RE: Claire Smith
As a writer I work with speculative poetry. My subject matter is other worlds: myth, fairy tale, folklore, the supernatural, and history. My past work includes a siren inviting sailors for dinner, a fossilised forest, techno-witches, and an extension of the Red Riding-Hood fairytale from the wolf’s point of view.
Sometimes I draw on motifs, from my acute episodes of illness, and transform them into poems and prose. I take disturbing experiences and re-interpret them through the speculative genre.
I write as a both a woman and as someone managing the attitudes of others towards my mental health. My main intention is to make my readers think about, and to challenge, their perspectives on normality: social conventions, stereotyping, and taboo around mental health.
To start conversations challenging everyday perceptions of the world: how much of our constructed reality do we share, and how much is our own mythologizing?
My Place: A Female Figure in History
For this exhibition I have focused on women’s lived experiences, in the past, in a five poem cycle.
‘Today’s Pampering, Yesterday’s Adornments’ is a reaction to the landing displays, ‘Facing the World & Smelling Nice’ and ‘Good Hair Days’. The second poem, ‘Bride and Groom’ is a reading of the 1944 Parachute Silk Wedding Dress in the room, ‘Making Sense of Our Lives.’
‘Chores I, II, and III’ is a Triptych based on objects from ‘Room 1: Running a Home.’ The fourth poem, ‘Career Girl’, is my interpretation of The Remington Noiseless Typewriter found in ‘The Collector’s Room.’ The last poem, ‘The (Great) Aunties,’ is a semi-autobiographical prose poem influenced by Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie – the chapter called ‘The Uncles.’
The poem cycle is visual, and framed behind glass, as are museum artefacts. I am exploring the nature of museums themselves as cultural spaces. I want my audience to engage with wider debates regarding culture and gender through reading my work.
My thanks to Oliver Smith, for his help with formatting my poems; and Stephen Williams for loaning the typewriter.