Pace & Tone

Today we were given a part two to our changing faces project. It’s just a small one week project to help us focus on page formatting and working with expressive typography. We needed to pick an author, mine Alice Oswald, and then ‘pertain the essence of the poem using layout’ and type. I chose Oswald because I already knew of a beautiful poem by her called Flies, I’d found it while researching a previous project. ‘Oswald often works in book-length projects and is known for her interests in gardening, ecology, and music.’ The poem contains lots of rich metaphors which could be visualised beautifully. She mentions things such as decay and damaged thoughts with a very earthy feel. Oswald also talks about winter a lot which ties in to the aspects about decay.

Flies by Alice Oswald

This is the day the flies fall awake mid-sentence
and lie stunned on the windowsill shaking with speeches
only it isn’t speech it is trembling sections of puzzlement which
break off suddenly as if the questioner had been shot

this is one of those wordy days
when they drop from their winter quarters in the curtains and sizzle as they fall
feeling like old cigarette butts called back to life
blown from the surface of some charred world

and somehow their wings which are little more than flakes of dead skin
have carried them to this blackened disembodied question

what dirt shall we visit today?
what dirt shall we re-visit?

they lift their faces to the past and walk about a bit
trying out their broken thought-machines
coming back with their used-up words

there is such a horrible trapped buzzing wherever we fly
it’s going to be impossible to think clearly now until next winter
what should we
what dirt should we

I’m really excited about this project so far and I hope to do the poem justice. I next want to do some in-depth research into artists who use their typography to help tell the story. Ones I’m thinking of looking into are Sophie Calle and Sam Winston. They have a really interesting style and hopefully the research will lead me on to other similar artists.


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