Cornish Mizzle — Gillian Penrose
In this return to home, Gillian Penrose’s acute sense of place and lucid observations balance against the inevitability of change and the inescapable impact of technology on the environment. Yet she finds there a place not only of memory but of belonging across generations. Linguistically deft and full of original imagery, this is a short collection that repays each reading.
It’s as if no matter how the poet tries to hold the reader’s attention with a range of verse styles, plant-life insists on colouring these poems with a pleasing sense of irrepressible nature. A stand out piece is ‘Goodbye at Perranuthnoe 2007’, an elegy where ‘… there I laid her to rest, a small cloud infusing a deep pool’. Other poems capture well known Cornish landmarks, such as St Michael’s Mount and The Barbara Hepworth Museum with interesting twists of language and context — a souvenir of a landscape lived and loved.
Of herself, Gillian Penrose says: “It’s reassuring to know that there are still unspoilt areas of Cornwall as wonderful as my childhood memories. I return with our family to Cornwall every year to find inspiration and also to visit places less well known to me. Cornish by birth but now a resident of Bristol my professional career as an architect-town planner has made me very aware of my surroundings in visual terms. I accept that (hopefully for good reasons) places do change hence my poems often comment on the impact of modern life on the natural environment.”