Thursday, March 16, 2006

People and Places

She Came to Stay: I'm fascinated with that magical and indissoluble link between the real and tangible landscape of a place and a writer's imaginative and intangible re-creation of it in prose or poetry; it was this that gave me the impetus for the research of the book I'm now writing on Devon's women writers. My home county especially holds me enthralled with its spell of special scenery reflected in the evocations of many texts. Once the bond is established it's akin to that powerful connection established between two lifelong friends, or that of mother and child: Hardy and Wessex or Mary Webb and Shropshire seem to connote that inextricable link.

I plan a web-site but for now I'll post occasionally, for practice, a place, with a poem, prose or some preamble.

I'll begin with H.D. : she began all this for me twenty years ago and now there is a kind of synchronicity of dates and time it being 90 years ago that she came to stay in north Devon. From mid February 1916 she and Richard Aldington rented the Old Schoolhouse in Martinhoe and by 6th March they were in Woodland Cottage in the same village. The cottage is "wild and pagan" and has "a brook backed by a wooded hill with small mountain in front and the sea" is only "half a mile down the valley"; her Sea Garden is due to be published and she is apparently preparing another volume as well as writing a variety of other texts. The similarity between real landscape and inner landscape of the Sea Garden poems is startling, yet those poems were apparently composed before her trip to north Devon. She is probably working on her translation of Ion as well as drafting "Nossis" and "Heliodora", thus imprinting her beloved Greek material onto the wild, coastal scenery surrounding her.

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