Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Third Thing

The poem above, by Lu Yu (in a translation by Arthur Waley) is paired with a woodblock print by Ralph Kiggell. The page spread is from Leading the Cranes Home, a selection of Chinese poems published by The Old Stile Press.

Kiggell, a British artist based in Bangkok, studied traditional woodblock printing in Japan. While working respectfully within this traditional process, he has a thoroughly contemporary vision - exemplified in a recent series of prints depicting pylons and water towers. Perhaps the 'mountain rain' that pours through the hat of the ox-minding boy in the image above was an omen, for Kiggell's next venture with The Old Stile Press, The Third Thing, will be an anthology of poems about water. (The title is drawn from a poem by D.H. Lawrence.) Kiggell is well qualified for such a subject, having recently completed a remarkable swimming pool mural in Hong Kong. One of the older poems in the volume will be an Anglo-Saxon riddle from The Exeter Book, in my translation. I'm looking forward to seeing how Kiggell responds to the equivocal words through wood and ink.

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