Poems by Harry Man
Text on canvas of found materials
Dimensions 198mm x 130mm
(approximate, set by viewer)
Scattered, the words represent forms in their own right and are also significant in their cumulative effect. Between them is space; airy, invisible and blank. This is where the artist is drawing on the influence of 12th century Chinese Zen contemplation, encouraging the viewer to consider his or her own essential nature. According to Zen practices the exclusion of all other thoughts is the only method of achieving pure enlightenment. From the perspective of one word to the next, the viewer can see how none of the words in the text are positioned such that they overlap. This seems to be intentional and is consistent with the artist’s other works. This choice is inviting the viewer in. Through an implicit absence of anything to draw their focus, the viewer is encouraged to observe what object emerges, to consider their object and how it is positioned and moves, how it tastes, to listen for any emissions of sound, to sense its individual scent, the texture of it along the palm and the object’s heat or coolness. No other viewer of this text either now, in the past, or in the future is imagining the same object. This object is not the work of the artist, it is made from the viewer’s essential nature. In this way it is very beautiful and also fragile. The experience itself is not enlightenment because the viewer continues to read the text, but what the viewer is picturing is a trace of it, like when awakening – that first momentary, glowing imprint of light.
About the poet
Harry Man was born in Aylesbury. His first pamphlet, Lift, was published by Tall Lighthouse in 2013. In 2014 he won the UNESCO Bridges of Struga Award. His second pamphlet, Finders Keepers is published by Sidekick Books (2016). His poetry has been translated into Swedish, Chinese, German, Slovak and Macedonian. He is a 2016 Hawthornden Fellow. Harry Man’s poetry has appeared in New Welsh Review, Poems in the Waiting Room, Popshot Magazine, ditch, Elbow Room, And Other Poems, The Morning Star, Poems in Which and Astronaut, as well as in anthologies such as Coin Opera 2 and Rewiring History, among other places. You can find more of his work at: www.manmadebooks.co.uk