Participate in the Bluecoat Poet’s project

Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones

A new *participatory* project from Nathan Jones, the Bluecoat’s poet in residence.
Please participate.

The Things We Say and The Things You Say to Me (Morning and Night)

Inspired by a few concepts at the Janeck Schaefer (cool website!) exhibition, including the feelings of new life and regeneration implicit in his work Extended Play, and the montage feel of National Portrait, newly commissioned by the Bluecoat, I am going to create a poem using reported speech.

What I need from you..

Reported speech is interesting, because it’s only really the ‘good bits’ that people tend to distill out of their lives to tell others, and also because under certain circumstances it’s kind of implicit that you don’t share with other people conversations you have in private. Also, because, true or not, it is a reflection of the real lives we lead.

In order to gather raw material for this poem, I am asking people to write in with a couple of snippets of conversation. One from first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.


Tucking your child in for sweet dreams, telling your husband to turn the alarm clock on, a couple of words over the fence when you’re bringing in the cat.

Serving your ungrateful girlfriend breakfast in the morning, cuddling up to your wife one last time before starting the day, telling the milkman he’s been paid…

These fragments do not have to be related to each other, just be an honest reflection of the conversations you have had on any consecutive morning and night.

The emphasis really is on capturing the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the way we speak to our loved ones, and the tenderness of the most intimate moments during the day. When all the world is all dozey-doe.

We will be setting up a place on the Daily Post site, but for now please contribute via email to me:

What I am going to do with it…

I will process this reported speech, using techniques associated with ‘cut-up’ and ‘Flarf’ poetry, creating a new poem of found fragments reflecting an amalgamation of public declaration and intimate statement, homeliness and the mob mentality.

I am running this project in partnership with The Daily Post. The fragments of reported speech will go up on their blog in raw form. Every week I will post on my blog, the newly processed poem in progress.

This will happen until 15th January 2010, when I will publish and record the poem, just in time for the close of the Janek Shaefer exhibition!

Here’s one made earlier

May Rain Keep Us

The rain will keep us.  And if we are lucky, dark
will be all they remove in the early Spring.
I dunno.  Will they also take these dark red pants?
Spoon the skies off?
And what of the happy returns we were promised?
Behind the terraced houses, we are worried, excited
and find it hard to wish.  Do we have to feel pretty before
we lie back down on our cold beds?  No
Night.  Night
makes people like you.  You know it do.  Yup
makes people like you sweaty.
Makes people x x you.  As rough as you are
nights moves moves…
Decrease us, rain keep us,
and keep us apart all through.
 leave for tomorrow on opposite sides of the last train
for morning: shoe, shoe.
How will we feel about the crossword?  Rain
keep us, rain count
the kid, Moley, early Dover, the motorcyclist, John,
and Bob his loyal dog, stranded like sheep bowing
in a porridge beyond our rooms.  How can we feel?
Rain keep us: rainbow, bow, bo, borainu,
maren, caressed, may rain keep, us.