Ira Lightman

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About the author

Ira Lightman, born 1967, is a conceptual poet. He has published several chapbooks, and a full length e-book at www.ubu.com. From 1994-1999 he wrote and performed songs with Come Flying and There, some of which exist as mp3 files on the web.

Since 2000, when he moved to the North-East and started a family, he tried unsuccessfully to become a vicar, and then started making Public Art. In Spennymoor, he devised the Spennymoor Letters, letter shaped sculptures spelling the town's name like the Hollywood sign. He also added all Spennymoor's surnames onto the "welcome to Spennymoor" signs. At Gateshead College he has made head shapes out of students' text messages. He has mapped the Northumberland National Park's cultural heritage in 3D, and in the Wansbeck area of Northumberland he is making trees out of family trees. In the museum Bede's World, he has been been making "word-photos", encouraging users to take a sentence from any museum label and spell it out in photos captioned with one word each from the chosen sentence.

Ira's work is informed by music, mathematics, language-learning, computers and pattern-seeking. Many of his published essays touch on improvisation and the vexed question of free verse for our times.. His own work often begins with a free improvisation or outburst, which Ira seeks to spot patterns in. The work then revises to reveal itself through its pattern, and then perform itself.

He has also made conceptual pieces for national radio, including one of the only celebrations in the world of Pi's 300th birthday in 2006 and a science-fiction play, The Coming of the Wopoli. He writes occasional essays about poetics on the web, and plays ukelele on YouTube. His website is here.

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