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alchemy: the transformative power of poetry

Alchemy – The Transformative Power of Poetry – combined poetry and illustration around the themes of transformation and change: ecological, personal and cultural. The exhibition comprised a number of stunning large banners, printed on recycled plastic fabric, and included a combination of words (by poet and therapist, Steve Thorp) and images (by illustrator, Ruth Thorp). Each banner was based on an aspect of Steve’s ecologically and psychologically themed poetry.


The exhibition was first shown at Oriel y Parc in St Davids in March/April 2018 as part of Steve’s participation in the gallery’s artist in residence programme. It was accompanied by a series of talks and workshops led by Steve, in which he explored the relationship of poetry (and other art-forms) with ecology, activism, climate change and personal transformation.


The concept and design for the exhibition was brought to life by Ruth, and the motifs around the exhibition are taken from the beautiful artwork she has produced to illustrate Steve’s books.


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"Words have a transformative power: a well chosen word or phrase can bring to the surface an image, a feeling, a memory, a song. Words can ignite the soul, can inspire a movement, can be melded in the crucible of a poem or story to produce something of wonder.”


“So what of the alchemy of poetry? This magical form of word-craft has the potential to transform landscapes and events, and even the small moments of life, into something universal and of great value”


“There is a lot in our world that needs transformation. We live in troubled times – and the shadow of Climate Change and other crises hang over us all. Perhaps we need the alchemy of good words and new stories to help us live well in these times?”.

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