Tregolwyn Book Reviews

Right of a Voice

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by Rhys Jones & Lolita Ray

Like radio, we may think that poetry has the best images, given that inside your head you can imagine as vividly and as strangely as you like. Even in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries, perhaps the heyday of the expensively illustrated gift book, it was a special project to illustrate adult poetry (children’s anthologies, of course, being a different case).

The right of a voice, however, published by Tregolwyn, an imprint based in the Vale of Glamorgan, is that rare thing, a cross-media collaboration between two friends - one a Swedish poet, the other an Anglo-Welsh freelance photographer.

The poet, Lolita Ray, has gathered thirty-two fiercely felt but limpidly expressed short poems distilled over twenty-five years of family life, friendship and love. Rhys Jones, the photographer, responds with great finesse to her thoughts, producing in his black and white photographs, analogues of the often dream-like images they have stimulated in him, the reader. They are, of course, untitled; that is for the poet to state alone. There to complement, not dominate, an integral part of the book's concept, the photographs are things of quiet, often rather austere, beauty in their own right.

It is the reader who must synthesize a whole, as the third member of the 'exhibition'. It would be well worth their time to do so, remembering to take things slowly…Ray's poems are deceptively simple, but, at their best, carry some heavy meanings. Some are graceful and sad; some are pebble-like and gnomic.

Read, for instance - " Welcome"-

Welcome

You pain from the abyssal depths

Is what I would like to say

….

Let's dance you and me

And whirl round the dance floor

So close

That we become one

The photo that 'illustrates' it is not the one you might well expect, but welds with the poem so that they seem to complete each other.

Well bound and printed on glossy photographic quality paper throughout, this book is attractive either as a gift or as a rather refined little treat for oneself. It is currently to be found at major bookstores in the UK, on Amazon and on www.gwales.com.

 

right_of_a_voice-front.jpg

ISBN 095386883 4
Tregolwyn, 2007
76pp, illustrated paperback
Retail price 7.99

Review by Patricia Blakey Lodge