Friday, May 23, 2014

This is Can Serrat an artists' retreat in Barcelona, Spain. I will be heading there for a month-long residency from 1st June - 30th June.
What has impressed me most are the concerns and care that has arrived in my email inbox from Karine, the administrator of the Centre. Nothing is too much trouble. I have been given a step-by-step guide as to what to expect at Can Serrat, an itemised route to take by bus from my hotel in Barcelona to El Bruc (a limited Sunday timetable), and advice that awaiting me and other guests will be a light meal at night (Sunday evening) even though it is the Chef's day off. Wonderful! I didn't really receive this treatment from The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland and was very much left to my own devices. I guess, this might happen because we were from countries who both spoke English, but Can Serrat is at the top of my list in relation to service, attention to detail and help. All in all, a first-class residency.

My Project
I am currently writing a children's collection of poetry titled Miniscule.  This poetry focuses on the minute and magical world of insects, sea creatures, and small birds, etc. The aim is to depict their delightful habits, their association with us as humans, and relay their adventures or quirkiness in a lighthearted, poetic way.
I have a substantial amount of this collection completed, with about fifty poems written. The manuscript continues to develop daily, with editing and re-writes, and also the commencement of new poems. I am endeavouring to complete between 70-75 poems.

The Project’s Focus
As this manuscript has been inspired by the French TV series, “Minuscule”, my main focus is to reach school children who more than likely are aware of this animated series, the mischievous ladybug, the inept little spider, and the melancholy mosquito. However, as this poetry is a creative work in words it is in no way a direct copy, but reflects my experiences of this miniature world that occurs in my own backyard/ home / locality/ imagination. The work has the potential to reach school students from Upper Primary to Early High School. My belief is that poetry should be fun, accessible and insightful of modern forms and the current standards of free verse, including prose poetry; poetry that steers away from the strictures of rhyme. I also believe that young people are the future readers of poetry.

Work planned for the Residency Period  

During a residency period, I am aiming to work on the next 30 poems of the manuscript, to brush up on those poems that need more work, and I would dearly love to depict that micro-world that exists in the Province of Barcelona. I have already researched such creatures as Monk parakeets, the Red squirrel, Serins and Carpenter bees. I also believe the Nightingale sings in this region.

Although not submitted in my application, photography also forms part of my writing brief. I am also hoping to capture some flora/ fauna of the Montserrat Natural Park, the town of El Bruc and within the grounds of Can Serrat. There are olive groves, Mimosa and Almond trees. Many previous residents have taken photographs of the Centre's spring / early summer flowers.

A Three-way Creative Process
I liken my development of the poetry collection Miniscule as a three-way creative process. Primarily, the idea is take my own photographs (1), write the poem (2) and then upload to my blog Evangelyne (3). The latter, you might say is not hard, no! not hard at all, however, there are many "bugs" in the 'compose' area of blogger. On many occasions I have to revert to my knowledge of html; gained at university, and of course this skill assists me in the best possible placement of image and text. The following pics show part of this process.


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