Without nostalgia who could love England?
Without a sentimental attachment to tolerance
Who could delight in this cramped corner country . . . ?
(From ‘England’ – page 44 in Poems 1955-2005 by Anne Stevenson)
My recently reactivated interest in the disturbingly wide impact of trauma in various forms on our lives leads me to republish this sequence on Edward Thomas. I feel I underestimated the influence of his childhood on his struggles as an adult. Most of the texts I explored for this review drew a veil over any of the details of his early life. Only Andrew Motion’s book about his poetry gave any real hint. His depression, I speculated briefly in the first post, may have had its roots in his problematic relationship with his father: to describe this relationship Andrew Motion uses the word ‘tyrannise’ in his account of Thomas’s poetry. A brief trawl of the web has…
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