Summer Solstice

Each summer, a number of public figures are asked to offer their suggestions for an ideal summer reading list, usually by some national daily newspaper wanting to pad out their Sunday supplements. When I read the said lists, I am often left deflated by recognising so few of the books on their lists although I… Continue reading Summer Solstice

The English Bookshop

Driving back to St Antonin Noble Val last week to re-stock and prepare the bookshop for another season, I was reminded of just how seldom it is that an idea matches up to the reality. Owning a bookshop is one of those rare exceptions. The sentiment, so often expressed by friends and visitors who see… Continue reading The English Bookshop

Dylan Thomas

Browsing the shelves of our bookshop in St Antonin Noble Val, ( I was intrigued to find a book of essays published in 1956 that gave an early assessment of Dylan Thomas’s poetry after the outburst of elegies and appreciations that immediately followed his death three years before. The writer of the article, David Daiches,… Continue reading Dylan Thomas

The Powys Brothers

Every year, I break off my holiday in France to return to England for the Powys Conference. For those who don’t know (and many don’t), the Powys family  consisted of the eleven children of the Reverend C F Powys and his wife Mary Cowper Powys, and included amongst their number a headmaster (Littleton), a talented… Continue reading The Powys Brothers

Christian Karlson Stead

‘Reading T. S. Eliot and reading about T. S. Eliot were equally formative experiences for my generation. One of the books about him which greatly appealed to me when I first read it … was The New Poetic by the New Zealand poet and critic, C. K. Stead…’ Seamus Heaney, The Government of the Tongue… Continue reading Christian Karlson Stead

Elizabeth Myers

Elizabeth Myers   Elizabeth Myers (1912 – 1947) was an English writer whose tragically early death from tuberculosis at the age of 34 years robbed denied her readers and admirers of one of the most promising writers to emerge from the war years. She was a formidable and original literary talent as is evident from… Continue reading Elizabeth Myers

Starting Late

Recently, we stayed at a newly opened hotel in Ely, named ‘The Poets House’ (without the apostophe). When I asked why it was so-named the answer was that a notable writer had lived there previously, hence the connection. The writer in question was Sybil Marshall whose claim to fame was not as a poet, but… Continue reading Starting Late

The Native Returns

We seem to be in the midst of a resurgence of interest in Thomas Hardy, both at home and abroad. The recent filming of a new version of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ in Dorset has certainly stirred local interest while even further abroad there have been signs of a renaissance of interest in the… Continue reading The Native Returns