Guides to a deeper journey

WILLIAM YEOMAN unlocks emotional highways

Poets, poetry and travel. William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Banjo Paterson, John Kinsella, Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Bishop… the list goes on. One of my particular favourites is Ithaka, by C. P. Cavafy (translated here by Edmund Keeley): “As you set out for Ithaka/hope your road is a long one,/full of adventure, full of discovery.”

Now UK poet Prue Chamberlayne, who divides her time between London and the Aveyron, has launched her first collection, Locks Rust, after “15 years of wrestle and delight with the musicality and craft of poetry”.

Prue and partner Tom are curious as they are cosmopolitan and well-travelled. So it comes as no surprise that Prue’s poetry should be so richly informed by a lifetime’s worth of travels — and travails.

“As metaphors for the travail of writing poetry such explorations may well draw you as a reader into new realms of creative experience — as others have found,” Prue says.

Perhaps poetry is the sensory and emotional seismograph par excellence. In Prue’s poetry, words register the quakes and quiverings of the soul as much as the sublunary world. The sounds are sensuous and sensual, the music not just rhythm, but texture and timbre. But what are these explorations Prue alludes to?

“While poems in this collection take the reader to places as far-flung as Uzbekistan, Lindisfarne, East Africa and NSW, their geographical centres lie in two areas: the river Severn along the border of England and Wales and the rugged mountains of the north Aveyron in France,” she says.

Hungarian-born British poet and translator Georges Szirtes writes that Locks Rust is an “intensely visceral and precise exploration of the elemental and physical. Landscape opened to its machinery and depths.” Which rather sounds like the perfect summary of a successful journey — across land, sea and page alike.

This is an edited version of the original, full-length story, which you can read here.

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