“Part of the fun of being …”

In this post I introduce some of my collage and related works. I don’t have many of them. I tend to begin using sketchbooks then just stop.

I couldn’t begin this post without mention The Humument by Tom Phillipps. In this video, Phillips talks about his lifelong project. He transforms a Victorian novel into the most beautiful artefact. Listen to Tom Phillips talking about his book.

I have an i-Pad app (costs about £6.99) where you ‘spin’ an Oracle and two pages of The Humument appear. You decide from those what message you want to take away for the day . There’s no substitute to owning the book though – I believe there is an updated edition which I intend to purchase. You can hear Phillips reading from The Humument here.





Phillips work must have been in the back of my head when I made my own – in a much cruder way.

My sketchbooks are full of angsty shit. Most of the materials for these are cut out from art gallery magazines and scrawled over in felt-tips and crayons. In the first of these I cut up parts of Newton’s Opticks -why on earth, I hear you say. I was interested in some it for my PhD and cut up sections then to use in this poem (extract):




And if the sunns rays passing into a darke room

In the foreground , a black and white dog, sitting looking at me.

through the hole doe fall very obliquely on the glasse sides

the door ajar, angled yellow light

lattice windows on one side

coat, cloak? hanging on a hook inthe corner


thus the Sun, by reason of his distance,

appeares coloured on his edges

beyond, a courtyard


On a black peice of paper I drew a line

whereof one halfe was a good blew the other

a good deep red …


I liked using different coloured paper. The best line that came out of the collage process is the title of this piece. I’m giving them titles as I type.

“The First Pulse Ends AT The First Dark Circle”



“Carry That Head”




“Oh Jeff I Love You But …”



Some messy shit here.
“Never Say Not”
 “Making Breaking Rules”
Below is a page from another notebook. The intention was to incorporate a bright image in the middle of a black strip on every page and write around it. I didn’t get very far.Ah well!



“Spring” was the theme of a making/writing workshop I led with an artist. I worked on a collage as the participants did theirs. It has some lines from John Donne’s ‘Twickenham Garden’ in there. I think I was influenced by Karl Schwitters -his idea of ‘Merz’ where you bring in random scraps and objects.




The Emily Dickinson Collages

These were made for an Instagram competition which was organised by The Poetry Society and people linked to the film The Quiet Passion. You can read about the winners and see their splendid work here. Brilliant poet/artist Sophie Herxheimer went on to do a whole series and you can see them on her Instagram.

Mine weren’t in the same league but I like them and they were fun to do: I write each as a poem too.


Out of my window

     bold annunciate

the women   cooling the flames

     as if truth  had

never been    dis      torted

This one has a background of a long bathroom tile, some paint and tissue paper with cut out figures and headlines.



with scales  feathers  wings


Black card with cut outs,crayon and luxury art papers.

My favourite


and then  

The Encounter That Took A Part of Me

the animals and birds

were spirited          that season

between the mountains

and the beaten silver sea

img_27961.jpgBlack card, wrapping paper, paint, crayon cut out pictures and headlines. I photocopied these from a book -and the ones in the previous collage.


“Part of the Fun of being”

IMG_4161This was made on a course on Poetry and Art led by the wonderful Tamar Yoseloff. We were at The Old Olive Press,  Almasserra Vella, the residential centre owned by Christopher and Marisa North near Alicante.  I used pages from a magazine and newspapers. Note the American theme.

Lastly, for now, a collage made in response to a prompt in an online poetry workshop.

“Let Us Live Our Lives The Way We Want To’

I’m not going to write it out. The background is torn from an article on embroidery from the V&A Catalogue. The method is erasure/redaction. I cut out the masks. The background is black paper.



`I must press on with these. They can be mined for ideas for other poems. They are fun to do and definitely therapeutic. Why not give them a go?

10 Comments Add yours

  1. These are amazing Pam. Have you tried sending them to Rise Up Review? They have some fantastic collages by Kathleen Loomis on their Found/ Erased page.

    Funnily enough, Ian McMillan was also talking about Tom Philips when I went on his workshop last week. I love the term ‘treated’ – so much broader than ‘redacted’.

    Anyway, good luck with your project. There’s some beautiful work there.

  2. Pam Thompson says:

    Thank you Julie. No, haven’t thought of sending them anywhere really. I’ll look up Rise Up Review though .’Treated’ is great- yes. Good luck with your own work too x

  3. smartrachael says:

    These poems are stunning, Pam. I’m inching my way towards using more visuals slowly slowly and this has big up inspired me. An area I’m going to read more on, thank you for the opportunity to read your vibrant work.

  4. Pam Thompson says:

    Thanks, Ray! I look forward to seeing what you produce – and many congratulations again on your superb MA results !

  5. smartrachael says:

    Thank you so much.

  6. Hi Pam, I absolutely love this! I first heard about the Humument in a talk by Mary Ruefle who said Tom Phillips has been major influence on her. Love your collage notebooks. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot as I’m very interested in new visual ways of presenting poetry. Thanks so much for sharing this. Robin

  7. Pam Thompson says:

    Thanks Robin. Tom Phillips and Mary Ruefle are both inspirations. I look forward to seeing any new visual work of your own.

  8. Great to have a bit more time lately to reread some of your work Pam. That Emily Dickinson cut-up ‘Out of my window …’ is so powerful. I love it.
    Julie X

  9. Pam Thompson says:

    Thanks for rereading Julie. I really must do some more ! x

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