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An art collaboration

You don’t have to know an artist to collaborate with them. They don’t even need to be alive.

Take your notebook to an art gallery, preferably at a quiet time of day. Wander until a painting/sculpture/installation/photo etc catches your eye. You might like to fetch a gallery fold-up stool – many galleries have these, and they’re free. (If you don’t live near to/or can’t easily get to a gallery, flick through the images on the Tate’s website, that should do the trick.)

An important twist here is to not read who the artwork is by, or read any other blurb about the artist or the artwork, you want to be unfettered in your response.

Write for ten minutes. This is a freewrite, ie write anything that comes into your head. Write quickly and furiously. Don’t stop. Don’t censor yourself. Write as crazily as you can. Nothing is too mad. Don’t try to describe the painting, just write on anything that comes into your mind for ten minutes and don’t stop. If you can’t think of anything to write, write ‘I can’t think of anything to write’, over and over – something will come.

After ten minutes, take yourself to a café or a park bench. Get out your ten minutes of thoughts. Underline anything that excites or surprises you. Take one of these exciting phrases or images as the starting point for your poem.

It’s fine for your resulting poem to have nothing to do with the artwork.

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