A Fold in the River
A Fold in the River is the fruit of collaboration between T.S. Eliot prize-winning poet Philip Gross and the visual artist Valerie Coffin Price. Philip Gross once lived on the banks of the River Taff in Wales and his journals are the source for the powerful poems. Valerie Coffin Price revisited the walking route along the river and evolved the beautiful prints and drawings that accompany the poems.
Listen to Philip Gross read his poem, ‘Pour’:
Review by Natalie Charlesworth
Whilst A Fold in the River does remind me of a lot of the themes and stylistic choices going on in Songs of Innocence and Experience, the collection is far from a modern day interpretation. There is a sense of partnership between the poet and the artist and indeed the work that they have produced together across the two mediums. The clean lines of the poetry blend seamlessly into the blurred ink of the artwork. Hazy images of the countryside around the river interspliced with rivulets of text.
The collection takes a unique approach and is in many ways like nothing else I have ever read. Certainly – I don’t believe I’ve ever seen ‘gurning’ (a word often used in our very northern family) in a work of literature before. It’s these specific and illuminating language choices that make the collection such a joy to read aloud. It may look like a coffee table art book – it’s awareness of the importance of negative and positive space is certainly to its creators’ credit – but is much more than just a striking a visual piece. Its a delight for the ears as well.
I suppose some books just feel really satisfying to read. A Fold in the River is one of those collections for me and I suspect I could carry on with an endless list of why. But I will leave that pleasure of discovery to you. I have already returned to it many times since my first read through sat by our nature pond in the May sunshine and I expect I will return to it again and again in the future.