Mat Osmond | email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 07971411109
Mat works as Senior Lecturer on the MA Illustration: Authorial Practice at Falmouth University, and worked on its sister award, the MA Art and Environment, during its five-year existence - an experience which led to the question What does ecological recovery ask of us? becoming the central concern of his work. Mat's currently working an a series of projects under the working title Illustrating Ecological Recovery, whose aim is to ask what art and poetry might most valuably offer us, faced with the hole growing beneath our dying culture, and way of life. He's part of the R.A.N.E. (Research into Art, Nature and the Environment) research group; also of the ecological arts network artdotearth, both of which are based at the Dartington Estate, in South Devon.
Mat served as guest Art Editor on the most recent issue of the Dark Mountain Journal, and will also be curating a series of Blog Posts for Dark Mountain, later this year. He's currently producing a new illustrated poetry chapbook that revolves around the figure of the Black Madonna, to be published in 2018. He'll also have two new essays published online later this year: one about the poet Ted Hughes' and artist Leonard Baskin's collaboration on Crow and Cave Birds, and one about the personification of the sacred feminine within the work of the American painter, writer and sometime Benedictine nun, Meinrad Craighead He’s co-convenor of the Dartington-based creative summit in June 2017, In Other Tongues, as part of which he will be co-teaching a five day residential Short Course with the poet, Dr Alyson Hallett. Mat contributes to a Cornwall-based arts initiative, convened by artist Kate Walters and writer Penny Florence, called Drawing Down the Feminine, with whom he will be exhibiting in Spring 2018.
Strandline Books is an ongoing series of illustrated poetry chapbooks by Mat Osmond, begun in 2013, the most recent of which, Fly Sings, won the British Library’s inaugural Michael Marks Poetry Illustration award in November 2015.
All chapbooks are printed in black and white inkjet on off-white 90gsm recycled paper, hand sewn, then signed and numbered as editions of 48. The design and typesetting of the chapbooks are arranged in collaboration with friends at Pirrip Press.
Production values are kept deliberately simple – the central goal of Strandline Books is to make books that are beautiful things in themselves, worth reading more than once, and easily affordable. All chapbooks sell for £8\copy plus p&p, and can be obtained by emailing Mat at email@example.com or by phoning him on (UK) 07971411109.
‘A Vision Quest of the Soul’
'Stone' is a mythopoetic, narrative poem, written by Em Strang and illustrated by Mat Osmond. The poem is set in an imaginary post-collapse world and explores the life of a man who has taken to the hills, not as a gung-ho survivalist, but as someone trying to understand what it means to be human in a world 'where there are more animals than men'. If stories seed us, the poem asks, why is it we persist in sowing and tending toxic ones?
Making Stone is about creating something physically beautiful, thought-provoking and nourishing. The poem and its illustrations explore what it means to feel a way forwards in the dark, whilst continuing to hold out for the light - something that is becoming ever more necessary in these times of ecocide, terrorism and climate change. All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Scottish charity, Trees For Life, working to restore the Caledonian forest.
Stone can be purchased from Atlantic Press .
Em Strang is a poet, Creative Writing tutor and editor. She has recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing (ecological poetry) at the University of Glasgow, and now teaches Creative Writing, Creative Reading and Philosophy in Scottish prisons. She has published widely in anthologies and journals, and two of her poems were shortlisted in the Bridport Prize 2014. Her writing preoccupations are with 'nature' (birds feature in almost all her poems) and the relationship between the human and nonhuman. Her first collection of poetry, Bird-Woman, is coming out with Shearsman in September 2016.
Stories for Seeing the Dark
deadman and hare
There was a man who had been dead
six thousand years.
Having been dead so long
he was naturally adept.
Still, he worked at it.
Day and night perfecting death.
The deadman and hare poems inhabit a broken mythic space, whose circling, repetitive patterns echo the accelerating ecocide that we find ourselves swept up in. They echo, too, one of our oldest underworld narratives: the Sumerian story of The Descent of Inanna, from the earliest known cycle of written poetry, that emerged during the first wave of city-based cultures.