My Mackerel Lover

2004 – A poem by the artist, laser printed in lucida handwriting onto fish shaped pages in a fish shaped binding – hand painted paper covers with a woodcut mackerel print on top. This sits in a round cornered, card mackerel ‘tin’ with hand-painted paper covers with a metallic finish, 9” by 14” by 2½” deep. This has a hand-coloured, woodcut paper label of two mackerel, title, artist, press etc stuck on top.

Inside, the tin is lined with blue velvet, gold embroidered fabric and black lace in keeping with the words of the text, with a fish-shaped ‘nest’ for the book.

Edition of six.
There were also a further twenty books sheathed in fish shaped ‘mackerel skin’ fabric pouches with embroidered cloth and black lace trim, lined with blue velvet and equipped with a loop to hang them up by the bed. They measured 15” by 4½” at the widest point.


My Mackerel Lover – words from book ©Carolyn Trant

He is smooth and glossy and he comes to me on a plate
I turn him over and feel
His firmness in my hands

Bright stripes and whorls
Flashy even
Bright of eye
And very fresh

He is very young and tender
When I start to eat

I am aware of a sheath of velvet
Blue I think
Like royal french
And golden fleur de lys
We are surrounded by rich cloth
And maybe a black lace veil
Pulled over the scars

Suddenly I realise I cannot stab his thigh
Peel back the skin
And eat the delicate flesh
He will feel pain

I realise there is a touch of the gigolo about him
He has the dark soulful eyes of a mediterranean ladykiller

He walks away and I have lost him
He is wearing a suit now
But he has a slight limp

Copy to view on request in British Library Modern British special collections .