A Poet’s Book 2

White Dead Nettle, pen and ink

Since moving to Edinburgh, I’ve rediscovered white dead nettle – a flowering, stingless version of ordinary nettle. I remember it from my childhood, though it feels like many years since I’ve seen it. There’s also purple dead nettle, though I’ve not seen that here.

I found pen and ink very difficult. I didn’t have a ‘proper’ pen – my teacher encouraged me to use a broken stick. The results were much more unpredictable and uncontrollable. Sometimes better for that, sometimes worse. I built up the paper so that the drawing has texture – it’s made of layers of tissue paper and white paint. I also scored the paper to add more texture and to mimic the lines of writing paper. I nearly broke my poor printer printing the poem in the corner!


A Poet’s Book

Dandelion, in charcoal

My latest project has been to make a hand-made collection of a short sequence of poems, illustrated with black and white drawings. I took ‘flowers’ as my subject and chose four particular plants to draw and write about. The picture above is a charcoal rubout of a dandelion, with a poem called ‘Dandelion Wine’ which I printed onto the picture afterwards.