Christine Evans: Selected Poems
Winner of the inaugural Roland Mathias Prize, Christine Evans’ Selected Poems is an immensely wideranging and accomplished overview of this major poet’s work.
This persuasive volume by Christine Evans selects poems from her four published collections. Often set in the wind-swept, harsh but beautiful rural landscapes of north Wales, her work offers precise observation, lyrical commentary and sensitive portrayals of family and neighbours. Included here are the unusual long poems: 1986’s Falling Back, a book-length, elegaic piece about a widow coming to terms with the death of her shepherd husband; ‘Cometary Phases’ where a winter of star-watching charts a son’s growth; and ‘Island of Dark Horses’ a celebration of the mysterious island of Bardsey, or Enlli, ancient site of Christian pilgrimage now home to a small farming community and a magnet for tourists.
In confident and ambitious pieces like ‘Deep Under’ and ‘Fodder’ the poet starts with externals and then moves deeper, using the landscape as metaphor for emotional or spiritual states. She can also do the reverse and use local detail to touch on the political and universal, as in ‘Small Rain’ - a poem about the effects of Chernobyl. Readers will appreciate how the author’s keen grasp of the local and particular leads out into the political and universal.
With two of her books long out of print, Selected Poems is a welcome opportunity for new readers to experience the work of a consummate poet.