The Poetry Society organised a mass knitting of a poem this year, with people all over the UK (and possibly beyond) knitting letters and blank squares to be sewn together into a poem, which was revealed (after much sewing together) at the British Library earlier this month. I am pleased to say that one square of it was mine. It’s an interesting idea in so many ways – about bringing together art (poetry) and craft (knitting); about breaking up a poem into lots of tiny elements – letters, punctuation, even spaces – with none of the knitters knowing what the end result would be. I liked that on the back of each poem, we could add a tag saying which poem you were thinking about whilst knitting (mine was Rossetti’s “Monna Innominata”). Anyway, there are now pictures of the end result here, – do have a look, it’s amazing, and huge! There’s also a great “knitted poem” game on the Poetry Society’s site here. The poem, appropriately, was Dylan Thomas’s lovely “In my Craft or Sullen Art”:
In my craft or sullen art Exercised in the still night When only the moon rages And the lovers lie abed With all their griefs in their arms, I labour by singing light Not for ambition or bread Or the strut and trade of charms On the ivory stages But for the common wages Of their most secret heart. Not for the proud man apart From the raging moon I write On these spindrift pages Nor for the towering dead With their nightingales and psalms But for the lovers, their arms Round the griefs of the ages, Who pay no praise or wages Nor heed my craft or art.