by Fergus Chadwick, Viveca Koh
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About the Book
The manuscript of Star Blossom was handwritten, neatly sometimes, near illegible sometimes, sometimes with a black gel pen, but mostly in biro because the ink doesn't dry when I'm staring for ages out the window, not able to drive a poem on. This would happen. Especially at the beginning. The idea - space as a metaphor for distance, no connection, pain and loss - had a slow birth. And although there was a first draft after three months, the poems weren't finally ready until after six years.
This was a continuous book, not a collection of miscellaneous pieces. The route from one end (the beginning, when there is nothing, just despair) to the other end, when there start to be new minds the poems will reach) was certainly a most expensive journey. So it's kind of nice the manuscript is in a plain quite shabby notebook, spiral bound with unlined not smooth pages, and plain odd wooden covers. Someone gave it to me. And I thought I would never use it. Only, when I look round for something to write on, it's important for me to find unimportant paper so as not to scare the poem off.
At the time I'm not even sure it's going to be ‘a poem’. Nor do I want to know - if you're too aware 'this is a poem' then it won't be probably. The great thing about handwriting is that it's noiseless. It empowers focus. There are no distractions, nothing extraneous, just freedom of mind - almost as if you're not writing it, it's writing itself. For that you need focus. Without intense concentration the feeling the poem is trying to express will work itself out of the net and escape. In this note I haven't said much about this book. Notes cannot encapsulate a book. They only point towards it.
Viveca Koh FRPS is an entirely self-taught photographer, with a strong eye for overlooked details, and a special fascination with photographing abandoned buildings. In 2010 she was awarded a Licentiateship Distinction by the Royal Photographic Society, for a panel of ten photographs taken in an asylum. These images feature in the book Lost Asylum Sonnets, a poetic collaboration with Catherine Lupton. In 2011 she was proud to attain Associateship of the RPS with a panel of fifteen photographs, featured in the book 'Left Behind'. Finally in 2014 she was awarded a Fellowship with the RPS, for images taken from the book 'Star Blossom'. She currently lives in London.