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Curating the Contemporary: PoetryFilm Paradox

cropped-thumbnail2.jpgCurating the Contemporary* art and culture journal attended the BFI LOVE PoetryFilm Paradox event in December 2015. The poem, Lessons in Love, exploring the paradoxes of love, is a response to the event written by Anna Mace (scroll down and click to read).

*Curating the Contemporary (CtC) is a meeting point for discussion on arts and culture. CtC uses writing as a resource for artists, curators and audiences, sharing diverse perspectives in the format of exhibition reviews, interviews, previews and a series of special features, academic pieces and creative texts. It is a doorway to the contemporary art scene developing in London and beyond. Established in October 2013, CtC is managed by alumni of MA Curating the Contemporary: a course taught in conjunction between the Whitechapel Gallery and London Metropolitan University. It has since then evolved, as an experimental platform, through the collaboration with and discourse of different contributors.


Lessons in Love

On Victoria platform, I watched

it break my heart,

ripped it vast, across your face,

to memories surrendering

blood to gravity, briefly,

thought of calling my mother,

but she is on the other side of

this black hole.

And she can’t hear.  Or see.

Who is sure where tracing light

really falls, I wonder.

When once shapes a life?

Seeking treasure in the gap, stoically

folded away and six pointed, hidden

places nurturing love, where something

has assembled me.


I tightened round your words,

snailed inside my womb.

The way you glowed, and remembered

how Escher loved worlds, and I

loved eyes, you asked,

how is it, at the age of 33, you’re

still terrified of being a teenage mother?

Why we measure the world

in ratios, indices, borrowed patterns?

I couldn’t help but smile at the way

we stamped,

the geometry of this territory in the

exchange of our hands, and how we laughed

a little, and pulled away.

Whilst love stayed put, waving bravely

from the train.


Playing seems easier than praying;

I reconcile the line in reverse,

hold voyage in armchairs

surrounded by idols, plush,

brass doorknobs, art, sweat,

whilst saluting red wine to the

letters bound inconsolably,

to Dolce, born from the void

for a thing like that.  Iterating,

satin, scar(red)-let heart, stuffed.

I can’t bear the beauty of silence, the

cascade of light drops, grazed stiff

receding in the ripple, when the silhouette

window yawns, I tell myself, I tell myself,

all things will die.  Those patterns on screen are

reading best what we love most.


I scrabble for A9I9R6

p2r6e12c2i9o8u4s4 w4o8r6d4s4, with all the space they give

and for all their worth, love,

just time sickness.  That’s all it is.

We don’t talk about how dizzying,

how fragile its scent, like milk teeth

under pillows, diffusing dreams as we sleep,

hoping someone will craft them

into magic, spells:                                                             W.E A.R.E E.N.O.U.G.H.

despite the falls, the clutch at our

hearts, string of wounds trailing,

still want to know:                                                             W.E A.R.E E.N.O.U.G.H.

incantations that draw us to full

height, elevate knights into shining stars,

small steps, love, a day – a lifetime,

start with small words:                                                      W.E A.R.E E.N.O.U.G.H.


9 Where something has me

9 assembling love, hiding points

6 to nurture the gap, enfolding suffering –

2 we sought treasure in life.

6 I wonder,

12 can we trace the sea to the light?

2 But this black is the other side of the whole.

9 My mother calls

8 the thought to gravity, and

4 blood surrenders.  We face our

4 memories, hardly brief

4 kisses, these are after all,

8 vast ripping hearts.  Watching

6 victory break on the platform, know it is

4 love repeating, circling, forever so.

4 As above.

Anna Mace is keen to merge the boundaries between text, art, science and performance.  She currently contributes to the bookart project, Revolve:R  where her poetry has been turned into short films.  She has also published poetry for Translation Games, a project exploring literature and the arts.  She was resident poet for the National Trust, UK, last summer and her manuscript was recently shortlisted for The Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2015 with Eyewear Publishing, London, UK.  Anna Mace lives in Bristol.

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