All four seasons of the original Host project
have been bound into a very large book
measuring 70 x 90 cm
The book is housed in a strapped box
that replicates the book. Together
book and box weigh approx 30kg
The book, in four sections, contains
five illustration sheets of a particular season
alternating with printed sheets of single poems
20 original illustrations
16 original texts
Illustrations : marks made by a season
on watercolour paper left exposed to the weather
Texts : poems from Psalms in the Vulgar Tongue
(Wounded Wolf Press, Ankara, 2018)
Printing : The Document Centre
Book Construction : made entirely by hand in London
by Walter Newbury Ltd
The item will be exhibited in London and at Eton
College Library (where it will permanently reside)
An arrangement exists with College Library
allowing anyone interested in viewing the book
to able to do so. contact this website for more information.
The price on this page refers to a limited facsimile edition
not yet realised. disregard 'buy now' link.
acknowledgements : Glen Standage, Allan Gordon
photography by Matthew Clifton
Fallen © copyright Jeremy Clarke 2018
All Rights Reserved
Interview | Eton College Collections Journal | Summer 2019
interviewer: Stephie Coane, curator of Modern Collections, Eton College Library
In November 2018 an unusual gift was made to College Library by Jeremy Clarke, a former poet in residence at Eton. His most recent book, Psalms in the Vulgar Tongue, was published in 2018.
S: As a former poet in residence, your connection with Eton goes back further than mine. How did it first come about, and what has sustained it?
J: I was officially poet in residence in 2010. Since that time, I've continued coming to Eton as a 'visiting poet' - mainly giving workshops to the boys, and occasionally judging writing prizes. I enjoy working with the boys on their poetry writing. I think it's a valuable practice - exploring how you see.
S: In fact I have noticed that after hearing you read your poetry, I’ve experienced a sort of heightened visual awareness for a couple of days! Would you say this is a theme of your work overall?
J: I'm interested in conveying simple 'truth' (of simple things). These 'truths', as it were, I see as allegories of or references to larger truths or realities. Which sounds rather grand... I'm entirely against being grand (hence why i write about gutter drains and broken streetlights...). Every thing is worthy of our attention, can teach us something. Generally, we don't look low enough.
S: I’ve been told we don’t look up enough, either… During your last visit to Eton in November to give a workshop to boys, you presented to College Library the outcome of a project you’ve been working on for a couple of years, which one could say looks both high and low.
J: Yes, the Fallen book. For this, I wanted to find a way to have the city 'answer' my poems (from, Psalms in the Vulgar Tongue). To have the weather, the city air, give its side of the story - of struggle, survival, redemption, renewal... The realities that are present in my psalms.
I laid out large, blank, watercolour sheets of paper on a central London rooftop, and let the city 'say' on them whatever it wanted. I allowed each set of sheets (5) to remain on the roof for an entire season. I did this for a year - laying down fresh sheets at the start of each season, to achieve the 20 illustrations of Fallen. I think they're beautiful. From the air and seasons, that we think of as 'nothing', came something. Their silent voices are perfect partners to the (equally unheard) voices in the poems - a weed in a wall, a raindrop hung under a windowsill, a blade of grass in concrete..
S: It’s a beautiful and unexpectedly moving book. The simplicity of the printed texts on smooth clean paper faces the textured and cockled ‘weather sheets’ with the patterns laid down by water and city dust, veiled by the tissue paper guards. What gave you the idea, and what were the challenges in realising it?
J: My initial challenge was accessing the roof of my building - climbing a tiny drop-down ladder and then crawling through a narrow skylight hatch to the roof. And doing so while dragging either a bucket of bricks or an armload of found lumber, in order to construct a makeshift frame for securing the sheets. I made multiple trips in this mad manner.
I actually had to redo one entire season's sheets because they'd been ripped up by seagulls (I assume). I then bought some chicken wire and rolled a section loosely over the frame, and tied little strips of plastic bags to the wire, to flap around. Like I was protecting some kind of food crop. Crazy. People who would have witnessed all this from adjacent buildings, must have wondered, what on earth... I thought it looked a bit like a meteorological experiment...
Other challenges - undoing the frame to get the end of season sheets up and getting them down through the hatch undamaged; going up to the roof in bad weather, to see if the sheets were still there or ruined by a heavy rain or a tearing wind.
I had eight sheets on the roof at all times. I put down/took up just the five for each season. I hoped it might be possible to capture a full year, all four seasons, on a long-suffering three. The three survived. They are not part of the book, and have been framed separately. I thought they deserved their own display...
S: You’ve also mentioned that another challenge was finding a bookbinder able to create a binding for the finished work, which weighs in at some 30 kg and is now one of the largest volumes in College Library!
J: Virtually no one would print the poems on the sheets i had. And only one binder was open to making the book. My original plan was for a concertina design - so that the whole book could be laid out, or stood on end (allowing the reader/viewer to walk through the seasons). Sadly, this proved unworkable. Plus, it would have been many times the weight it is now. So, completely unliftable. It's not exactly carrier-friendly now. Such a weight, but when you open it... it is all air and light.
'Fallen' joins other books and holograph manuscripts by Jeremy Clarke in College Library.
Last Dream Before Sleep
Bread of Broken Ground
Psalms in the Vulgar Tongue
Spatiamentum - book launch edition
Incidents of Travel
Devon Hymns CD
Incidents of Travel CD
Tender for the Garden CD
Common Prayer - limited edition
Framed Psalm Cards
Printed Works I
Printed Works II
Psalms in the Vulgar Tongue - limited edition
Framed Work - Blue
Stone Hours [forthcoming]
jeremy clarke London, UK
Exhib. of Stations Notre Dame de France Church London
Psalms in the Vulgar Tongue publ. by Wounded Wolf Press Ankara
Music for Amen poem - The Long White Thread of Words: Poems for John Berger
Nov 2014-June 2015 Exhib. of written & recorded work
1-14 Sept 2014 Exhib. of framed works Crypt Gallery London
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