New and Selected Poems
This New and Selected Poems by Ruth Bidgood features work from her five early collections, starting with The Given Time (1972) through Kindred (1986) along with selections from her more recent volumes, The Fluent Moment (1996) and Singing to Wolves (2000). The final section is devoted to over fifty pages of new poems.
This generous selection of work highlights the steady accumulation of a significant oeuvre. Bidgood’s ostensible subjects are the storied landscape and history of her region of mid-Wales, the hills and valleys of Powys and Breconshire, but her themes frequently have a wider reach, a spiritual depth that is often darkly suggestive and mysterious.
There are many of her most characteristic poems here, like ‘Sheep in the Hedge’ and ‘At Strata Florida’ and ‘Edward Bache to his Sister’ (a found piece from a historical letter – another typical device). The new section includes, amongst other things, ‘Llanvetherine Angel’ from her series about angels, ‘Bereft’, an elegy to R.S. Thomas, and a persuasive group called ‘Riding the Flood’.
Born at Seven Sisters, near Neath, and educated at Port Talbot and Oxford, Ruth Bidgood worked as a coder in the Egyptian desert in World War II. After living in London for some years, in the 1960s she returned to Wales, making her home near Llanwrtyd Wells. As well as a poet, she is also a noted local historian