A long-awaited re-issue, beautifully redesigned, of Jane Draycott’s Tideway, a mesmeric sequence of poems about London’s working river in a time of transition, with paintings by Peter Hay specifically created for the first edition as companion pieces to the poems.
The River Thames can be a dangerous place to work: powerful tides, strong winds, difficult bridges and paralysingly cold water. At the turn of the millennium, Jane Draycott spent several weeks with the London watermen on the city’s tugs, barges, and salvage vessels – a community of highly skilled men and women watching their working landscape and their futures change around them week by week: docklands transformed, slipways built over, warehouses converted to luxury apartments. Tideway brings the poems written during that time together with Hay’s light-filled paintings and the transcribed words of the watermen themselves. A Two Rivers Press illustrated classic.
‘What Draycott manages in two sentences contains a world. It isn’t just the concise audacity of the imagery created here that is persuasive … [her] confidence secures the registers and makes a fine, clear lyric. Moreover, she makes significance out of insignificance. Say it out loud; you'll want to sing it in time. Time’s the theme.’ – David Morley
‘In Tideway, with the Thames and its watermen, Draycott may have found a perfect subject, where the elements of water and air meet and blend, where history is an active presence, and where the trove of objects lost and found invites the contemplation of mysteries which are, satisfyingly, not to be fathomed entirely. All this with her quizzical, exultant, exact music. A mesmeric and thrilling body of work. Tideway deserves a wide readership.’ – Sean O’Brien