BEWILDERMENT Book of poems and paintings. A Collaboration by Alan Price
I am deeply drawn to the visual arts. Principally cinema for which I have written a
body of poetry. Yet paintings have also been my subject as an ekphrastic experience.
My collaboration with Hervé wasn’t meant to provide an interpretation of his work
but a response. This response triggered many questions of identity and personality.
Hervé’s work is honourably serious, brooding, even forbidding: behind its great integrity
is a compelling inwardness. I reacted to this by articulating my own ver different inwardness
I wrote utterances, statements, shouts, cries, asides and whispers. Twenty five
poems written very quickly over two months. I concentrated on a small painting
of Hervé and allowed my unconscious to prompt me.
A trickle of words started. I’d leave the painting and go and sit in another room so
as to quietly internalise the imagery and allow the poem to emerge. The poems took
the form of a descending sentence. This can be read aloud to others or quietly to
yourself. Both responses should reveal an intended, but differing, anxiety or relief.
My poetry was of course crafted but not to the point of being over-polished. I wanted
to sustain a sense of raw mystery. This mystery, from my way of seeing, is what I have
in common with Hervé. For me it’s summed up by what the great introverted
writer Cesare Pavese called “this business of living.”
These poems are unlike any other poetry I have written. Hervé’s art is unlike any other
artist and I responded to its beauty: not with an art catalogue commentary but a sparse
and spiritually apt text. Enough to accompany Hervé’s paintings and convey our shared
Alan Price 2022