Portland: a Triptych contains three works written about the Isle of Portland, the five mile long limestone peninsula jutting into the English Channel and joined to the mainland of Dorset by the famous Chesil Beach. Portland, now part of the Jurassic Coast, is mainly known for its stone, used to construct some of Britain’s most iconic buildings, but this has left its surface scarred and pocked by old quarries that along with its cliffs, lighthouses, harbour, Naval bases, prisons and surrounding sea, give it a unique character. It’s social history too, well into the last century, was one of relative isolation and idiosyncrasy, played out in distinct communities of urban villages, dominated either by fishing or quarrying.
Two of the pieces, Tim Allen’s Pontoon and Norman Jope’s Veästa, are long poems while the other, Mark Goodwin’s Portland Mix, is mostly a collection of concrete poems. The three works explore Portland in very different ways – comparative myth (Veästa), language art (Portland Mix) and experiential abstraction (Pontoon). The Authors’ Statements at the end of the book give a more detailed account.