Richard Scott’s ‘Woman Peeling Turnips; A Portrait of my Father’ is the result of the poet’s residency at Southwark Park Galleries in August 2019, Queer Pilgrims. This new text forms a poetic investigation into ekphrasis*, father-figures and the violence of creation.
Using Chardin’s 1738 genre scene painting ‘Woman Peeling Turnips’ as a starting point, Scott interrogates the very act of looking at an artwork whilst meditating upon queerness and intergenerational familial trauma.
‘I am the son you wanted, only queered. The turnip hits a rock in the soil and forks beautifully.’ – Richard Scott, Woman Peeling Turnips; A Portrait of my Father (2020).
This eighteen-part poetic essay was written in our Bermondsey Bothy, and has been adapted for broadcast and is narrated by the poet. The work has been lovingly orchestrated by the artist Anat Ben-David with her profound and resonant electronics.
This major new work was premiered on Wednesday 26 August 2020 at 8pm on Resonance FM with Scott and Ben-David in conversation throughout the broadcast event discussing collaboration, improvisation, poetry and Chardin.
Richard Scott was born in London in 1981. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies including Poetry Review, Poetry London, PN Review, Swimmers, The Poetry of Sex (Penguin) and Butt Magazine. He has been a winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, a Jerwood/Arvon Poetry Mentee and was a member of the Aldeburgh 8. His pamphlet Wound (Rialto) won the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2016. His debut collection, Soho (Faber, 2018), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Costa Poetry Award. For more information on Richard and his writing visit his website.
‘Woman Peeling Turnips; A Portrait of my Father’ is commissioned by Southwark Park Galleries and generously supported by the Southwark Mayflower 400 Grants Fund from Southwark Council, British Land and United St Saviours; and with huge thanks to our friends at Resonance FM.
*Ekphrasis: a vivid description of a scene or a work of art. An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired or stimulated by a work of art.
Content disclaimer: This piece contains adult themes and some explicit language.