Recently I put together a small zine for Jo Colley's poetry event in Darlington. The Poems after Frida aesthetic was inspired by the chalky primary colours of Mexican favelas, piles of marigold petals, garish iced skulls, the long stitches of bright Otomi hares and the glint of punched metal milagros.
For each poem I created a new collage in response. The purpose was to decoratively frame the poem but also to find an accord between visual images and the figurative images within the poem. For instance, Pascale Petit's poem 'What the Water Gave Me' features Frida Kahlo running her hand in a Mexican river. Jo Colley's 'Broken Column' is framed with a fractured spine. Lisa Matthews' 'Fawn' depicts Frida with her pet deer Granizo. Ellen Phethean's beautiful poem 'Julia Darling is Mexico' combines photographs of Newcastle's Quayside at sunset into multicoloured favelas. My own poem included an emerging Olmec head. These enlarged stone body parts are scattered across the globe buried under earth. Their unearthing and discovery are of recurring fascination to me.
Reading these poems over and over again while decorating them, I feel privileged to have engaged with the work intimately before I'll hear them read aloud by their authors on Frida Kahlo's birthday on July 6th. Hearing poetry being read is such a crucial part of experiencing it, rhythms translate new meanings and our ears are happier for it.