Winner of the 2010 Welsh Poetry Prize from 510 international entries.
Excellently written. A narrative poem whose shifts and turns propel the reader through an episode in one of humankind’s darkest eras. The ‘story’ is complex - even if you just know some of the history of those involved. Klimt, his lover Emilie Floge, and his painting, Church in Cassone. Viktor Zuckerkandl, the owner of the painting until it passed into the hands of his sister Amelia Redlich, who tried to hide the painting from the Nazis before she was deported to Lodz in Poland and never seen again.
No matter how compelling, how emotive, how shocking a subject, no historical account of dates, facts and figures can ever come close to portraying that personal immediacy, that insight into the complexity of human experience, but a poem can make us imagine, and a great poem, such as this, can bring us very close indeed.
When they tear the fur and her dress from/her back, force her to stand like a dead, bare tree, she says, ‘feel free.’
Not that you need to know the story to appreciate and be moved by this poem. No dry prose, this. Lyrical, emotional, inventive, and bursting with imagery. ‘There’ll be no
shadows, no black Leylandii, no…’
Technically accomplished. Verse to give voice to the unspeakable. A very worthy winner.
John Evans. Author and Poet. July 2010