Shaping – the Why

carvings smallWhen I wrote the first few pieces, I had no idea at all that I would be shaping any of them. Then one poem – which I was rearranging on the page, just to see how the lines could be best presented – began to form a very clear shape. This was the poem called Carvings, which happens to be about the mind working on issues over time, quite unconsciously: forming, fashioning, sculpting, putting them away, hiding them from sight – and later rediscovering them. It seemed very appropriate that there was such a carved shape coming to light in the piece itself.

Having watched the first section fall into place, I wondered whether it would be possible to do this throughout the whole piece – and so began the climbing of Everest… I tried it on another piece, and another, and before long I just knew I wanted to find a way to shape them all. My task seemed to be to discover and reveal their natural form, rather than impose a shape on them, and in time it became easier to trust that the shapes were there all along. I was enjoying the process; it was exciting – a challenge, an adventure.

I discovered an unexpected richness and multi-layered symbolism in the shapes.  I realised that the meaning of the poetry comes through both in the shapes and in the words, and that there is an essential coherence between them. They are inseparable; they spring from the same place.  As I worked on each one, watching a new and unique form evolve in front of my eyes was very satisfying. This reminds me of the wonder of working with art in therapy sessions, where I am frequently amazed by the wisdom and richness of meaning that can be expressed through a visual medium.

Presents of Mind is available in paperback from the author or from this link: 

And is also available as an e-book on Amazon UK or Amazon US


  1. Reblogged this on Eclectic pleasures and commented:

    Richard Stephenson Clarke is one of my Dodnash Books clients, who writes the most beautiful poetry; then works to find a shape that reflects the essence of the poetry. It’s such an unusual art form, and such a pleasure to explore! I knew I wanted to help produce Richard’s work as soon as I set eyes on it, and it’s great to hold the book in your hands. Contact me – or Richard – if you’d like a copy.


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