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This report is taken from PN Review 238, Volume 44 Number 2, November - December 2017.

Triptychs Luke Thompson
The Guillemot Press Triptychs

A Report in Three Parts

I

I never expected them all to reply, let alone to say yes. Established, new, and award-winning poets – they all agreed. And it’s a ridiculously brilliant list: Peter Riley, Thomas A. Clark, Rebecca Goss, Rowan Williams, Toby Martinez de las Rivas, Mona Arshi, Sarah Cave, Rupert Loydell, Isabel Galleymore, Robert Lax, Nathan Thompson and John F. Deane. The Triptychs box set is a collection of these twelve poets each writing three poems. The poets were invited to interpret the triptych form however they liked. They might use the traditional approach of having a central panel flanked by two explicatory panels, or they could present three pieces that progress or interrelate some other way. In a sense it was a gamble. With no further guidance almost anything could have been sent in. What would a tiny young press like us have done if these mammoths had sent something inappropriate? I mean, it took all my bravery to query a punctuation mark in one of Rowan Williams’s pieces.


II

The poets are a diverse cluster. Pronounced formal differences, even conflicts, make the collection unpredictable and exciting, while recurring concerns, themes and images hold it together. An owl. A pause. A God, present or absent. A meditation. They all speak in some way to the emergent definition of Guillemot Press.

Triptych #6 offers the clean precision of Mona Arshi’s tanka sequence, I loved you best in spring, a form and style that worked perfectly ...


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