St. James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity, Valletta, Malta.
January – February 2007
There are various ways in which poetry and photography can be combined with a fair degree of happiness. The photos could be mere visual illustrations of the subject-matter of the poems. The poems could be mere captions naming the topics of the photos. Instead, in the present book, poems and photos are complementary dimensions of a single invitation, to a joint meditation on how the here-and-now fits (or doesn’t) on the map of human existence.
The analogy between light and thought that has fascinated artists and philosophers for millennia is a sound reason for combining the two media. Writing-with-light (= ‘photography’) is the aptest means for the inscription of temporality into the visible. Implications of the temporal/timeless paradox at the heart of human existence is a central theme of all poetry. Interfacing the two media is perhaps the best contemporary way to bring out the complex dialectic between time and habitation in any form of finite being.
Light plays upon a landscape, or upon the appearances of objects, and invests them with meaning. Thought plays upon language, embodies itself in words and the silent spaces between them, and so enlivens the verbal matter with soul and significance.
Poetry and photography together enable the two main uses of beauty that have been generally distinguished, to emerge simultaneously, instead of forcing as usual an option between them: on the one hand, peaceful harmonisation and concordance of opposites; on the other hand, strategic operation of sign and symbol as forceful tools and weapons in the service of a cause. Separately, a poem or a photo may allow an epiphany of beauty to occur; together, the verbal and the visual can more readily turn a page into a place of action. This book, I think shows not only how information can be multiplied through multi-mediality, but also how much the force of communication can be intensified.
Peter Serracino Inglott