REVIEW by Steven Lovatt

NWR Issue 103

Poetry, Geography, Gender: Women Rewriting Contemporary Wales (Gender Studies in Wales)

by Alice Entwistle

This book considers the ways in which poetry written by Wales-affiliated women can open new possibilities of imagining the nation and the self. It holds many rewards for the reader prepared to take the author’s insights with some academic roughage. In six short but rich chapters, Alice Entwistle examines the work of established and emerging poets such as Gwyneth Lewis and Zoë Skoulding for evidence that it ‘collectively imagine[s] a reorienting Wales, its altering sense of geopolitical selfhood anchored in its new transcultural purview’.

The book’s guiding premises are straightforward: Wales and Welshness, being concepts rather than immutable entities, are constantly remade in our changing perceptions of them. Poets, possessing heightened awareness of the possibilities of language, are better placed than most to notice and participate in this process of concept-sculpting, which is achieved not only by what they write but also by the ways in which they choose to employ or deviate from their inheritance of metrical forms, which are themselves culturally and ideologically loaded...

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