Personism is an exhibition of new poetry, photographic image and video readings from a collaboration between artist Michelle Duxbury, poet Rebecca Faulkner and artist, writer Pamela Crowe.

‘…one of its minimal aspects is to address itself to one person’ – Frank O’Hara

The exhibition title is taken from the half-serious manifesto of the same name written by American poet Frank O’Hara in 1959. In Personism: A Manifesto O’Hara ruminates on freedom in writing, if it matters if anyone gets or likes his work, ‘how then can you really care if anybody gets it, or gets what it means, or if it improves them. Improves them for what? For death?’; how writing or making art might be an instinctual process ‘You just go on your nerve’, and considers how a poem might simply be a statement or message to another person, one just as easily communicated over the phone:

‘It was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone (not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born.’

Listen to the AUDIO version of the exhibition interpretation on SoundCloud:


Personism Leeds NYC

Personism LEEDS NYC is a text and video work with Rebecca Faulkner and Pamela Crowe comprised of a series of 12 poems exchanged with three simple rules, the poems to be spoken aloud and exchanged by video addressing the other writer; and, no words beyond this. Mirroring the tone of O’Hara’s LUNCH POEMS, the work grew as we began to test out our speaking voices, to return the words from the page to the voice, to speak directly and read with authenticity.


Watch a VIDEO of Personism Leeds NYC on Vimeo:

Listen to the AUDIO version of Personism Leeds NYC on SoundCloud:



Download the transcript of Personism Leeds New York:


Titles of the poems [in the order of exchange]:

Pamela Crowe




Up from below




Rebecca Faulkner



Cemetry Crush

Low Tide

My sadness is very particular



Personism Leeds Leeds

Personism LEEDS LEEDS is a photographic work with Michelle Duxbury and Pamela Crowe comprised of a series of 12 images exchanged with three simple rules, each image had to feature a part of the artist’s body and be addressed to the other artist; and, no words. Here, the exchange is non-verbal, attempting to ‘speak’ directly via self-image only. It acknowledges John Donne’s concern with the inadequacy of language, of text’s potential sanitising force: ‘Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce/ For, he tames it, that fetters it in verse’, asking what an image might sculpturally achieve alone.

Titles of the images [in order of exchange]:

Pamela Crowe

Half a curtain missing

Keep moving


Keep moving 2


Take your glasses off. no, leave them on

Michelle Duxbury

The Disjuncture

The Umbrage [archaic]

The Transmogrification

The Adumbration

The Fleeting

The Nebulous


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Download the transcript of the images descriptions for Personism Leeds Leeds:


Pamela Crowe: In 2021, I invited poet Rebecca Faulkner to begin a process of exchanging ‘Personisms’ with me, video readings of new poetic work we were writing – if instead of sending the words in written form, we spoke them to each other. Simultaneously, I approached artist Michelle Duxbury to begin a process of non-verbal exchanges with photographs, similarly inspired by O’Hara’s provocation for direct communication but this time via image alone.

O’Hara’s desire for simplicity and ease of expression spoke to me. I was curious about how often poetry was performed or spoken with an adopted voice by the reader, sometimes ‘authorly’ or consciously ‘poetic’, other times sermon-like as if delivered from a pulpit. I wondered why poets or actors forgot their own voices when they performed, why they assumed the voice of another and lost the ability for direct expression, ease, authenticity of meaning and tone; a lost connection it seemed to the first feelings or inner voice with which they had created or read the work.

Personism is as much about the ability to read back words, to read from a script so-to-speak, as it is about one-to-one-ness. It’s a work about writing, about staging, self- image making and authorship; about authenticity and how we connect to our emotions and feelings when we express ourselves through art. The exchange with Michelle Duxbury, which eliminates words entirely offered a further challenge. Can an image speak directly? Do words obfuscate? What connection can we create through an exchange of self-image? What do the images say when placed together? And I wondered too, what will we create from the process around the artwork?

And Personism was finally about intimacy. About friendship and collaboration. It was a come-on, to two people I wanted to spend time with, desired to spend time with. Art seemed a great catalyst to do this. And there have been many little Personisms around the project too, everyday Personisms and moments of connection with others. We hope you enjoy and connect to the work, we invite you to step closer too.

To discover more about Frank O’Hara visit

Rebecca Faulkner is a London-born poet based in Brooklyn, New York. The author of Permit Me to Write My Own Ending, (Write Bloody Press, 2023) her work appears in New York Quarterly, Solstice Magazine, The Maine Review, CALYX Press, Berkeley Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She is a 2023 poetry recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women, the 2022 winner of Sand Hills Literary Magazine’s National Poetry Contest, and the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Prometheus Unbound Poetry Competition. Rebecca was a 2021 Poetry Fellow at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. She holds a BA in English Literature & Theatre Studies from the University of Leeds, and a Ph.D. from the University of London. She is currently at work on her second collection of poetry, exploring female identity and artistic endeavor. | instagram @faulkner_becca

Michelle Duxbury is a Leeds-born and based artist. Drawing on her own experience as a disabled, neurodivergent, working class woman, Michelle’s work explores how we exist in our bodies, spaces and places. Using photographic processes, moving image, sound, and embroidery, she offers a glimpse at her complex relationship with an outside world. Her practice is informed by process-based research & experimentation, developing a more sustainable approach to creating work, and a desire to contribute to inclusive narratives around disability. A recipient of The Tetley’s PANIC! Bursary in 2021, Michelle was selected for the 2022 YSI Sculpture Network following her solo show at The Art House. Her work was recently shown in the Leeds Artists Show at Leeds Art Gallery. | instagram @alabamathirteen

Pamela Crowe is an artist and writer working across performance, text, image and voice. Her work has been published by The Poetry Society, Winchester Poetry Festival, Soanyway Magazine and Spelt Magazine, exhibited at Leeds Art Gallery, commissioned by Leeds 2023, Axisweb and 1623 Theatre Company, commended in the Winchester Poetry Prize 2022, shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and longlisted in the National Poetry Competition. She is a winner of Poetry Archive Now 2022 and a recipient of a Creative Access Bursary 2023. Her pamphlet THE BELL TOWER is published with The Emma Press. | instagram: @crowe_pamela

Our thanks to Sarah Roberts and team at Hyde Park Art Club, the selectors for the OUTOUT HPAC programme, the staff at Hyde Park Book Club, Frances Hansom, Sydney Gilbride, Jonathan Turner, and Kurran from Hobbs Reprographic.

Please note: Personism explores themes around identity, sexuality, body image including body dysmorphia, baby loss, illness and disability.

Listen to the AUDIO version of the exhibition interpretation on SoundCloud: