dove taLes thoughts
Ray Evans, poet and photographer, is a member of the Dove Tales board and a well known figure on Glasgow's spoken word scene.
His poetry is complex, sensitive and beautiful. His political views are less beautifully - though always powerfully - expressed on his personal Facebook page.
Hi I'm Ray Evans, that's not my real name I'm breaking it in for a friend. I started writing poetry when I was at school, 60 years ago, we had a lesson every week called Anthology. It was an excuse for me to skip football, which I hated and still do, although not with the same energy. I've learned to adapt. Writing has enabled me to express my life into a cohesive vocabulary. I understand the language so I can mediate the spaces between myself and the world.
I have a few books out and I'm very fortunate to have another one out next spring. This is being published by Chlochoderick Press based in Paisley. I have also won a few competitions over the years. I'm currently unbeaten Scotia Poet Laureate. A title that took three years to actually win. It's like waiting for a bus, etc.
My poetry is topical and often quite abstract. I like the ambiguity of writing. It suits my temperament. I'm looking for what not to say rather than spouting the obvious.
Photography provides another way of understanding the world. I use film cameras and still process at home, loading the films in my darkened bathroom. Studying the masters provides insight and I value the time I spend in their company. It's often said if you want to write you must read. It follows therefore that if you want to take photographs look at the masters. When Pablo Casals was asked why he practised five hours a day he replied ' I think i'm getting somewhere'. So I practise photography, a lot, in the hope that my images will make sense. The artist is always looking for that image, the one that says everything. It's good to stretch out, take a chance to see where it leads. The Beggar sitting under the shark on Argyle St was one of those moments. The 'Decisive Moment' as Henri Cartier Bresson would say, when all the elements come together. There are a million variations, a million descriptions of the moment when it all just falls into place. When all your experience comes to play and it just takes you by surprise. Of course i'm quite mercenary, when it comes to it my only interested is getting the shot. There's a clarity in that. Clarity like composition is everything.
Beng part of Dovetales is a step in the right direction for me as a writer a photographer and as a person who will not tow the party line. I do not accept the need for governments to alienate people or imprison them for beliefs or opinions. Nor do I accept any regime that treats artists and writers with contempt. I hope my contributions to this organisation will prove fruitful. When Jean asked me to be a part of this I was of course both surprised and delighted. Life should be fun, for everyone, is that glib, or is it the least we should expect from our three score years and ten ? So when a life is held up by hate born of ignorance and a lust for power do we simply turn the other cheek, or do we turn around and say no this is not good enough ? Greed is not a human condition, it is a human failing brought about by a misunderstanding of something more fundamental. If I lived in another country, say the Middle East I would be imprisoned and publicly whipped for my pursuits and probably locked up for a very long time. Having the freedom to take pictures and to write is quite a thing. I value my rights. If they were taken away by a dictator's henchman who would step up to say No, this is wrong?