Update: February 2018 – this initiative was eventually superseded by two volumes of poetry: “human Archaeology” and “Punctuations from History”. Some of the pieces intended for “An Index…” were included in the former. I leave the entry here for Posterity’s sake!
Many years ago I owned a copy of Ted Hughes’ “Remains of Elmet”. I was struck at the time by the extraordinary relationship between the poems and Fay Godwin’s photographs – so much so that, for a short while, I would acquire posters as subjects for poems, attempting to create some kind of symbiotic relationship between them much as Hughes and Godwin had achieved. Oh, the vanity of youth!
Although the posters are long gone, a very few of the poems remain and one – Witches’ Point – was included in my “Collected Poems” published in January of this year. Even without the seed poster, I think the poem stands on its own merits.
Over the years I have occasionally toyed with the photograph-poem dialogue. However, having taken photography more seriously in the recent past, I found myself a few months ago with a dawning realisation that I might have a number of my own images which could then themselves to a narrative interpretation – or rather, as the inspiration for some verse which may be tightly- or loosely-coupled with that photograph.
The aim, at the end of the day, is to be able to produce a volume – “An Index of First Lines” – in the “Remains of Elmet” tradition.