‘Alchemy of Water’- A Snap-Shot Review

What experience is created when the textual and the visual function in sync?
’Alchemy of Water’, a collaborative project between poets Tony Curtis and Grahame Davies and photographers Mari Owen and Carl Ryan, published in 2013 by Gomer Press, strongly informs the concept behind this project as a whole.
The book lays both elements side by side. Each concise, imagistic poem is a direct reaction to the picture reproduced on its corresponding page. This allows the reader clear insight into their interaction, a dialogue between the Welsh landscape and two of its prolific writers. Here, Curtis senses the pull of national identity in the movement of the south Wales tide:

Dawn over Swansea Bay:

the wet sand is filling with sky.

The boat’s chains are a rich and heavy necklace.

Those rust-ochre links will tie you to this place

whatever the rise of the tide,

whatever the blue-grey weather brings,

whenever the sea sings in these chains.

The sparseness of Curtis’ language, the use of sibilance and its subsequent musicality, intimately crafts a broader semantic resonance to the image. Each poem presents how emotional content can be derived from the landscape and how it has been pictured, also acknowledging the continual draw of its specifics and uniqueness.
The interaction between word and image, in any manifestation, is what this project aims to continue to explore.

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