Shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year 2022
Wales's best-loved contemporary poet, one of the major poets of our endangered environment, returns to prose in Roots Home.
As in At the Source (2008), she does something unusual with form. She combines two elements. Seven vivid essay-meditations, informed by (among others) Dylan Thomas, George Herbert and W. B. Yeats, explore the ways in which poetry bears witness to what is and what might be, presence and transcendence in a threatened world. The meditations precede a journal that runs from January 2018 to December 2020, concluding with a poem entitled 'Winter Solstice' - three years of living close to animals, mountains, and (in particular) trees, in human intimacy and lockdown. 'Listen! They are whispering / now while the world talks, / and the ice melts, / and the seas rise. / Look at the trees!...'
This is necessary work. As she declares in 'Why I Write', the first meditation in Roots Home: 'Morning begins with my journal. I write in it most days, though not every day. It is friend and listener, to record, remember, rage and rhapsodise, a place for requiem and celebration. Words hold detail which might be forgotten - the way the hare halted as it crossed the lawn, the field where a rainbow touched down across the valley, the different voices of wind, or water, the close and distant territorial arias of May blackbirds.'