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At the Source
A Writer's Year
ISBN: 978 1 857549 86 7
Categories: 21st Century, Welsh, Women
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: May 2008
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
On the first day of January I open a new journal and mark the cleanpage with a date, location, a first sentence… The first words print thefield of snow. I relish the moment, the pen, the white page.
At the Source reflects upon a writer’s deep inheritance of language, myth and nature. Her creative journeys begin from those sources. The book opens with a house, Blaen Cwrt. A river rises, a tributary which will flow on to the Atlantic, and a family has its roots there. There the Welsh poet Gillian Clarke writes in what was the byre, looking across a landscape worked and imagined by generations of farmers and poets.
Six chapters explore the relationship of places and languages, culture and family, geology and myth, in a poet’s imagination. At the heart of the book is a journal of the writer’s year. Lyrical, wise, meticulously observant, often humorous, Clarke records the experience of living and working on the land, observing the world from a particular place, the continuity and remaking of the source.
'Gillian Clarke’s outer and inner landscapes are the sources from which her poetry draws its strengths.' Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian
'Gillian Clarke’s [poems] ring with lucidity and power… Clarke’s work is both personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.' Anne Stevenson, Times Literary Supplement
Cover drawing copyright Mirlo Cai Cardenas. Reproduced by kind permission of the artist. Cover design StephenRaw.com
Praise for Gillian Clarke
'Clarke's mellifluous new collection [A Recipe for Water] is her first since her appointment as Wales's national poet in 2008. The drop of water on the tongue, she tells us, 'was the first word in the world', and it's through water that these poems give up their stories: history is written into the Arctic's ice; myths well up from river sources; the currents on the ocean wash culture and heritage onto our shores. Watery collections have poured forth from the pens of poets from Sean O'Brien to Maura Dooley in recent years; anticipation is high for Clarke's contribution to the pool'. - Sarah Crown, the Guardian, 3 January 2009
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