Book Review – In Her Own Words

So…..apparently when I said Monday I actually meant the day after Easter Monday – who knew?


In Her Own Words: Women Talking Poetry and Wales by Alice Entwistle

In her own words

I’m always interested in writers talking about their approach to their own work and being at such an early stage of my own career, any window into the practicalities of the writing life is very welcome. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed  Don’t Ask Me What I Mean: Poets in Their Own Words during the course of my time at university I was expecting something very similar and I suppose in some aspect it is. It is after all writer’s talking about writing, but the interview format really adds something to it – a different dimension from an essay where you get the sense that the writers had thoughts pulled out of them that they might not have articulated on their own.

Throughout the course of the series of interviews Alice Entwistle has conducted she explores the unique experience of being a woman poet in Wales. directly from the writer’s point of view. Whilst there is a definite feeling of ‘Welshness’ this is by no means a confining factor and simply adds another intriguing dimension to this in depth inquiry into what it truly means to be both a poet and a woman. For a relatively slender volume it does a lot of work and can easily be dipped in an out of – I read it one interview at a time over the course of a few months and I have no doubt I will return to it in future.

My only quibble is perhaps a bit of a strange one. Wisdom inevitably comes with age and many of these women are well established in their field and as such give excellent advice. However, and this may be just me, I did find myself wishing for a few more youthful perspectives, for contras. Perhaps it’s just that I’m still waiting for someone to write the book about what it’s like to be a young poet now with the arts so chronically underfunded and the outlets for this expression constantly shrinking.

Any takers?

There’s probably going to be a few posts up this week to make up for the blackout – and the next Book Review Tuesday as it appears to now be will be for Damian Walford Davies’ two excellent poetry collections Witch and Judas.


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