One cold, dark autumn day in Montreal, I read a poem by Tom Hirons called Sometimes a Wild God which made my heart contract and clench a little. I remember considering the message within that poem in relation to where I was at that moment in my life and mulling over it for a while. I remember feeling very uncomfortable. I remember I shifted my thoughts then to wondering how this poem could be illustrated and whether Tom Hirons' partner, the illustrator Rima Staines had considered doing so.
The answer to that appeared on the Hedgespoken website and by the time I had returned to Bangalore I decided I wanted that book. I didn't think I would get my hands on a copy of the book so soon but I did, thanks to someone from England visiting here.
In this post I present a small glimpse of the book with its unforgettable poem accompanied by intimate and unique illustrations by the absolutely extraordinary Rima Staines.
When illustrating a poem, especially a descriptive one,it is easy to end up making the images repeat the text, something that good illustration should never do. I feel it not only dilutes the message but creates an unnecessary echo which ends up becoming an irritation. Therefore here, as an illustrator, I have to truly appreciate what Rima has done to illustrate this poem which is a difficult one to illustrate. Her illustrations are not beautiful in the general sense of the term but disturbing, as disturbing as the poem; the images are symbols juxtapositioned together to create strong compositions aptly suited to partner whatever part of the text they are illustrating.
I have long admired Rima's work. She never disappoints.
I am glad to be reading and admiring this book at my desk in my studio in beautiful afternoon October light :-)