Gillian Allnutt is an English poet and recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2016. She is author of nine poetry collections, including Lintel (2001), How the Bicycle Shone (2007) and wake (2018). Gillian has been working with Hearing the Voice since 2016, and produced five poems in response to themes explored by Hearing Voices: Suffering, inspiration and the everyday. She is currently completing a new collection of poems that reflect her engagement with the project.
Gillian Allnut © Phyllis Christopher
Listen to the recordings below to hear Gillian Allnutt read new poetry inspired by the exhibition and her work with Hearing the Voice.
Though they say she was not, I imagine her quiet.<br />As a clean petticoat or placket.<br />As the dry aqueductof the heart.<br />Polite.<br />Less so the warders – those whose wordsauthoritative, swartabducted her aloud.<br />An imbecile of moderate grade.<br />I imagine her safe in the silence of retreatin the soft restraint shirtthey put on her.<br />Look at the swathe of it.<br />Look at the sleeves, sewn shut.<br />In which her own hands must have faltered, felt for one another, fallen quiet.Each in its holt alone and lithe.
A visitor inspects the ‘soft restraint’ shirt worn by patients like Eliza Bowes © Andrew Cattermole Photography.