'Did anyone ever begin to be a poet at thirty-six in the shade?' Edward Thomas asked. This novel traces how, after a lifetime of prose, mostly written in the shade of angry despair, he did. Utterly unexpected changes follow, more than his faithful wife Helen would wish. She tells her story of watchful devotion and, she hopes, influence, often threatened by their powerful friend, Robert Frost. Beginning in the iconic summer of 1914 in a rural world full of rich promise and beauty, it is a story of friendships, marriage, tranquillity and war. The complexity and depth of Thomas' poetry emerges through his wrestling with words along with home, children, sowing, harvesting and the perpetual lack of money. It is the story of decisions, change and consequences, in a rural setting where what endures is the natural world and its inhabitants, those lives of which, as we now realize, we are simply one part.
'After teaching English in further education for a time, I worked in probation and social work for many years. I took a Masters in English Studies, just for fun, which is when my interest in Edward Thomas began. I have had poetry published but this is my first work of fiction, which was begun as I took the University of Oxford's two-year Creative Writing Diploma.' Margaret has considerable experience of Edward Thomas' work. Her MA thesis at Oxford Brookes was entitled, The Place of Edward Thomas in Twentieth Century Poetry. She is a member of the Edward Thomas Fellowship and extracts from an earlier draft of her novel were published in the Fellowship's newsletter. She is married to the artist Marc Thompson.
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- ID: 9780956424235
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