I wasinvited by artist Sarah Browne to write a poem for Eileen Gray (1878-1976), the noted Irish architect/artist/designer. Browne has conducted an ongoing investigation into Gray’s life, work and legacy, and the poem was to become part of that inquiry. (Perhaps I should change my surname to Blue for the duration of this project?)
Eventually, I wrote a poem called ‘something permanent’ in a visual format that vaguely echoes one of my favourite of Gray’s designs, The Centimeter Rug. The poem is a diptych: three triolets on each side with alternating long lines, mimicking the short and long marks on a ruler. I used the triolet, a French metrical form, since Gray lived for most of her long life in France. The poem’s title is a snippet from a letter Gray wrote on July 22, 1975 to Mr. John Teahan of the National Museum of Ireland: …I should have liked so much to have something permanent in Ireland but I suppose it is too late now. The fragility of that conditional tense is striking when one considers the monumentality of Gray’s impact as we now understand it.
In Sarah Browne’s project, she has teamed up with South East Amateur Radio Group in Dublin, who will be transmitting the poem via Morse Code from a temporary shortwave radio station, EI2EEN, based at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), October 12, 2013 through April 31, 2014. Also in Graz, Austria in a slightly different iteration. Details below.
Sarah Browne, Remembering Gray (2013)
In collaboration with Alice Lyons and South East Amateur Radio Group
September 22 – The Peacock, Grazer Kunstverein, Austria
October 12 – April 31, One Foot in the Real World, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin