Visitors are invited to see photographs featured in the book, and a film of the poet reading on site at the Park, in a new display in YSP Centre.
The fully illustrated publication comprises 40 poems by Armitage, who was poet in residence at YSP throughout 2017, its 40th anniversary year. The residency saw Armitage, a regular visitor to YSP, choose to explore its landscape, sculptures and buildings in a new light. Rather than writing a direct commentary on the Park, he has redefined it as its own country, the little known Ysp (pronounced eesp). Letting his imagination run wild, Armitage has mapped an elaborate, alternative reality that melds fact and fiction, creating a fanciful existence for both YSP and the poet himself. The resulting poems tell the story of Ysp through his eyes as an outsider getting to grips with life in an unfamiliar place during a period of self-imposed exile.
The publication is illustrated with Armitage’s own photographs, taken throughout the year, which have been coloured and, in some cases, overlaid with collaged elements from historic engravings. The 40 poems vary greatly in form and length, from short fragments through to extended free verse, and even include translations from the oeuvre of Ysp’s own renowned but mysterious fellow immigrant poet known only as HK.
‘I wanted to think of myself as a visitor or immigrant to this place, investigating its customs, legends and traditions, wandering with a notebook and observing its latter-day comings and goings.’