Land Music / Black Mountains is a tête-bêche poetry collection bringing together an important body of themed work with exciting new poetry by Ruth Bidgood, and with an afterword by Matthew Jarvis.
Land Music sees Ruth Bidgood writing at the top of her powers. Fluent, yet unerringly exact, always searching for new perspectives, we move with the poet from landscape to memories, each evoked with such precision that we enter them fully. This is a world in which nothing is insignificant, from the tiles of pre-Raphaelite girls by the fireside which spell 'the unpredictability / of beauty's manifestations' to the visual trick of leaves in the wind that seem to conjure a lizard on a window-pane, over in an instant so that 'Nothing was left but the possible, / believable: sense / of something withdrawn before fully seen, / a small deprivation.' Above all it is a world in which land and place are central and will persist:
yet in wilderness places, life,
with a new defiant crying,
might launch again
its tiny assault on the void.
Drawn from previous collections spanning forty-four years, Black Mountains represents a strong thread through Ruth Bidgood's poetry, described by Matthew Jarvis as poems that are 'absolutely well-balanced, gently languaged into being without fuss or pyrotechnics'. Never embracing an Arcadian pastoral, Ruth Bidgood writes with extraordinary depth that is matched by measured control. One line flows easily into the next taking us to the heart of places that reverberate with memory and with a sense of how each moment is inextricably bound with the past.
Praise for Ruth Bidgood's previous work:
Intensity of attention, to the truth both of what is seen and of what is felt, is Ruth Bidgood's distinctive quality. … These are daring poems, open to speculative thought. And, crucially, they place truth of experience above the 'dust motes' of convention, combining deep feeling with keen intelligence.