Peter Wakelin reviews A Fold in the River by Philip Gross and Valerie Coffin Price

A Fold in the River

Seren, £12.99

Anyone who knows a river knows that Sabrina, Tamesis and their sisters are goddesses. They seem not mineral but living, unmastered, handing fate out to the flooded and the drowned. Though this book speaks plainly of the Taff, still it calls her ‘she’.

When he lived above an elbow in the river Taff at Quakers Yard, Philip Gross started writing journals that began a discourse with the artist Valerie Coffin Price and produced in time this confluence of poems, prose and imagery about the point where, at the coalfield’s heart, the Taff segues to maturity. Rivers were not new subjects for either of them – for example, Gross’s poems on the Severn estuary, The Water Table (2009), won the T.S. Eliot prize.

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