Ruth Bidgood

Matthew Jarvis

Matthew Jarvis

Distributed for University of Wales Press

200 pages | 14 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2012
Paper $15.00 ISBN: 9780708325223 Published August 2012 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only


Ruth Bidgood published her first book of poetry in 1972, the year she turned fifty, and she has been writing about the landscape and communities of her mid-Wales homeland ever since. This book is the first full-length study of Bidgood’s life and work, considering her career to date and providing detailed scrutiny of her poetry from its genesis in the 1960s to her prizewinning 2009 volume Time Being. While acknowledging the breadth of Bidgood’s poetic work and artistic concerns, Matthew Jarvis argues that her most important achievement is the creation, over many years, of what has become nothing less than a mid-Wales epic.
Jarvis’s perceptive study is supplemented by previously unpublished writing by Bidgood—two politically striking early poems and one long letter responding to what she saw as a misinterpretation of her work. An extended bibliography of material by and about Bidgood rounds out the volume, ensuring that it will be a valuable resource both for further scholarly research and for readers who wish to extend their engagement with the poet.


Jane Aaron, University of Glamorgan
“With its persuasively argued thesis that Ruth Bidgood’s twelve poetry collections compose one integrated epic poem in praise of mid-Wales—its history, its inhabitants, its traditions, and its landscape—this thoughtful and thoroughly researched book casts new light on its subject. Bidgood’s achievement stands out clearly from its pages, which ring true, like her poems.”
List of Illustrations

1. Finding Mid-Wales
2. Towards a Poetics of Abergwesyn
3. Myth and the Sacred
4. The Necessity of Darkness
5. Other Histories
6. A Mid-Wales Epic

Appendix A: Publication in magazines during the 1960s
Appendix B: Two unpublished early poems
Appendix C: Unpublished letter to Poetry Wales
Select Bibliography
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