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    Collected Poems (Paperback) By (author) Lynette Roberts, Edited by Patrick McGuiness


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    DescriptionThe work of an original, haunting and experimental woman modernist poet is made available again, for the first in 50 years. Lynette Roberts is principally a war poet, in that her two published collections take as their subject a woman's life in wartime. But she is also, or therefore, a love poet and a poet of the hearth. A late-modernist, she works on two scales at the same time: the mythic and the domestic. Those poets and readers who have valued Roberts' work have been experimentalists. Even at this distance, she challenges and instructs, at the level of diction, syntax and achieved form. She relentlessly opens out the language of poetry, she is free with extremes of subject, scale and conception, and her work has flourished in its very marginality. Now, with republication, she is restored as an extraordinary poet in the development of twentieth century British poetry. As a Welsh writer, her best work stands alongside that of her near-contemporaries, David Jones, R.S. Thomas and Dylan Thomas. As a woman poet, her work bears comparison with that of both Mina Loy and Djuna Barnes.

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    Collected Poems5

    Mark Thwaite Lynette Roberts only published one full collection of poems during her lifetime, but that collection (Poems, 1944) was brought out by Faber & Faber and edited by no less than T.S. Eliot. Today her work may have been almost forgotten, "but her vivid, modern, hot-blooded writing about a Welsh village and her time there during the Second World War" was very much appreciated back in the forties and fifties: Robert Graves -- no slouch himself when it came to poetry -- said she was "one of the few poets now writing." Her neglect is something of a scandal.

    Roberts "was brought up in a wealthy family in Argentina but married a writer from Carmarthenshire in 1939 at the outbreak of war and spent the next nine years living in poverty in a Welsh-speaking village. She involved herself in every aspect of village life and despite being accused of being a spy found a fierce passion for the local people and the landscape." According to Patrick McGuinness -- whose excellent long introductory essay at the start of this edition of Robert's Collected Poems is a must read -- the fact that her work "communicated before it made sense" was, for T.S. Eliot, testament to its great strength.

    You might not have heard of Lynette Roberts, but she is one Welsh war poet you really should read. Superb stuff. by Mark Thwaite

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