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  Top » Catalog » Pages » Reviews
The Hope of Place Selected Poems in English 199񩐬010 by Alan M. Kent

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Reviewed by Cyril Jones in, 28 January 2011

The couplet "If you are born Cornish/then the past always weighs heavy on you" from the poem Curse sums up many of the themes in this selection.

Although the places that have inspired many of the poems are not confined to Cornwall, the reader is continually aware that they are marked with the historical sensibilities of the seafaring, tin-mining Cornishman.

The prize-winning poem The Carvings at Treloyhan describe how "motifs melt and mingle/the way they do in Cornwall,/a layerdness of time" and many of these poems could also be described as contemporary motifs or word-layers.

Out of the Ordinalia, written in couplets, is a year- by-year account of Cornwall's history over five centuries.

One couplet tells us: "1778 This Cornwall, without her language's rich bounty/becomes the South West, some other 'English' county."

So throughout the collection the reader is aware that the deepest layer of all is the rich vein of a lost language, buried under the "naughty Englyshe."

In the dialect poem Fust things Fust this vein comes to the surface and encapsulates the latent tension and guilt that informs the whole collection, particularly the final lines "I may have your language now, but fust things fust/stop bein's' naughty and callin' me Englyshe."

Occasionally, the poet's enthusiasm to remind and enlighten the reader of the rootedness of the Cornish literary heritage is overwhelming in this 300-page collection.

But these English-medium poems deserve a wide readership outside Cornwall and should serve as stark reminders of how cultural and linguistic diversities have - and are - being eroded under the heel of globalisation.

It would be misleading to suggest that all the poems are directly linked to Cornish themes.

Other poems such as the astute, humorous portrait Gaining Acceptance: Lady Chatterley and my Uncle and the contemporary surfing-inspired poem Cribbar deserve a wide readership.

The title of the collection suggests that places in many respects are monuments to the past.

But they are living monuments - and there lies the hope.

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Regular Cornish language classes with Mick Paynter.

London. The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery permanent exhibition of women in medicine.

First Sunday of every month, Redruth. Shout with the Red River singers.

Second Wednesday of every month, Luxulyan. Prys Ton Cornish Music Session.

Until 6 May 2018, Leicester. Lancelot Ribeiro: A Voyage of Discovery, an exhibition tracing the story of this important Indian artist.

5 March 2018, Bodmin. Gool Perran St Piran抯 Tide procession and street dance at Mount Folly.

5 March 2018, Newquay. Gool Perran St Piran抯 Tide procession through Newquay followed by a singing session.

6th, 13th, 20th, 27th March 2018, Cornwall. Singing rehearsals for the Man Engine events.

10 March 2018, Manchester. Discover the suffrage movement through papers, posters and performance at the People抯 History Museum.

10 March 2018, Bude. Closing Dance at the Pagan Regional Conference with Merv and Alison Davey.

13 March 2018, Salisbury Cathedral. A talk by Elizabeth Crawford about Millicent Fawcett and her circle.

15 March 2018, London. Book Launch of The Red Vial by Wilkie Collins with dramatic readings from the play by Di Sherlock and Simon Vaughan.

24 March 2018, Southwark Cathedral. Elizabeth Crawford gives an illustrated talk: Pictures and Politics: the art of suffrage propaganda.

24 March 2018, Museum of London Elizabeth Crawford joins a panel discussion on the legacy of the suffrage movement through the eyes of contemporary writers.

31st March 2018, Pendeen. Man Engine Resurrection Tour afternooner event at the Geevor Tin Mine.

Friday 30 March to Monday 30 April 2018, Cornwall. Alan M. Kent抯 new play, The Incredible Balti Celtic Carpet Ride tour, tours Cornwall.

1 April 2018, Pool. Man Engine Resurrection Tour afternooner event at Heartlands, Pool.

5 April 2018, London. Launch of Art and Suffrage with a Q&A with the author Elizabeth Crawford.

7 April 2018 2018, Newquay. Nos Dons Kernow / Cornish dance night with Tan Ha Dowr.

19 April 2018, St Just. Cornish music at Trevithick Day, Camborne.

28 April 2018, Camborne. Man Engine Resurrection Tour afternooner event at Heartlands, Pool.