Poetry is often inspired by art, and poems inspire art in turn. This series of posts celebrates this special connection in the words of artists and poets who have been published by Two Rivers Press.
‘6 Panels’ was written in response to Anni Albers’ artwork ‘Six Prayers’, a textile commissioned by the Jewish Museum of New York as a holocaust memorial. This abstract pictorial weaving formed a central part of a major Albers exhibition at Tate Modern in the winter of 2018. I found the work very moving and returned to look at it on more than one occasion, before attempting to start a piece of writing suggested by it. My response was an attempt to use language in a partly pictorial way, interweaving various threads across the six columns of the poem so that its sections, while they could be read downwards vertically, would also resonate horizontally through associations or echoes. The threads I drew on were: notebook observations from the windows of the gallery directly behind the area where the work was exhibited; notes on the pattern and variations of the panels themselves; quotations from Albers on her work; materials used in the work, or colours associated with them; tools and materials necessary for survival and shelter in the wild (an Albers theme); prayers from a range of major religions; figures in solid geometry; mythical representations of the weaver. I don’t consider the resulting text as presenting any argument or underlying idea. It’s an attempt instead to create a harmonic structure out of disparate materials and a minor tribute to a major work.
Tim Dooley, May 2022
‘6 Panels’ appears in Tim Dooley’s new collection Discoveries, published April 2022.
Tim Dooley is a tutor for The Poetry School and a mentor for the prison charity, Koestler Arts. He was reviews and features editor of Poetry London between 2008 and 2018, a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster from 2016 to 2021 and a judge for the John Pollard International Poetry Competition at Trinity College Dublin in 2019 and 2020. He was previously a schoolteacher for many years. His poetry collections include the Poetry Book Society Recommendations: Tenderness (Smith Doorstop, 2003), Keeping Time (Salt, 2008), and Weemoed (Eyewear, 2017).