kathryn lyster

found images and words used to create visual poetry.



in the moment

For me, collage poetry came at a time when I was needing a visual element to writing. After years of writing fiction - staring at pages and pages of white paper with tiny black words - I felt stagnant in my creativity. I stumbled across collage poetry in a lecture about the avant garde poetry movement and fell in love…

Collage is purely escapist for me. Something to do away from the computer, while daydreaming, absorbing podcasts or music. I sit on the floor. I am using my hands. It is very visual, colourful and tactile - a change up from hours at the desk typing. Small, daily acts of creativity ultimately improve my longer-term projects. The feeling of completion, of finishing that cannot be altered, messed with or ‘edited’ helped me when I was feeling blocked in my writing, or when I simply could not read over the same short story again!

The tools of collage are glue and scissors, it’s all about cut+paste! The practice of recycling & up-cycling existing and found materials appeals to my view that we consume and create too much that is ‘new’… more than our planet can sustain. Re-evaluating and interrogating these choices, as a creator, is always helpful and necessary. Historically, collage has always mish-mashed, torn-up, re-appropriated and incorporated other people’s art & creations - without reference. I am aware of this in my own work, and grateful to the resources at my fingertips, the writers, collaborators, editors, artists, teams and creatives who were the first-wave of what I am utilising to make these pieces.Collage appeals to the ‘instant gratification’ side of me, the one that exists, is overwhelmed bu and addicted to the trappings of our crazy modern lifestyle. They are quick to make and instantly digestible as a viewer. A quick turn over of energy on both ends.


My collage works, unlike my other poetry, often have to relationship with my actual life. I refer to the universal, the general, rather than the deeply internal. These poems are abstract, sometimes silly. The images can dominate, or be stripped back to let the words shine. This all happens as a happy accident of timing on the day - or maybe, a deeper subconscious pull, depending on how I view things. Some feel serious, others are entirely frivolous. Both are meaningful to me. Unlike writing, which did not give me an artistic outlet, collage let’s me play with visual representation of ideas and feelings. Sometimes it feels self-reflective, often - meaningless. Rarely, a great sense of meaning can come from putting together a series of seemingly random words from different sourced. This is the serendipitous and often fortuitous dance of chance and fate that keeps me intrigued and eager to expand and explore this medium.

watch this space

I am working on a collage + poetry collection, a little book for heartaches, blue days and for when the modern world overwhelms the senses. Coming soon…


the process…

I create collage poems with what is immediately in front of me. Using magazines, posters, old photographs, newspapers, catalogues and other forms of paper, I search for anything that catches my eye.

I do not plan my collage poems, they are done ‘on-the-fly’, in that they begin when I Start flicking through magazines and are finished that same afternoon.

Words come after the images, usually, although sometimes finding a certain word in the headline of a newspaper can be the catalyst for the images I am drawn to next.

I am influenced by surrealist art, the aesthetics of 90’s fashion magazines, often a sense of opulence and the absurd.