Restorations is a journey into what it means to preserve – a monument, a moment, a life-story, a poppy. It’s about the hunger to possess and the need to let go. Welding themes from art and history with the contemporary, there are poems about pigments and dictators, glue and glass houses, collections, crinolines, and barometers, and the vagaries of memory itself. Entwined, is a more personal story that tracks the loss of a parent to dementia. Also running through, is a theme of women eroding the straitjacket of gendered roles: we meet a variety of characters including the explorer, Isabella Bird, and the nineteenth century navigator Sarah Jane Rees (Cranogwen) who lived in Llangrannog in Ceredigion. Linking all is a play with colour, particularly blue, in all its stages from vital to decayed.
“No poet I know writes about art with such an intense feeling for its materiality, for smells and textures as well as the nuances of colour. If a poem is like a picture, these are history paintings, rich in human detail and many-layered in their brushwork.” – Matthew Francis
“From a discourse on the ingredients of glue to an interrogation of shellac, Rosalind Hudis honours painters, plant collectors and patients who hear ‘morse in the water pipes’ by lovingly restoring stories from remembered fragments. These poems are a masterclass in how to allow the energy at the centre of each poem to open like a concertina until we are engulfed by ‘a whitewash of song’.” – Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch
Rosalind Hudis reads her poem ‘Shellac’: