Lot 76 by Michael Waight and Jim Carruth

This collaboration by Michael Waight and Jim Carruth resulted in a ‘mapbook’, an artists’ book folding out like a map, in which both sides are printed. The biographies of the participants are printed on the back, and on the front, there are sixteen poems with variations. Jim wrote this about the work’s conception:

"This work is an exploration of individual perspective and voice and the process of creativity. The starting point was a 14-line poem written by myself capturing a moment in time at a local cattle market. This poem was set up so that its lines could be read in any order. This poem was handed to 7 poets and 7 farmers who were asked to create their own version of the poem by re-ordering the 14 original lines and adding a line of their own. Their 14 lines offered up by the contributors were brought together to create a new poem entitled Lot 77.

As part of the process poets were asked to comment on their experience of farming and farmers were asked to comment on their experience of poetry and these comments are also part of the piece. All those taking part have done so to highlight the current dire situation being faced by Scotland’s dairy farmers."

Jim Carruth is a poet who has experimented with diverse poetic traditions, including concrete poetry, visual poetry of various sorts, and poems with linocut illustrations. In Lot 76 he draws on the combinatorial poetics associated with Edwin Morgan and the French OULIPO group, but with an emphasis on conversation between different experiences. Points of view, variations in voice, and the combination of defined form with individual creative variation, echo like ringing bells ringing out the changes, or perhaps more appropriately, like the repeated phrases in farmer’s auction market, selling Lot 76. The folding ‘map’ charts the territory, sections each as individual parts, but contains the whole together as the terrain. The new poem, Lot 77, has the effect of consolidating the new words by both poets and farmers, but also suggests how the next generation of words and of animals, may arise in a process of incremental change.

Jim Carruth's first collection Bovine Pastoral was published in 2004. Since then he has brought out a further two collections and an illustrated fable. In 2009 he was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship and was the winner of the James McCash poetry competition. More recently The Glasgow Jazz Festival commissioned a sequence entitled “Grace Notes 1959” which was launched in June 2010.

Michael Waight currently works as a collaborative master printmaker in Aberdeen at Peacock Visual Arts. His own art includes prints, wood constructions and artist books. Recently, he gave a presentation on his work in the Orkney Islands. Michael has been a visiting lecturer at numerous educational facilities, teaching printmaking and bookbinding. He has exhibited in the U.S.A., Netherlands, South Africa, Italy, and the UK.