Student Stories: Martha Benedict blogs about Poetics

by | Nov 30, 2022 | News & blogs, News & blogs: Arts School, Poetics of Imagination

This blog piece by MA Poetics of Imagination student Martha Benedict explores how the spaces in between the intensives can be just as enriching as the taught sessions themselves.

"One Song" at the Museum of the Home

 Image credit: Martha Benedict

Euston appeared, down the line, coming out from the bedding planes of a piece of soapstone… I’ve spent a lot of time on trains over the past few months I thought. Train strikes notwithstanding I like public transport – the conversations with, the people watching, the landscapes scudding past the window, the sense of adventure you get that somehow can’t be achieved in a car – trains seem like a space removed from the regular. In fact I’m writing this on a train – the mouth of the Menai Strait to my left – peaking over my shoulder trying to see what I’m saying – but it’s on the other side of the window, so no joy there. This is a familiar journey – up and down to London or on my way to Devon to Dartington every second month. And so it seems that so many of the stories so far on the Poetics of Imagination course are about journey’s – its easy to tell tales when travelling because the movement through landscape lends itself to concocting stories to pass the time. Journeys remind you of other journeys and one hill or skyline evokes another. Leaving and arriving are moments to be marked as occasions…

 …Yet it’s the bits in between that matter just as much: the lunchtimes, the provocations over pints in The White Hart and the surreal wandering conversations that seemingly make no sense – the random phrases that your mind creates out of the psycho-active intellectual material being chucked at us each day… Kairos fried chicken, the class implications of watercress and debates about everything from Jacob Collier to whether putting a pepper mill on top of a salt shaker is an artistic work representing race issues and the BLM movement… there’s meaning if you want there to be! My notebooks, journals and page margins form some sort of Dadaist archeological dig of my mind at this point…

 People ask us – so…. what is Poetics of Imagination? So far I’ve figured – its what you make of it – much like life, everyone brings their own bits and pieces for the feast and hopefully by the end of the evening you feel satiated, full of joie de vivre and amongst friends round the hearth – slightly tipsy, giddy but in doubt that this is where you’re meant to be and that if life could be like this more often the world would no doubt be a better place.

This might read as the fragmented meanderings of someone undergoing something quite like some sort of existential surgery… and it kind of is in a way, but this is what we signed up for – no one said we weren’t warned when we embarked on this journey through the Poetics of Imagination (whatever that is) – our guides and mentors aren’t quite sure, the ‘students’ even less so. But onwards we go!

– Martha Benedict is studying (or attempting to) Poetics of Imagination.