The wind in the ash-tree sounds like surf on the shore at Truro. I will shut my eyes… Edna Saint Vincent Millay: Memory of Cape Cod (The harp weaver, and other poems, 1923)
At this stage of the year my thoughts often turn extremely coastal, but if you can’t get to the beach you can at least experience it vicariously by coming into the Library and discovering how others have imagined it in words, pictures and music.
Max Dupain almost singlehandedly managed to shape the way we view ourselves in relation to our remarkable coastline. Mythmaking or documentary, or a bit of both? Who cares, when the images are so beautiful.
There is a seemingly inexhaustible sub-genre of photography devoted to the art of surfing, and the best photographers manage to capture that sense of poetry that truly great surfing achieves.
Photo / Stoner : the rise, fall, and mysterious disappearance of surfing’s greatest photographer / by Matt Warshaw
If Max Dupain has defined the image of the beach for us, then I think that we need to cede the sound of the beach to The Beach Boys, at least in its more playful modes.
For a musical picture of the sea in its more tumultuous phases, Vaughan Williams’ massive Sea Symphony is hard to beat. The text, taken from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, is pretty wonderful as well.
Or you could just while away the hours looking at images like this one on our catalogue……….