Birch Brook Press (13 Mar. 2013) ISBN-10: 0984200355
Over the years a good many of my poems have been fortunate to be illustrated by a group of gifted artists in the distinguished British quarterly, Ambit: Laura Knight, Anne Howeson, Mike Foreman, and Charles Shearer, to whom my thanks are given for their permission to reproduce their work here with the poems for which each was done.
Included also are two portraits by Ron Sandford and John Robertson. Ron’s is based on an afternoon’s sitting on a warm day in London in the sitting room at Martin Bax’s home, the editor of Ambit, John’s from a sitting resulting in a striking window-sized portrait for a reading in my home town of Pacific Palisades, part of Los Angeles. They, too, have been kind enough to allow me to use these in books in the past, and I thought it fitting to include them in a book of interpretations of myself and my work by others. I shifted once while Ron was at work, which he incorporated into the portrait...
For this present publication, which includes new as well as previously published work, additional art has been created by Charles Shearer for the other Roman Poems besides River of Flesh. Since the poems are part of a sequence, I have included that in its entirety. Ron Sandford created the splendid work for No One Comes For Penelope — . I thank both for their generosity.
At other times, in other poems, I have from time to time interpreted others’ art, often paintings, and those poems and paintings are included also, including poems first published in Wrestling With The Angel, and also for Jesse’s Dream among the new poems. The latter was sparked by my viewing the Jesse Window in St. Mary’s, in Shrewsbury, on the Welsh border, from where some of my ancestors come, and is accompanied by a photo of that window.
Artists frequently react to one another’s work, often with striking results, and the present volume allows interested readers to see that interaction in contemporary guise. Sometimes the collision between sensibilities here has resulted in something amusing, sometimes straightforward, and sometimes leaves one hard put to tell whether I or the artist was more inspired. The variety of response is to be expected in such a wide range of artists, and that variety makes immediate and graphic the realization that not just different artists but every reader takes a poem to heart in some ways that are private and unique.