For this final example of design work based on my poems by NTU Graphic Design students, I have chosen an animation of Dollies by Carina Barber. I was very interested to see Carina’s response to the poem and her version of it – I say this because, once a poem is out in the world, its readers, listeners and viewers make the poem afresh for themselves. I love the way that she captures the manufactured nature of the dolls in the poem’s first section and how each perhaps mark different stages in growing up. Through her choice of images she contrasts this sequence with the appearance of a different doll and owner in the poem’s second part. Thank you so much Carina.
Below is a copy of the poem which was published in What They Left Behind (2018, Shoestring Press).
Mum’s ‘heirloom’ was porcelain
with hard eyes
cold, breakable limbs.
in a white christening gown
she was nameless, not a toy.
Smothered in baby pink and frilly lace
plastic Mandy bleated her arrival
on my fourth birthday.
She could not wet like Tiny Tears
but I liked her pram with its quilted
coverlet to conceal a book beneath.
Patty, a walking, talking model,
wore a bright red tunic.
She never walked or talked much:
her batteries constantly borrowed
for adventures involving
space travel, walkie-talkie radios.
Sindy was the sophisticated answer
with her striped weekender top, blue swimsuit
outfits for dancing, dressage and dates with Paul.
She could prance in front of a three-way mirror all she liked
but she’d never party with Barbie
owned by girls on the other side of town.
You had to hide your dolly
in a drawer
in a house
in a country
where your family used to live.
It has ruby lips
You want it back.