Poem: Homage to Walker’s Workers
Debbie Bryan studio & Shop was thrilled to host a poetry reading by local poet Deborah Tyler-Bennett, whom was also a writer-in-residence for the Nottingham Festival of words. If you were unable to attend this evening, you can find a video here
Here is what Deborah had to say about her experience of the festival;
“I really enjoyed being Writer in Residence at Nottingham’s first Festival of Words.
Over the festival weekend I got to read at Debbie Bryan’s wonderful shop, conduct workshops and drop-in sessions for writers at the Newton Building, and work on poems I’d been writing based-on images and ideas from Nottingham Trent’s Lace Archive, run by the incredibly encouraging Amanda Briggs-Goode and team.
I’d already written two poems for the festival, one ‘Love and Lace’ and a short poem ‘Nottingham Shuttle’ for the festival postcard. To both I’d added words and phrases gleaned from the archive, and these also appear in poems below. The ‘beleaguered city’ in the last poem, was inspired by a ghost story by the nineteenth-century Scottish writer, Margaret Oliphant.”
You’ll be able to read more about Deborah’s experience of the Nottingham Festival of Words in a later blog post, but for now we’re proud to present Deborah’s poem “Homage to Walker’s Workers”.
It passed through calloused hands, delicacy free-
falling. Embroidered wool, mosaic in imitation lily,
wide-mouthed peony, moss, beaded-vermicelli’s
Sometimes, its handling a kind of love,
knowing shining-girls never saw the graphite,
pre-bleached state an intimacy between lace
Next seen on magazine or mannequin,
all graft rinsed-out, this just the way of it …
Come that photograph, workers’ stolid forms
knee-to-dimpled-knee, scrubbed, smiling,
women with pinned-back bobs,
male sea of moustaches, brilliantine.
Most ladies featuring Mum’s Auntie Doris,
nod to fashion in court-heeled shoes,
but all in flowered pinnies,
un art-moderne as brick walls …
and not a bit of lace in sight.
We were even lucky enough to hear about what inspired Deborah to write such a beautiful poem;
“The Walker’s Workers poem came from an image in a photograph of 1932, and the contrast between the pinnies and plain-dress of the workers, and those gowns constructed from their lace and modelled by elegant women really struck-home.”
We hope that you thoroughly enjoyed your experience of the Nottingham Festival of words, and Deborah’s stunning reading at Debbie Bryan Studio & Shop.
Our next blog post will feature Deborah’s poem “Clocking-in”