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What If This Road and Other Poems (Corgi Series: 11)

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Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • ISBN: 9780863817113
  • Author: Sheenagh Pugh
  • Publication October 2003
  • Edited by Meic Stephens
  • Format: Paperback, 103x148 mm, 84 pages

A pocket-size collection of poems by the Birmingham-born poet now living in Cardiff, who combines a subtle and adept technique with a sharp wit, a keen eye and a pointed sense of humour.

Gwales Review
This is a fascinating collection of poems with a huge variety in the subject matter. There is something for everyone here; it is perfect for dipping into and provides much food for thought.

Sheenagh Pugh studied Russian and German and has translated many poems by the German and French poets. This background has contributed texture and complexity to her writing. She often writes about everyday things such as waste paper flying around in a gale, graffiti, or the VCR, but she turns them around, depicting them in an unusual way, or writing about thoughts which are rarely expressed in words.

This collection of poems covers the topics of death, the legacy of music, and descriptions of nature, but also those more philosophical and contemplative subjects such as the humanity of a torturer, capable of both love and cruelty, adultery in the mind, or the risks we take to discover the end of a story, or the destination of a road.

Sheenagh Pugh is interested in history, particularly that of Scandinavia and Shetland. This interest is evident in poems about the Queen of Scots, a falconer making a hawk in the same way as a rider breaks a horse, a Prussian Prince, and a Victorian adventurer.

Among my favourites are ‘Captain Roberts Goes Looting’ about a sea captain who values a fragrant cup of tea over traditional plunder, and the wry irony of ‘Two Retired Spymasters’ (one of the few rhyming poems in this collection) who cannot escape death for all their espionage skill. Best of all are ‘Brief Lives’ which beautifully depicts an island in a gale, and ‘Stonelight’ which explores the relationship of stone, light and the ever-changing ocean.

Catriona Jackson