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In The Open | Mark Pajak & Filippa Dobson

Mark Pajak was born in Merseyside. His poetry has been highly commended in the National Poetry Competition and won a Northern Writers’ Award from New Writing North. His poem ‘Spitting Distance’ won first place in the 2016 Bridport Prize and his debut pamphlet, of the same name, is one of the 2016 Laureate's Choice series published by smith|doorstop.

Filippa Dobson was born within sight of the Forth Bridges in Edinburgh. Her work weaves together print, performance and prose and expresses movement as land art. Her 2016 land art piece The First Cut was the first partnership between Ilkley Arts and the Ilkley Literature Festival and began a site responsive collaboration with poet Mark Pajak. She was shortlisted for the “neo:art prize” in 2015 and is a PhD Candidate, School of Design, University of Leeds.

The First Cut 2017 Artists’ Book

Cutting and burning the land and cutting burning the human body, the artist and poet make visible a transformative effect in image and text. If cutting and burning the land can be equated with bodily trauma, seemingly aggressive acts can become platforms for regeneration and healing. If there is a relationship between the damage done to ourselves and the destruction of the land, a link may be made between human and non-human ecologies. Each creates a “magic circle”, a sacred or a special place, where a poem can become a piece of land art, a piece of land art might become a poem.