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Christine Evans

Christine Evans, Selected Poems

Christine Evans

Selected Poems by Christine Evans is a panorama of work by one of Wales' most distinctive poetic voices. The volume contains poems from four collections: Looking Inland (1983), Falling Back (1986), Cometary Phases (1989) and Island of Dark Horses (1995). Foremost in Christine Evans' work is a sense of place. While she is native to Yorkshire, her lyric is born of the Llyn peninsula in north Wales where she lives. A record in verse of life on the island of Bardsey (Welsh 'Enlli'), Island of Dark Horses epitomises the sense of belonging which pervades her work. The book describes the experience of resettling the island and culminates in a monumental seven hundred line celebration of 'an island at the extremity of a green peninsula' where 'all night the lighthouse prints its sixteen squares on the whitewashed wall', and '...the welcoming cross stands high, beckons to the waiting pilgrims across two miles of enigmatic ocean'. The descriptions of daily life on the island are interspersed with historical passages which evoke Enlli's religious past: '...to the lowbrowed shelters on the hill came other men of faith and power - Tanwg, Maelrhys, Hywyn, Cadfan - and it was turned to Insula Sanctorum'. But perhaps Enlli is a place oblivious to man's preoccupations where 'the long waves sing as they run home to find smooth grey nests they have scooped in the land' and '...in a burrow no longer than a boy's arm the shearwater waits for night...' In Christine Evans' Selected Poems, language and place combine to celebrate the 'hum of bees in late-flowering heather', 'chapel bell and foghorn', and 'women carrying milk, carrying water, carrying wood and children born and unborn'.


 

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