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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


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