Lights — Ruth Bidgood
The latest publication from Ruth Bidgood is always a treat. Now well into her nineties, Ruth continues to write, and to write at the peak of her powers. Lights melds reminiscence and observation against the backdrop of a long life and the beloved landscape of her home. It is an extraordinary body of work from an extraordinary person.
Of Ruth’s work, the late Anne Cluysenaar observed:
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.
Born in Seven Sisters, Glamorgan, Ruth was educated in Port Talbot before reading English at Oxford University. During World War II, she served as a Wren in the Middle East. She was sub-editor of Chambers’ Encyclopedia. After many years in Surrey, Ruth returned to Wales and settled in Abergwesyn where she started to write poems and document local history.
Her work has been published in various journals and collections. Not Without Homage (Christopher Davies, 1975) received a Welsh Arts Council award; and both Selected Poems (Seren, 1992) and The Fluent Moment (Seren, 1996) were shortlisted for the Welsh Arts Council Book of the Year Award in 1993 and 1997. Her New and Selected Poems (Seren, 2004) was shortlisted for the Roland Mathias Prize in 2005 and Time Being (Seren, 2009) won the Roland Mathias Prize for 2011 and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Ruth is a Fellow of Academi. A full-length study of her work was written by Matthew Jarvis. Her previous collections with Cinnamon Press include Hearing Voices (2008), Above the Forests (2012) and this beautiful tête-bêche double collection, Land Music / Black Mountains. Lights is her latest pamphlet collection.
(Author photo by Liz Flemming-Williams)