Acanthus, (March 2022)
  • Claire Potter | Sydney: Giramondo

  • Albertoli, ‘The Origin of the Corinthian Capital.’ London. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. The Origin of the Corinthian Capital Retrieved from
  •  Acanthus, (March 2022)
  • Claire Potter | Sydney: Giramondo
  • “Acanthus offers poems that dwell in the landscapes of edges, of northern and southern hemispheres, of myth and fantasy – voyage and desire – as they oscillate between observation and finding one’s home.”

    At the heart of Potter’s poetry is a keen awareness of the power of transformation, which draws the celestial and the physical closer to hand. These poems hold an ear to those wandering figures who, like Homer and Icarus, search the peripheries for clues. Surreal gardens, oblique geometries, rooms of clouds, witches, and childhood remembrances, lie not outside the natural world but directly within it, mixing poetry and quotation – dream and prose. Each poem lies at an angle to the next, sitting as if within the net of a wider page, seeking to embody the radical arc of reading, reverie, and falling right through literary spaces.


    Claire Potter is the author of three poetry collections and numerous essays and translations. Her poetry has been published in Poetry Chicago, London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, Best Australian Poems, New Statesman, and Poetry Ireland Review and translated into Chinese and French. She studied at the University of Western Australia, and the University of NSW, and has a Masters in Psychoanalysis from Université Paris VII and in Psychoanalytic Infant Studies from the Tavistock Institute. She teaches at the Architectural Association London where she also runs the AA Writing Centre.


    Mais toujours et distinctivement je vois aussi
    La tache noire dans l’image…
    Yves Bonnefoy

    For a long time a plant in my garden flowered beneath the hydrangea, spilling bright green leaves. I would cut the leaves back as soon as they arrived as they crowded and swamped the path. As much as the plant was reduced, it would spring back to life. After a while, I began to admire this persistence and discovered the plant was an Acanthus. The plant did not appear in my writing until, by chance, I came across a story that linked it to the stone carvings of flowers and leaves that often ornament architectural columns. Trees, leaves and stones were already in my writing so it seemed like a good idea to name the collection after a plant that despite effacement, did not want to go away.

    An enduring line running through Acanthus is perhaps one that inevitably moves obliquely or sideways. Looking back now, many of the poems traverse the clarity of a dream-like state: diverting from an imaginary centre and meandering across strange ground. As with all poetry, fragments matter; figures and objects – as if on the level of the bee – are significant; unintelligible feelings turn into a blueprint language that errs and wanders in order to find a resting place. Nothing in the collection was fixed beforehand, you could say the writing took place in order to think a way through, think about certain things or events that at the time didn’t have any formal presence in my mind. The central question of the collection could be this inclination towards remembrance; a leaning inwards that – like Icarus – mirrors a leaning outwards, an imperfect zigzag between the reality of a leaf and its allegorical translation into stone.

    If there is a context to the collection, then it would be a porous one involving authors I read; in many ways their work makes up the true sense of the writing. The untitled preface is a nod in this direction, to where on the edges something occurs almost out of the corner of one’s eye like an annotation; this insignificance is precious and full of life. As Marianne Moore said, ‘There must be edges’ and I think that these edges, very important to architecture as well, are such interesting places and form a touchstone for this collection; they are like a photograph, albeit on the negative side, where unexplained and forgotten things again find place, become clear and therefore on paper begin to happen.

    acanthus, poetry, edges, oblique


    Emily Dickinson – Poems —

    Sigmund Freud – ‘On Transience,’

    Claude Parent – Vivre a l’Oblique, (Place Ne: Nouvelles Editions JM place, 2004)

    Other projects
  • Signal/Noise: Ambient Text in the Urban Landscape (ongoing project)
  • Site Stories: explorations of urban spaces through drawing and animation (25–29 April 2022)
  • Rainbow Palace, Bergen, Norway (March 2022)
  •  Acanthus, (March 2022)
  • Unter der Hohen Brücke. 
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  • Corvid-19 (15 March 2021)
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    Glòries_(Eixample). A dispositive for very slow aesthetic observation, (January 2021 –)
  • As Lightning to the Children Eased (January 2021)
  • Station F (October 2020)
  • It’s Just a Matter of Time (2020)
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    issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
  • Homekeeping-image_sml
    Homekeeping (2020)
  • City Embers (2020)
  • Between Our Words I will Trace Your Presence (February 2020)
  • What Remains (2019)
  • Situated Writing as Theory and Method (2019)
  • Parts Apart Read Together (2019)
  • Fields of Awareness, (2019, 3min 18 secs)
  • A Non-Aligned Narrative in and Around KSEVT, (2019)
  • 21 Orientations: An Atlas of Geographic Promiscuity (2019)
  • The Windowless Hotel Room (2018)
  • Spaces of Grief (2018)
  • Soft Landing (2018)
  • Shared Remains (April 2018)
  • Poetic Water Boundaries: towards a possible borderless sea, (2018)
  • Metropolitan Salem, Liuerpul (9 June – 18 August 2018)
  • Things Come Apart (21 – 24 March 2018)
  • Learn to Read Differently (2018)
  • Il Balcone. A site-writing performance (2018)
  • History begins with the vanity of kings (2018)
  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • A Lunar Perspective, (2018-2020)
  • Heaton Hall: A Palimpsest (2017)
  • Location (+) (2017)
  • There’s Sand in My Infinity Pool (2017)
  • Talking Quilts (April 2017)
  • fifteen ways to cross the desert (2017)
  • Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft (2017)
  • Agency at the threshold, (2017)
  • A Ficto-Historical Theory of the London Underground (2017)
  • The Glorious Tomb to the Memory of Nothing (2016)
  • The Arrival’s Reader; A Visual Literary Criticism on The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2016)
  • Reading as Art (27 August-19 November 2016)
  • Re: development (London: Silent Grid, 2016)
  • Kjemikerens død [The Death of the Chemist] (23 – 26 May 2016)
  • Kingsland High Street (2016)
  • Foray in a Modern Reserve: An Impounding Portrait of Landuse (2016 – 2018)
  • Fall of the Derwent (2016)
  • Away from Home – Home from Away (April 2016)
  • Penguin Pool (2015)
  • Geography Lessons: Liberian Landmarks 1953-2013 (2015)
  • Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (2014)
  • The Writing on the Wall (after Rembrandt) (2014)
  • The Italic I (2014)
  • Designing Architecture as a Performing-Ground (2014)
  • Urban Literacy (2013/2014/2016)
  • The Disappearance: Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth (April 2013)
  • Folded Ground: Escape from Cape Town (2013)
  • Phantom Railings (2012 – 2017)
  • In The Emptiness Between Them (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • The Museum of Breath (2010)
  • Slab (2010)
  • One wound. Two wounds. The body as site for writing (2010)
  • The Fluid Pavement and Other Stories on Growing Old (2006)
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