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Keisha Thompson: Dérive

Keisha Thompson: Dérive

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Dérive is a collection of poems written by Keisha Thompson during a one-year residency with Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Keisha was the recipient of the 2023/2024 YSP x Laureate Fund Residency supported by the T. S. Eliot Foundation, which has been made possible by YSP Trustee and Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage.

Throughout her residency, Keisha has focused on a triangle of themes – mathematics, identity, and nature-connectedness, thinking specifically about the resonances between natural hair and the YSP landscape. During her year in residence Keisha immersed herself in the park, working with teams across the organisation and sharing her practice with YSP audiences through various performances, teacher CPD sessions and guided walks in the landscape. The final outcome of Keisha’s residency, and a lasting legacy of her time spent with YSP, is this publication, Dérive.

The title Dérive references a way of walking, of meandering and rambling without direction. The term Dérive was coined by a group of Parisian surrealists in the 1950s who wanted to capture the concept of an unplanned journey through a landscape. Without direction, a journey becomes playful and offers a more visceral connection to the environment around us – in Keisha’s case, this environment has been Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

During her residency Keisha has explored resonances between poetry and sculpture, and these explorations have culminated in an innately sculptural collection of poems. Keisha has repurposed the term, Dérive, to also describe the form of the poetry in the collection. You will notice each poem has its own playful structure, the words weave and wander across each folding page. The chapbook itself is a sculpture, the origami pages invite the reader to fold and unfold, exploring form physically too.

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