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The Faber Book of Poems and Places

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‘Places enter poems, sometimes incidentally, sometimes penetrating the poems as if place were their whole substance. It is not surprising. After all in places we grow up. Place is our external condition; place is garden, field, landscape, woods, fells, springs, rivers, estuaries, beaches, valleys, villages, towns, streets. Place is sunshine, rain, snow, ice. It is west, east, north and south. It is where the seasons change. Our feeling flows into places, and an accumulation of feeling, historical, cultural and personal, flows back from places into our consciousness.’

So Geoffrey Grigson introduces an anthology of ‘poems in which place is prominent’ which ranges not only geographically over the entire British Isles and the whole history of poetry in English, but includes sections on the landscape of France and Italy; there are poems in French about London and in English about Sorrento. Tennyson said: ‘A known landscape is to me an old friend that continually talks to me of my own youth and half-fogotten things.’ This and the related feelings for place find their expression and evocation in a selection of nearly three hundred poems which cannot fail to give pleasure to those who share those feelings, ‘poetry lovers’ or not, and shows Geoffrey Grigson’s gifts as an anthologist to full advantage.

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