Following a poetry event held by Outside In at Pallant House Gallery on Saturday 27 June, we asked artist and poet Anthony Stevens to write about it. The afternoon consisted of readings from two well established poets from the arts and disability sector as well as eight open mic poetry slots.
“It appears to me that something special and out of the ordinary occurs when a group of people come together to share something. An alchemy of sorts takes place that can transform those present. I have recently been involved in two such occasions, both facilitated by Outside In – ‘Share Art’ and the poetry event. The poetry event saw eight poets at differing stages of their careers and two poets who are wider known in the disability arts field come to Pallant House Gallery from far and wide, to share something of themselves with those who wished to witness. As someone who in the process of these events both shared and witnessed, I perceived in myself and others a great joy and blossoming that I feel came to fruition through the generous and courageous acts of expression and self revelation. The risk of making oneself seen at a perhaps more intimate and deeper level than would be encountered on a day to day level. In daily life it is often so difficult to share in this way due to a myriad of personal and social factors with which I’m sure we all have had our share of experiences with. This is why to my mind, events such as the ones mentioned are so important. It gives the opportunity to stop and become aware of the rather magnificent complexity of a single human life. To be open to – and perhaps even appreciate – the differing, unique points of view and perceptions that paradoxically make up the shared and utterly vast experience of being on this planet together. Somehow the ordinary can become the deeply extraordinary, even if only for a short time as we perceive in ourselves and others hidden realms of depth and wonder. We go on a journey together, an adventure, where the destination is unknown! And all this costs us is a little of our time and the willingness to risk being open to someone and something new. Yes, I would say there is definitely something transformative, perhaps even magical, in the golden opportunity to share the treasure that is our words and images.”