Tuesday 14 July 2015

Launching art brut by David O'Hanlon

V. Press is delighted to announce the launch of art brut by David O'Hanlon. The official blurb for this wonderful pamphlet can be found below. As an editor reading through manuscript poems submitted during last year's open submissions window, this pamphlet stood out from the start. Why? Well, there's the gripping and moving characters and background narrative. Also the way O'Hanlon plays with syntax, pushing sentences to do as much as they can go without snapping...But that's just a fraction of my thoughts. Here's what the cover has to say:

Set against a background of literary and artistic allusions, art brut is a precise and moving sequence on childhood and teenage institutionalisation. Tackling the nature of trying to reshape memories and carve out something positive, this pamphlet is a concentrated crafting of raw experiences into a poetry that is alive with characters and thought-provoking truths. Stripping back the sometimes over-romanticised notions of institution life, David O’Hanlon creates his own sharp and haunting art that is very real and very gripping.

"The poems in David O’Hanlon’s first collection are ‘epiphanies of sun’ which shine a light on the poet’s experiences of psychiatric illness; to read them is to experience serial insights into a much overlooked and frequently taboo aspect of the human condition. Through poetry which is both lucid and engaging, O’Hanlon manages to transform his intensely personal experiences into something more universal: poems which can resonate with everyone (and not just those who have regular appointments with a psychiatrist). Bright lights cast dark shadows, and there are references to padded cells, catatonic states, self-harm, suicide attempts, OCD, et al, yet the deftness with which they are revealed, and the resilience, honesty and humour of this highly promising young poet’s writing, will leave you feeling uplifted. David O’Hanlon shows us that while the past can have a powerful hold over us, beauty, truth and poetry can emerge from the depths of anguish and despair. An astonishing debut." Fergus McGonigal

 "If David O'Hanlon had written this sentence, you'd have shed a tear by now." Jenni Pascoe, JibbaJabba

A sample poem from the pamphlet may be read below.

art brut

So, after my swirling black abyss, a work
still in progress, we turned to Sophies landscape:
a jazz-hands sun, the wide Vs, almost Ms
of birds, a green ribbon, edge to edge,

and, poking their heads up out from the grass
five earthworms, five pink splodges
more finger than worm, with blobbed eyes
and theres-no-bad-in-life smiles.

Are they supposed to represent real people
or a specific event, maybe?
Its a fascinating choice of subject matter.
Worms usually have quite negative associations,

particularly death, but yours are content,
blissful. Do you think maybe theres
something in that, a desire to make
positives from even the worst situations?

She didnt take it with her.
Like others left behind, it ended up
on the wall where, my sentimentality
assures me, it remains, unfaded.

art brut with P & P
Meanwhile, behind the scenes at V. Press, a lot of other plans are in motion for new titles, launches, readings, and, hopefully, re-opening our open submissions window in August. As they say, watch this space, because it won't stay unfilled for long!

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