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Stone Face and Other Poems, The (Corgi Series: 17)

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Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • ISBN: 978086381717
  • Author: Harri Webb
  • Publication February 2005
  • Format: Paperback, 148x103 mm, 112 pages

A collection of the work of the nationalist poet Harri Webb (1920-94), comprising 56 passionate and lyrical poems gleaned from various volumes of poetry, many poems presenting a historical perspective and inspired by the Welsh landscape.

Gwales Review
The diverse range of poems by the popular Welsh poet Harri Webb is captured in this collection. Ranging from the satirical to the more lyrical, this is an engaging collection throughout.

Active within the Welsh Republicans and Plaid Cymru, he was known as 'the people’s poet', and his very direct and sociable style reflects this, as does his deeply passionate works, such as ‘Israel’ and ‘Patagonia’: ‘They planted vegetables but nothing grew. /Because there was no rain. It was Aaron Jenkins/ From Troedyrhiw who first cut a channel/ That brought floodwater to his parched wheat.’

The humorous and cutting ‘Ode to the Severn Bridge’ is equally hard-hitting in its directness: ‘Two lands at last connected/ Across the waters wide/ And all the tolls collected/ On the English side.’ The shorter intense poems all follow a similar vein.

The longer and more visually rich poems are conceptual in their subject matter and contain the twists and turns needed to make more of a narrative. ‘Above Tregaron’ describes the land in this area and all that it evokes. A similar approach is seen in ‘By a Mountain Pool’ - ‘As deep and dark as if it were the sea. Is this my country’s image?’ - and in the moving ‘That Summer’ which captures the memories of a five-year-old boy during the General Strike. The emotion portrayed in these longer poems comes from a cleverly arranged build-up of the language that he uses to describe the environment.

It is easy to imagine Harri Webb reciting these poems in public. His political astuteness and entertaining wit is very much to the fore.

Clare Maynard