The Sad Sea, 2009
Triple section accordion-fold artist’s book presented in a drop-back box. Inkjet, drypoint, acrylic, chalk and crayon on Bockingford 190gsm and acid free tissue, laid on Khadi handmade cotton rag 480gsm. Edition of 25. Box: 51 x 36.5 x 5.5 cm
Published: Pratt Contemporary, 2009.
The title of this book comes from Federico Garcia Lorca’s collection of poems, Poet in New York, (‘Cry To Rome – from the tower of The Chrysler Building’).
Between 1929 and 1930 Lorca spent nine months in New York. It was his first trip outside Spain and one that had a deep and lasting effect on him. He was both exhilarated and appalled by the experience of living in a large city. “This is not hell,” he wrote in one poem, “but the street.” On one hand, he loved the energy and strangeness of New York, but he felt that by its very nature a great city is indifferent to the individual, and its architecture is indifferent to nature. “What we call civilization,” wrote V.S. Pritchett, “he called slime and wire.”
From this experience, Lorca wrote some of his most inventive but anguished poetry. Rees Roberts has tried to convey some of the chaos and fragmentation that Lorca put into these poems, excitement and disgust, fascination and revulsion, and also the overriding sense of the poet’s isolation.