Cabinet of Curiosities #2 – Adelle Stripe
Curated by Darran Anderson.
I bought Lady Buddha from a Vietnamese supermarket in Ancoats. Apparently Buddha takes many forms, and one of them is female. She reminds me of the Madonna. This statuette symbolises a point this year where I was trapped in a job that drove me insane. The day I bought her, I had walked the streets on my lunch break searching for an answer. I didn’t know what form it would take. She was staring at me through the window. I carried her home, and made a choice to resign, throwing caution to the wind. I’m not an impulsive person but she gave me a sprinkle of self-belief that day, it also kick-started a daily meditation where I switch my brain off for 20 minutes. It really works. If you think about it, we stimulate our minds with technology all day / night, stare at screens, communicate, read books, cook, travel, exercise. But we don’t actually give our minds a rest. Meditation switches off the internal chatter and allows you to visualise calm. I’m not a religious person, and even in my darkest hours I’ve never felt the need to ‘reach out’ to God. I am interested in Eastern philosophy though, and regularly read Confucius, Lao-Tsu and Zen Buddhist teachings. They help me to see things in a broader way and curb my cantankerous nature.
I’ve always wanted to write in a silk smoking jacket, sup on port and listen to Cannonball Adderley as the sun goes down. My sister bought me this kimono from Thailand, and I wear it all the time. It helps me feel glamorous when I’m wearing dowdy dog-walking clothes, and I often potter round the garden in it. They are bohemian clichés, but I’ve taken to wearing them in public, which feels rather good and quite ridiculous. Kimonos cost about £15 – a total steal. In China they call them ‘Happy Coats’, and I genuinely do feel happy every time I wear it. It’s helped me compose a fair few haiku this year, trying to channel the spirit of Ono No Komachi or Yosano Akiko, two of my favourite Japanese writers.
This is a woodcut of Albrecht Durer’s Praying Hands. A man from Leeds gave it to me as a gift in the late 90’s. He’d tried to put his hand down my pants in a moment of drunken madness, and I think he felt guilty about it so gave me this as a payoff. Actually, I think I did quite well out of his rubbish grope. The colour behind it is as close to IKB that budget permits. When we moved house, I dreamed of waking up every morning and seeing this cobalt tone on my walls. I’d read Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost and was fascinated by her description of Yves Klein re-creating the colour of the sky. IKB is expensive, there’s only one place where you can buy the pigment, Edouard Adam in Paris. One day I’ll make a pilgrimage.
Earth Rose ‘Fuck Hate’
This has to be my most prized literary possession. It’s a piece of Meat Poetry history. Fred Voss gave it to me as a gift. I wrote an essay on the Meat Poets during my MA, and contacted a few West Coast writers as part of the research. Included in my list were Fred & and his wife Joan Jobe Smith; two brilliant poets who I have massive respect for. I’m interested in writing published on mimeographs, and the roots of the whole DIY chapbook scene. Steve Richmond is a poet and publisher whose work I collect – I read an interview on 3:AM with him a few years back and started to track down his work. Earth Rose was a publication he & Bukowski created and sold in his shop in Santa Monica in 1974. The broadside is newspaper sized and features poems by Bukowski, Richmond and John Buckner. The authorities went crazy when they saw it, and it was immediately banned. Richmond kept hold of 20 copies, which he gave to Fred Voss in 1988. I am honoured to have a copy, and one day I hope to write something more in-depth about the Meat Poets. They are an underrated part of America’s literary history; writers such as Bukowski, Richmond, Levy, and Wantling were pretty radical for their time. And I hate to say it, but I actually prefer much of their writing to the Beat Generation’s.
Here’s a picture of Cliff, curled up in a ball, looking soft and fluffy. Don’t be fooled though, he’s a mean hunting machine. A few months after we’d moved to Yorkshire, Ben saw an advert in the garage – 6 x Patterdale Jack Russell puppies for sale. We knew that if we went to see them, we’d come back with one. We chose Cliff because he was an isolationist. He hid from his sisters in the corner of the room, wanting some peace and quiet. We took that as a good sign. Having a dog is good for writers, it makes you leave your desk, get fresh air, and socialise with people. I’m a real animal lover so for me, it just feels weird if I don’t have a hairy critter lurking in my house. My Dad’s a farmer, so I grew up jumping on hay bales & driving tractors. Some of the poems in my new book are about memories of working with animals & feeling deep emotional connections to them. I’m never happier than when I’m leading a bull around a show ring, walking my dog on the hilltops or bottle feeding newborn lambs in a windy barn. I come from six generations of farmers, and out of all the grandchildren, none of us have taken it up. The only way I can really preserve that knowledge is through my poems and stories. I have enough in the tank to last a lifetime, though my Dad has some of the best and equally most boring stories I’ve ever heard. He’s like a character from a Faulkner novel…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adelle Stripe is a founding member of the Brutalist Poets and lives in Mytholmroyd. She is the author of three collections of poetry; the latest being Dark Corners of the Land, which has just been published by Blackheath Books. Adelle is also an MA graduate from the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing. She has written articles for The Guardian, The Times and The Stool Pigeon.
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, October 19th, 2012.