“We’ve always lived on the edge, boy;
Small boats, lines and nets.
We’ve always fished as the old men fished,
And the old men showed the sea respect”
Longshore Drift was the perfect vehicle for Dodds to complete the circle and revisit the Aldeburgh of his Peter Grimes, first published twenty years before. The collaboration with the poet and historian Katrina Porteous, who lives on the Northumberland coast, came about because a friend had encouraged him to send Porteous a copy of The Song of the Waterlily, knowing that they would have much in common. She had edited an illustrated history of Northumbrian fishermen and had published poems about their fishing tradition. When she visited Aldeburgh, as writer in residence to its Poetry Festival in 2002, she was moved by the plight of the inshore fishermen of the east coast. “As I crunched along the Suffolk beaches, I thought of the decline of the longshoremen’s way of life, handed down for generations, and now vanishing before our eyes. Longshore Drift is an attempt to capture a glimpse of what we are losing.”
Here was a subject almost guaranteed to inspire Dodds ~ and he came up with a stunning new series of Aldeburgh beach linocuts: Aldeburgh Lobster Boat with the Moot Hall in the background, individual prints featuring the bow, stern and transom of Aldeburgh beach boats and the fascinating Longlines, the tools of the fisherman’s trade. The poem was originally written for radio and first broadcast on BBC Radio 3. It is composed of two voices, who sometimes speak separately and sometimes simultaneously, indicated in this captivating publication by two colours of text on facing pages and integrated with Dodds’ new linocuts.
[text by Elly Robinson, from James Dodds & the Jardine Press, Jardine Press Ltd and David Messum Fine Art, 2006, ISBN 0-9552035-1-1]
Stern of an Aldeburgh Beach Boat
Bow of an Aldeburgh Beach Boat
Aldeburgh Lobster Boat
Transom of an Aldeburgh Lobster Boat