the public’s minds whilst neither condescending them, nor demeaning my ideas of course. There would always be an elephant of surprise and an unsettling feeling in the outcomes I produce to keep the onlookers’ attention. Don’t want youse all falling asleep now do we?

I have been looking again at Verena & Andrea’s (Vest & Page) stuff in the vids on their website. http://www.vest-and-page.de/#!selected-works/caf0 They show by their astounding work that by comparison my work is a mere blot on the floor left by a PA Baby in his swaddling bands. (‘Swaddling’ is an age-old practice of wrapping infants tightly in blankets or similar cloths so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. Swaddling bands were often used to further restrict the infant. At the moment I feel constrained as if by swaddling bands and only by ‘getting’ my work out there’ will I change my garment, or maybe relinquish [most of] them.) The good news is I’ve been invited onto the Book Arts Day for The Society of Bookbinders on Sat 5th March 2016 in little old London town to do some Performance Art. Right now I’m working on a new piece, ‘Brush’, using words from Colin Lloyd Tucker’s beautiful song ‘Brush’. My friends, the Townsend Twins are helping choreograph the movement. I may also include a new rendition of Clay Jug after the beautiful poem by Kabir.

And ‘PA Baby‘ is maybe another pseudonym for me as it cover the fact that I’m old enough in calendar years to be their grandpa yet in terms of my experience in the field of PA I’m just a baby. In fact whilst at IPA in October a lot of my work brought me, and indeed some observers, to tears. In my case because I was going back into my early experiences and re-living them and also seeing that at 64 years old I weren’t about to have certain experiences again and indeed the inevitability of the changes old age will bring also weighed down on me. I got my crying in first. Some watchers cried in sympathy, some because I touched a chord and others just cried cos they were incredibly tired after 8 days of full-on PA practice with a group of strangers to start with who fast became close bonds. I still find it so daunting to think of what is out there in the Performance Art field. But it’s silly to compare. It’s like comparing a little village’s pub band to the Rolling Stones but there again the greats do look at the new stuff coming thru and like V&P are very encouraging. My mate IEPW told me that David Bowie liked Arcade Fire so much that he requested to sing with them and they accepted his offer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6c9Ejfu-iU

Also he did this with them uploaded 2 Feb 2006 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkCc_qiI7UA well now, David had another 10 years.

Deathday instead of Birthday celebrations?

Image053

A Big Cloud of Unknowing.

When I heard of the death of David Bowie I thought to myself, they should have a day each year to celebrate him, maybe his day of dying would be the best day for an annual remembering of his creative, original and inspirational, trend-setting (in its purest form) life. Undoubtedly he did set trends.

Image062

OM

The Dalai Lama has said, “Usually I don’t consider birthdays something important. In Tibet we consider the death anniversary more important. I think that’s quite wise. A person who made good contributions in life, then after [their] death, remember them in some anniversaries…as a Buddhist monk I believe every day is a new day, every day is birthday. The particles of our body momentarily changing, always become something new. Mental thinking, because of new knowledge & experience, also changes. So every day is a birthday. [If] we use our day in a proper way then the months & decades, whole life becomes meaningful. If you can help other, do it as much as you can. If you cannot do it, at least, restrain from harming others. That’s the essential of meaningful life.”

I’ll drink to that, nowadays my chosen drink is water.

 

Yes Am luckier than I thought

Building up to my next book NewSI.

pk as si smThe Shrewd Idjet c. 1979

This book is about those heady days when the creator of Big ‘Ead (at junior school age 10)

big ed 1st frame 1960Big ‘Ead drawn in year 5 at Tod Road primary school

and dreamed up Apple-Head-Man (in Bournemouth aged 20)

ahed burnley surfer

and whose Celtic name meant Ugly Head odork sheriffwent to college from his 18th to his 22nd year in the very early 1970’s. He began in the 3rd class carriage and by his graduation had scurried into the 2nd class seats. As he watched his fellow travellers he realised that despite his best efforts he was still a complete idiot, so that’s what we’ll call this first part of The New Shrewd Idiot which is going to be released in a series of short sections.

(*I may even call it An Altered Shrewd Idiot ?)

I saw a film the other day o boy, the film being A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence which is about two men who spent their lives going round selling crap artefacts like rubber masks of a one-toothed man. I see this as a parallel to my going around trying to foist the world with an Apple-Headed mask to the sound of the Doors song,

Life is strange when you’re alone

When you’re strange

Faces come out in the rain

When you’re strange

No one remembers your name

People are strange when you’re a stranger

Faces look ugly when you’re alone

When you’re alone

Women seem wicked

When you go walking

You’re unwanted

Streets are alive when you’re alone.

It was interesting talking with Saradha Soobrayen in the Poetry Library at South Bank this weekend and she has this idea about ‘The Long Poem’ which is not a long poem like say Hiawatha but more a lifetime’s effort on the part of the poet, to find the voice and realise the potential. My NewSI ‘book’ is such an effort. It began at the beginning of my self-writing and continued throughout the next forty odd years as I wrote and learned about writers & writing. The resulting work, which is still in process, will be the long poem in the way Saradha is thinking, I think. I am excited by the possibilities. I just need to discipline myself and put them together for real rather than just in my mind’s eye.

And the long poem also includes the artworks and the ‘performances’. They add to the words with a moving feast, oh yes and the dance, which adds the moving feet. I dance because I still can. I LOVE those old films of those ancient blues dancers doing the soft shoe shuffle which prove to me we should shuffle as long as we can. Life is a dance which the words, images and ideas just feed. Two perfect examples of this ‘long-poem’ are the life works of Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen.

And I saw the big show of Joseph Cornell’s work. Cornell influenced a lot of ‘artist’s book’ makers in recent years was himself influenced, like me, by key dada artists like Max Ernst who I believe to have been a greater creative thinker and practitioner than the much vaunted Marcel Duchamp. Another big influential European who taught in the States Moholy-Nagy did his early creative experiments in poetry rather than the visual arts which flags up the cross fertilisation between the arts, so much so that I now see that my own writing, painting, drawing and printing along with performance events are interlocked for the past 40 odd years. Like Moholy-Nagy I was effected by ‘Dada’s irreverence which aimed to offend middle-class notions of good taste which taught Moholy-Nagy [and moi] to refuse to accept the limitations of the traditional definitions of art’.

And my ‘art’ encompasses many media, many ways of saying the thing.

I know we live lives capable of

Belligerence

Underestimation

Misunderstanding

but

Let us find The Lion Inside– (hear Sir Van Morrison on utube).

Inside This Clay Jug– (listen to Jackie Leven Inside This Clay Jug).

Buddha Nature-Tibet

Our True Selves- Hindu

Hidden Essence-Sufi

Matter, Energy, Meaning-Bohm*

Let us avoid Infinite Confusion (My Quagfog^) and live in Peace-Full Earth Together Endlessly.

*See Sogyal Rinpoche on David Bohm pp356-9 in The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying where he’s writing about ’An Unfolding Vision Of Wholeness.’

^ I coined the word Quagfog in my writings t’ward The Shrewd Idiot in the mid1970’s. It means that dark space we inhabit when we are down, lost and unsure where to head. Our feet seem to be bogged down in a quagmire and our heads are seemingly in a fog.

getting ready for BABE.

So, getting ready for BABE.

You have a new ‘book’ Inside This Great Jug out in time for BABE, why?

pete's earthen vessel

Well, I wanted to complete the cycle of artist’s books which emanated from my love of that poem by Kabir Inside This Clay Jug. It’s the third version of the poem(s) and the last changes which I shall ‘publish’ as an artist’s book in an edition of 25. Although the Beuys’ poem I shall be doing at BABE has already been changed several times since I completed Inside This Great Jug. I have a version which I intend to use at BABE now and that is it! No more alterations or ‘improvements’! And I am shewing that to nobody before BABE, except in spoken form, in practice.

 

So it follows on from and develops the poems in your second book in the series, Inside This Earthen Vessel. What then is Inside This Earthen Vessel (ITEV) about Pete?

 itev cover

It’s about spiritual harmony, peace on Earth, goodwill, humankind(ness). It’s about some (6) humans  who sought to find harmony & answers then share their ideas (whose names make up the title of an earlier book in the series G BATCH)

g bat cova

G Gurdjeff

Beuys

Angeli Silesi

Tenzin Gyatso

Carl Gustav Jung

Hermann Hesse

(As it happens only one of them, Tenzin Gyatso the Dalai Lama, is still living in his human body, the others still live on in the ideas they left for us).

ITEV is a search for peace and harmonious existence. It shows six men who pursued practices which encapsulated a vision of what life can mean and how to prepare for leaving the mix of sorrows and joys of this mortal coil…foil…toil…. Coiling, swirling, twisting, trickstering, mysterying, and most of all it’s about dancing to the sound of the Cosmos, to the sound of one hand.

I have made the words in the new version, Inside This Great Jug, are a bit easier for the casual onlooker to understand which will be important if I am going to read any of them in the Arnolfini to people who may never have met me nor seen my work before. The images are also a bit brighter in Inside This Great Jug as I’ve made the portraits more colourful. Whereas ITEV is a more complex package with the layouts of its poems being in the shape of a pot and the pages remain unbound but kept in a little folder. Inside This Great Jug is a concertina folded book with a cover. And it’s a dinky tiny thing which people seem to like and they are calling it ‘pocket size’.

I notice there’s one poem which is very different from the other six?

Yes well that’s from the collaboration I did with David Jury who took the words from ITEV and reset them in his letterpress version. We edited the poems and even added a subtext. That odd one out is from that version of ITEV. It’s handy really because I chose to have it in this new book cos am doing a reading of it in the ‘talk’ at 4pm on Sunday 12th April. Most of that ‘talk’ will feature the life and work of Joseph Beuys because he is the most artist-like of the six men in the poems and of course it’s being done in an art gallery. I won’t be ‘talking’ all the time I hope to be able to answer any questions that folk bring up although it’s only scheduled for 20 minutes. Then I guess they’ll be rushing back to pack their tables if they are fellow stall-holders. Visitors should have an hour to make final purchases and walk, float or fly out of the gallery, depending how they feel after watching my gig! They may even dance all the way home.

My old mate Duncan recently sent his summary of my Clay Jug Project. I chose to emphasise the words which are emboldened:

Pete,

I’ve been thinking about where you have arrived at with your Clay Jug project ……

You are now presenting and embracing a set of representations of communications of knowledge from six chosen mystics.

In the beginning was the word and yours is represented by the Jackie Leven chant of Kabir’s Inside This Clay Jug , a memory of the oral tradition of conveying knowledge.

Your presentation contains the vocal tradition through poems, complemented by spiritual dance and music in order to enhance the meditative experience; this is a time before the word was conveyed by writing.

Your clay jug containing scrolls represents the first forms of conveying words.

Your self-made books are a next step in the man’s way of representing knowledge, illustrated by drawing and symbols.

Then, you move to type-set books and try and preserve the original energy of the dancing communications, through layout and emphasis.

Even though you can view this as a historic progression of representing the written word, you are trying to maintain and enhance the meaning and rhythm of the original thoughts and vocal communication of the mystics in all its forms together.

You can view your project as a complete set, with no linear sequence, of the different forms of conveying the knowledge of the mystics, they are presented all together and intertwined, so giving more emphasis to the wisdom of the words and the form does not detract too much from the words.

Your presentation and artefacts created, deliver a dancing pageant of art representing the communication of the knowledge of the mystics through the changing forms of communication.

Duncan Walker (14.2.15)

Duncan has been a friend of mine since we met while playing football for the school team in 1961. He has kept a close eye on the way my art and ideas has developed since we were at school. Another old friend who I met in 1969, Ian Woolard, tried to put a comment on this blog last week. He filled in the form on the blog and pressed send, but it never came through. I wonder if that happens often? I mean, there was about a 20% return in ‘views’ from the folk I notified last week, which is great, but never do I get any comments, which should be coming in if only by law of averages. IF you have commented on my blogs and never got an acknowledgement from me then that would be cos it never showed up in my domain. So, you should make comments in emails maybe, then if you wish me to add them to the blog just say so and if I can bear the view expressed I shall add it in. Ta.