Hannah Jane Walker
Poetry is Hannah Jane Walker’s primary and core practice, on the page and in performance. Though she also makes work for radio broadcast, the stage, and most recently a non fiction book exploring the value of the trait of sensitivity for Octopus.
The reason she makes work is to ask what it means to be a person, where shame, hope, learning live in us. She writes to find out what she doesn’t know or understand and to try and connect. Before becoming a full time writer Hannah worked for arts organisations as an education officer, and as such each project she undertakes is particularly focussed on who we include and hear and how we engage people. Most recently she has begun collaborating with visual artists to create outdoor site specific visual art poetry installations, with one on Mill Road Cambridge created with artist Jo Chapman, one at Cambridge Biomedical Campus created with artist Anna Brownsted, and one on the side of Durham Library created with residents of HMP Low Newton.
My absolute favourite piece of work in Kettle’s Yard is not a piece of work. It is a sofa in one of the middle upstairs rooms facing an arched window. I used to come to Kettle’s Yard with my grandparents as a kid. When my grandfather died, I came and sat on that sofa and watched the beautiful arch shaped light move across the floorboards for a whole morning and no one moved me on. It was the only space I could bear to think of him in. He knew Jim Ede, he used to come to the house as a student while at Cambridge University. My other favourite piece of work is the lemon on the platter downstairs next to the dining area. It reminds me that it is possible to make the decision daily/ weekly whatever, to bring things into our environment, that are not expensive or flashy, but are vibrant and remind us daily of the sharp beauty of the world, despite everything.