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Painting

Julia collaborated with the artist Emma Holliday. Emma painted and Julia wrote. They would go off to the coast and to places around the city which Emma would paint and Julia would write a poem about. Alternatively Julia would provide Emma with a poem to paint or Emma would give Julia a painting to write about. This collaboration generated the Rendezvous Cafe, Two Lighthouses and Indelible, Miraculous along with a number of other Newcastle landmarks.

Rendezvous Café: Whitley Bay

I would like us to meet
where the Horlicks is sweet.

I could tell you my story
with a knickerbocker glory.

Talk of mermaids all day
spooning pear parfait.

Licking ninety-nine cones
we could turn off our phones.

Smile, perhaps disappear,
with a chocolate éclair.

Rendezvous with the sea
and the sugary breeze.

Come eat strawberry flan
while we can, while we can.

Two Lighthouses

I would like us to live like two lighthouses
at the mouth of a river, each with her own lamp.

We could see each other across the water,
which would be dangerous, and uncrossable.

I could watch your shape, your warm shadow,
moving in the upper rooms. We would have jokes.

Jokes that were only ours, signs and secrets,
flares on birthdays, a rocket at Christmas.

Clouds would be cities, we would look for omens,
and learn the impossible language of birds.

We would meet, of course, in cinemas, cafes,
but then, we would return to our towers,

knowing the other was the light on the water,
a beam of alignment. It would never be broken

One idea they started was a project about Sky and as Emma prepared for an exhibition, at Live Theatre in May 2015, about their work together she wrote; ‘It all started with an idea for an exhibition at Live Theatre. That exhibition didn’t happen but strangely, all these years later, I’m able to show some of the work we did for it in the building it was planned to be in. The big sky painting and the poem ‘Sky’ are the seeds of that show. Julia kept a ‘sky diary’ and for me this was the beginning of larger paintings of cityscapes and big skies’.

Emma designed the covers for Julia’s two poetry anthologies Sudden Collapses in Public Places and Apology for Absence and also for the Poetry Cure which Julia edited.

The First Aid Kit for the Mind was their last collaboration together and Emma says ‘ Julia was the one who really pushed this along, she was determined to make ‘a small piece of home’ to be carried around in a bag or a box, as well as an exhibition for waiting rooms and corridors (The Rebellious Stamp Exhibition). The original First Aid Kits for the Mind are avail to buy for Emma along with copies of the poems from the box as either posters or a giclee print.

For more information on Emma and her work please visit her website www.emmaholliday.co.uk 

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