Monthly Archives: November 2016

Iona in November; images of place, experience; words and memory

Mull snow caps    Red Valley Mull travelling across Mull…

After teaching my workshop (please see previous post)I spent two weeks on Iona working in the hostel at Lagandorain (the hollow of the otter) doing domestic work and tending the gardens. I walked most days to the beach with a wheelbarrow to gather seaweed to dress the currant and berry beds. For the rest of each day I worked in my nest-like room making drawings and writing; or cycling in the fading daylight to Abbey, Chapel or the beach at the back of the ocean. The hostel is surrounded by fields of close-cropped grass and a couple of dozen of small and wiry black Hebridean sheep. To go anywhere you must pass through a sheep gate or three, and at night ones’ dreams might be accompanied by the percussion of sheep – bottom or horn on corrugated iron.

first glimpse Iona

At dusk I would walk or cycle to the abbey and St. Oran’s Chapel and then spend some time being quiet and drawing in the darkness. For water I used my saliva with watercolour sticks and then I developed drawings from these inchoate scribbling and writings.

seal pup foot

Here is an example of my writing made in the chapel:

I sit beside a sealskin come to wrap me

Bird Spine rock

Spine Flower Ribs

Rock Bones Rock

Stem Blood Blood

St. Oran’s Chapel

Making My Earth Skin Bone Foot

                                                 with my face in the flame 

Drawings with a teacher

here awake, every night shedding my skin

Glow

Chrysalis

Fishbone

Breasts come down to carpet

the waves, quieten seas, comfort earth me

 

Vessel which glides

As Ice and Blood

Stone Jug Put Throat Song

Fingers wash

bone bird bolos

step

skin

Lily blessure bud

blond sea breathe

lichen beach Iona 16     colours beach 16

 

I made a drawing of a horse turning to watch a birth, asking when the return to water will come… the blue tapping legs of lobsters stir my dreams, the horse turns on her side now, revealing her tender belly; she is pre-occupied with flowers gathering at her mushroom-coloured muzzle.

I gave a talk about my work in the Hostel to Islanders. I began with this text from the I Ching:

“The mare is strong, tireless and incomparably fast, and she is acutely sensitive to the subtlest cues. When you have a mare’s constancy, you will be steadily loyal to the truth, and always alert and responsive to guidance.”

Then I read aloud a piece I wrote two year ago, about the horse I knew so well:

“Thinking of Phaedra, of how the breath of the horse creates a kind of womb for me; holds me aloft, intact, supported, whole. A womb of air, a light-filled womb, perfumed, smelling of a horse’s grassy green breath.”  And about how Iona used to be known as the Island of the horses/horse people so it is right that I should feel at home there. And this time many of the drawings which emerged were of horse forms, maternal, loving, protective.

In another drawing the horse weeps dark tears.

………………

fish supper    lobster with tapping legs

A man brought a plastic tray of fish for the suppers of women. I watched as they gathered in a circle around the fish. Amazed at the beauty and strangeness of the lobsters (which I have only eaten once, my father bought one just before he died)…..

I wrote about the lobsters.

When blue legs tap

which world responds?

Your blue legs are thin, hard, cool.

Blue legs little tubes of night sky, deep sea darkness you rattle in my world

A visitor you, one afternoon amongst women’s voices, a man’s hands and pale sun.

Strapped here in a plastic tray,

With your barrel-red body and your knowing of  other worlds, I am sad for you.

 

 

     travelling across Mull… After teaching my workshop (please see previous post)I spent two weeks on Iona working in the hostel at Lagandorain (the hollow of the otter) doing domestic work and tending the gardens. I walked most days to the beach with a wheelbarrow to gather seaweed to dress the currant and berry beds…. Read more »

Dark Mountain Project

http://dark-mountain.net/blog/seven-circles-in-the-book-of-sharks/

Is the link to this…very excited to be part of Dark Mountain…

Seven Circles in the Book of Sharks | The Dark Mountain Project
A network of writers, artists and thinkers centred on the Dark Mountain journal. Join us in search of new stories for troubled times.
dark-mountain.net
Creature carrying humans monotype with oil bar and ink 2016
Creature carrying humans
Monotype with oil bar 2016

 

http://dark-mountain.net/blog/seven-circles-in-the-book-of-sharks/ Is the link to this…very excited to be part of Dark Mountain… Seven Circles in the Book of Sharks | The Dark Mountain Project A network of writers, artists and thinkers centred on the Dark Mountain journal. Join us in search of new stories for troubled times. dark-mountain.net Creature carrying humans Monotype with oil… Read more »

My work ‘The kiss of the Womb restores the souls of the lost’ on the cover of new book of poems…

Can’t wait to read the poems! Congratulations

 

Karl O’Hanlon

Cover for website

And Now They Range

by

Karl O’Hanlon

Karl O’Hanlon’s first pamphlet is an immensely attractive thing. He treads a fascinating line between a cool, modest – at times austere – phrasing and an engagement with the passionate physicality of English on the tongue and in the ear: ‘Mystique of keratin / becoming forest’s altarpiece / then blood-whoop of a jay: / shattered obsidian // scattered into black elms.’ It is this contradiction, this ability to marry a technical restraint with an exuberantly overflowing language,  together with his wide-ranging concerns for history, family, art, love and nature, which drive the poems throughout this lovely, and hugely promising, short collection.

Toby Martinez de las Rivas

Karl O’Hanlon grew up in Purdysburn, County Down. He studied at Georgetown, Washington D.C. and has taught in Orléans. Recently, Karl completed a PhD at the University of York. He has worked as an editor for Eborakon magazine and his poems have appeared in AgendaStand, and PN Review.

And Now They Range is Karl’s debut, and a very impressive one. It has been printed and section sewn at Palace Printers in Lostwithiel on Mohawk Superfine papers and features a cover and frontis by artist Kate Walters.

Can’t wait to read the poems! Congratulations   Guillemot Press Karl O’Hanlon And Now They Range by Karl O’Hanlon Karl O’Hanlon’s first pamphlet is an immensely attractive thing. He treads a fascinating line between a cool, modest – at times austere – phrasing and an engagement with the passionate physicality of English on the tongue… Read more »