Interview: Notes at Love Art After Dark

Image credit: Andrew Dunn

This Thursday, creative magazine Notes will be collaborating with the Fitzwilliam Museum Society to launch their latest issue at the ‘Love Art After Dark’ event. Between 18:00 and 20:00, Notes will be launching their latest edition in the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Octagon Room, “away from the hustle and bustle” of what Notes’ Events and Publicity Officer, Anju Gaston, calls a “magical” evening.

The collaboration will see those who have had something they’ve written published reading their work aloud in the museum – a very “special” experience enthuses Editor Ronan Marron, with Anju adding, “often poetry is seen as a very solitary, introspective thing, actually at the launches, hearing it spoken aloud just reminds you that poetry is to be listened to and shared”.

The nature of the collaboration, and the fact that the Love Art After Dark edition will be printed in full colour has allowed for more variety in the creative pieces accepted. Ronan explains that this has made it possible to include a lot of “really good art”, which is particularly exciting given the surroundings in the museum.  Anju adds, “I think it’s nice to bring that spoken word together with the visual art.” 

The Notes team hope that this collaboration will allow them to reach a wider audience and to grow the Notes community, which they consider central to the magazine. Anju suggests that “it’s a good way of getting to know people”, explaining, “you can read someone’s work and put a face to a piece that you really like – it’s not such a superficial, small talk thing, their work is right there, a very personal piece of work – it’s a more interesting interaction.” Ronan explains that he is most excited for “the opportunity to share it with a wider group of people, even if they come into the room and listen to one poem and that’s the only poem they listen to this year”.

Indeed, with over 150 submissions on the theme ‘Love Art After Dark’ received by the editors in the two weeks leading up to the event, there has already been great interest in the collaboration. Every one of these contributors will receive feedback on their work, which the team emphasises as another important element to Notes’ special character. Ronan clarifies that this is not intended as judgement: “the feedback we give is peer feedback, it’s not saying we know what we’re doing and we’re in a position of superior judgement”.

Rather, they are “very committed to help develop writing” – “Notes isn’t just about making a pretty magazine, it’s also about encouraging creative writing.” But the team make clear that – though submitting work and being involved in the launches can encourage new friendships, develop confidence, and instil pride in creativity – the focus of such efforts should not be how others will receive it. Ronan encourages creators, “being good for someone else to read is only one thing poetry is good for – if it’s doing something for you, it’s doing something good. What’s important is the personal reflective element or the communicative element, that it’s telling someone something’” Anju summarises, “If it makes you feel good, make time for it”.

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