The Book of Ystwyth

The Book of Ystwyth

The Book of Ystwyth: Six Poets on the Art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins (Carolina Wren Press 2011)

The poetry is in the paint.  These poets say just what they see.  The Book of Ystwyth is a blaze and tumble of illuminated script.  Stained and broken glass caged and turned against a Welsh moon.

Or scripted illumination, since the illumination inspires the script.

The paintings? Imagine El Greco freed from narrative. The poetry? A kaleidoscope of frequentatives.  Imagine six docents narrating those El Greco paintings.

A vicar would share the gospel with stained glass.  Rembrandt, too: the husks and meanwhiles of his prodigal still float like embers within a yellow night.  Braque composed Q, the missing gospel, his Le Jour still unread beside the assignation of the fruit and silent knife. These are the dark arts we lost for universal literacy.

The Book of Ystwyth is a beautiful sign of restoration.

The book: 35 gorgeous details of Hicks-Jenkins’ work and 27 poems inspired by them, including eight by Via Negativa’s Dave Bonta.


  1. You’re welcome, Clive. I love the book: the miracle of six modern poets devoting themselves to the same modern paintings.

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