"There were no pictures on the walls of the rented rooms my mother and I lived in when I was a child.
But there were pictures on the school walls, details of exhibitions and the lives of great painters in Everybody's Weekly, and, when we could afford it, we would treat ourselves to a trip to the nearest city and its travelling exhibitions of prints, which was how I saw most of Van Gogh that wasn't at school."For Duffy, pictures were and still are magical creations and recreations of the visible world - of history, mythologies, landscape, love and death - where the artists who make them attempt risk-taking feats analogous to a poet's with words.
Pictures abound in this collection, ushering the reader from canvas to screen via x-rays and iPhone snapshots, the latter inspiring the closing sequence 'Burdsong'.
Above all, Pictures from an Exhibition celebrates the mind's eye, which is its own exhibition gallery: transforming Darlington Station into an upturned ship's hull or a mauled pigeon into a still life, and glorying in the lives, loves and creations of painters from Veronese to Anselm Kiefer.