'The Mountain's Voice' is published in 'Watermarks - New Writing by Lido Lovers and Wild Swimmers' .  New poems and images out now in Unpsychology magazine #4

and in Dark Mountain issue #13 spring 2018.



Read recently published poems

By Jenny Arran, Nov 30 2017 11:02PM

I had to explain to a friend recently about how I started using an axe in my work.

I was making sculptural paintings in the summer of last year, on blocks of rough Oak - responding to the marks in the wood - listening to the wood itself.

I wanted to find a way to work on more than the surface - to go deeper and make my own marks, to 'draw' on and in the wood.

When you trace things back it's easier to see the links, several things happened;

A friend sent a rousing message to her female friends, in the light of the then political situation talking about 'a call to arms' and a sense of urgency and energy.

My own life was on the edge of a transition. I went to Scotland and found myself wandering in that pleasing, aimless, lost and found way

in an unknown city, without a phone, happily unmoored.

In the museum I found a whale bone, huge, beautiful, silent, from the Banda Sea.

On a small part of it were some marks, small, but compelling and beautiful. Cut marks, seemingly random but they told a story - an immense old story within just a few marks encompassing seas and time and the great gentleness of Whales and the great violence of humanity. I was transported in that moment in front of that Whale bone. The contrast of the knowledge of the violence inherent in their being there, set against the beauty of how they were, if seen as a drawing, black on white, answered my question about how to mark the wood and somethign of the story I might tell.

A call to arms and a question of balance - holding a paradox - the tension of opposites.

Beauty and violence, black on white, strength and vulnerabilty, masculine and feminine.

I'm a sculptor by training, a lover of trees and wood and fires - I'm familiar with using an axe - so it felt good to bring it into my art practice.

By Jenny Arran, Nov 14 2017 12:48AM

I've been thinking about the spaces between drum beats - the silence as much as the sound.

How to make work about or in that space.

My early work was all trees - light and dark - the spaces between things and

those spaces as meaning.

Language and the gap between what is said and what is meant -

reading between the lines. Silence being relational.

John Cage’s ideas about art as a form of constructive anarchy,

and silence as a counterpoint to mutual reactivity —

something that helps us enlarge rather than contract each other’s goodness...

— the application of silence as a creative force

and how powerful that is.

Silence creates space.

I went to see Rebecca Solnit - talking about breaking silence

and have been thinking about the balance between the two.

of male and female respect, of holding boundaries,

speaking our truth. Not hiding, trusting the other. Hope in the Dark.

By Jenny Arran, Oct 28 2017 11:23PM

I had to write something about my work for an exhibition, my 'statement' gets updated everytime I think about it. It is always changing and always the same. It is always landscape that I come back to, inner/outer, a sensory, emotional topography, landscape as language, one that happens almost unconsciously, so deeply embedded does that territory feel.

"And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them...'

By Jenny Arran, Oct 4 2017 11:09AM

Picture: Victor Pasmore, Point of Contact - Towner Collection

For most of this year I have been working at the Towner Gallery, delivering workshops in relation to their exhibitions - it's a priviledge to be the one to 'translate' an exhibition and create a series of workshops in response to that. Working with groups is such an exciting process. As Artist in Residence part of the project has also been to look at how it might be possible to emotionally 'map' an art collection. To consider how to facilitate a more emotional response to art and how to select works from a collection that might best fulfill that role.

Duchamp said; "All in all the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in to contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act...."

...In that sense the viewer can be encouraged to be a more active participant, to be more playful, adventurous and daring with their interactions. Not to see the work as finished and them as passive and possibly inadequate viewer but to explore their own part and responses in relation to this sense of being a partner in ‘meaning making’ and to value their role more highly.

It offers a visual and experiential way to see ourselves and our view of the world, a guide and a mirror to our emotions and feelings, a dialogue of one emotional state to another. And it is this sense of connection, this being an equal partner in the meaning making, that is so engaging. A shift in the role of artist as active and viewer as passive. A call to the creativity and daring of the viewer. A challenge to be more and/or differently engaged and to demand more of the relationship.

By Jenny Arran, Aug 14 2017 09:23PM

Internet meandering through the wonders of The Dark Mountain Project, Martin Shaw's writing, and re-thumbing Clarissa Pinkola Estes' Women who Run with Wolves', thinking about fairytales and myth the darkness and warnings in the tales. Power and awakening. Psyche, stories, language, landscape. Rich, interesting territory.

Had the priviledge of staying in the house of Clive Hicks-Jenkins and have been really inspired by his interweaving of landscape, object, figure throughout his work.

Found myself inspired and reminded of 'The Owl Service' by Alan Garner which I read and loved as an 10 year old, just moved to Wales, an adaption of the Welsh Myth Blodeuwedd. The Owl pattern on the plates comes to life and I can remember my sense of fascination and fear at the story and the oddness of it all, the pull of something unknown and deeply familiar.

I loved the connection with Wales too, going back there is always such a strong sense of feeling 'home' and always so hard to leave.

By Jenny Arran, May 28 2017 10:32PM

Someone asked me today about my work, my poem.

I explained about always having written - it was always words that I found and went to first, was transported by, loved, loved, loved. The sound of them in your head, the feel of them in your mouth. The pleasure of a book in your hands, the smell of the pages. The intimacy of scale, the intensity of the relationship. The look of black letters on a white page. The possibility.

But I didn't take up my place to study Literature. I did Sculpture instead. I wanted the physicality, the sensory experience, the cutting, shaping, fitting, deciding, balancing. I didn't know then that I chose Sculpture for all the reasons I loved poetry. I loved pitching myself against material. I loved the physical intensity of it. I found Bachelard in the second year of my degree and lost myself in 'The Poetics of Space'. I read and wrote more than I made sculpture. I turned inwards, remembered smallness, work became lighter. Drawings and installations were black and white like words, I projected videos travelling, super close up across scrunched up pages of my text, like travelling across mountain ranges. Mountains, landscape, words, a sensory, physcial experience of them. Trying to join them. Trying to use words without revealing what it was I was trying to say. My words were too secret, it never quite worked.

It is a work in progress but works better for me when I can treat words like rocks, wood and clay.

There are times, when language can still feel like a limitation - naming fixes things. Sometimes I don't know how to understand it or say it, I don't want to unpick it in a rational way. I don't want to think in that way. I love painting then, for the absence of language and the direct expression of something unnameable.

My drawing bridges this gap fo rme between words and painting - black and white marks on paper, they are language - but a different one.

By Jenny Arran, May 28 2017 10:12PM

I'm really proud to be part of this anthology -

Watermarks. New Writing by Lido Lovers and Wild Swimmers.

The Mountain’s Voice

Slate smooth.

Amber through darkness.

Tannins of peat and sheep

cropped turf.

Water of rock



to stillness.

In this dark pool

under the sky

rock body

holds time

in liquid form.

The mountains’ voice.

Its quiet insistence

ripples my listening thoughts

Wrapping its cold question

So neatly around my offering

of warmth

I would dissolve

For its answer.

I swim.

In a dim liminal memory

of time kept silence.

And the quiet grass

and the shining sky.

By Jenny Arran, Jan 30 2017 11:21PM

Reading Jay Griffith's passionate, poetic book, 'Kith the riddle of the Childscape'. Thinking about early childhood influences on my creativity and talking with my children about learning poetry off by heart... Understanding the power of words - that physical sense of them, their weight, their potency as energy, matter. Creative currency, muttered under your breath, your own magic spell. Chanted to keep out the dark and the fear. As a child it was Ted hughes, Blake, Kipling, but first and foremost Edward Lear and 'The Jumblies' setting off in a sieve to exotic lands and coming back changed after 20 years of impossible travels to the 'torrible zone' and 'the hills of the Chankly Bore'...

Now aged 40 and coming back with a sense of urgency to my creative work, I feel some pleasing resonance with them and their 20 year long trip and their homecoming...

By Jenny Arran, Jan 30 2017 11:18PM

Undertaken without realising it a new year's resolution of a weekly solitary walk to my favourite spot on the Downs. Treading the same ground weekly - somewhow makes it easier to see what's there - a muscle memory of walking the same path highlights the small changes alongside the big -the reddening tips of the Beech trees and the wildy differnt light.

Re -reading Bill Viola - Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House. "Landscape can exist as a reflection on the inner walls of the mind, or as a projection of the inner state without.. the Inuit talk of the need for time out in 'the great loneliness'. It yields benefit to the group - it must or else creative practice is ineffectual and impotent in terms of inner power, or is solely economic or decadent."

Feels like an important part of the practice, a kind of recharging or earthing. Feels necessary in these strange times, in order to have the clarity to make work, to carry on, being mother, artist, friend, to carry on listening.



#1 Mind’s eye

and the sky

a white tent

curving the heat

through the beat

of your Hawk wing

smile. Rock through

time and the white

feather in the fire

ash. Black wood

On the grey rock.

The wind’s breath

and the grass

in the hand,

and the

bright call of





#2 Mountain-wild

and bright defiant

split and slashed with light

all words unsaid

still, water turned to sky

and sunlight there

all cloud blown

and treasure

grounded in the earth.





#3 Dip quietly into


while word hoard  

sings colour and

wildness whips its

feathered lens

in the glimmer of

salt coated

glass and heart-roars

its raging heat and

smashes the wind whipped grey

and reels and curls in flecks

of white and slices

its yellow hold

and burns in an umber

pocket of sand

and rock darkness.





#4  Bed gudgeon and hole

sleep in aft timbers

scourge lips of lands.

Prime of beauty

Rebel keel,

stem post in iron.

With closed eyes

feel the sway motion

the light barred swiftly

on gathering form.

Sun blaze at dewfall

and the cloak sinks softly

into the damp air.

Clouds and birds swirl

in a days end dance

as the warmth ebbs from the stones

and silence

swells back

with the parting.





#5 Hey, Darkness.

Warm blooded friend of mud and

Time. Your hard worn gifts

are split and cracked

hefting the effort

of embodied matter.

Igneous love

liberated by time

hardened song

and a small wish

whispered quietly in

your basalt fold.

And rock become shadow

And time become

the drum.

Painting Feels /

Feel of Painting



The sensory nature of painting and

poetry often feels very close to me.

sometimes I while painitng -

in the pauses - moments of

stepping back, mixing colour - reflections

on colour, imagery, feeling.