Notes for “On Reading ‘The Stone Book’ “

“The Stone Book” is the first of a sequence of four short stories for children collectively known as “The Stone Book Quartet” written by Alan Garner. The poem is based on an empathetic reading of the story as it relates to personal experiences of caving and the discovery of family ancestry and heritage.

The poem, itself the first of a sequence of three, uses punning on the word “void” to create ambiguity in the verse. This notion of space, emptiness and nullification is explored in the two following short poems. The linkage of time, physical space and mystical space was also explored in the sequence.

Ekphrasis is normally considered to link the writing of poetry to pictorial arts, connecting the many dimensional image to the word. In this poem, the link is from word to word, with the change in genre providing the tension.

The remaining poems were published in “High Places”, a school magazine containing writing from both staff and students of Hautlieu School, Jersey.

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