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Ruth Bidgood: A Poet in the Heart of Wales


Born on 20 July 1922 in the south Wales mining village of Seven Sisters, Glamorgan, Ruth Bidgood has been writing poetry since the mid-1960s and is now one of Wales’s most significant poets. Particularly associated with the mid-Wales area surrounding the remote north Breconshire village of Abergwesyn – where she lived for many years – Bidgood is known for her in-depth poetic engagement with the stories, people and land of this particular region. Whilst suggesting that Bidgood’s work is notable for its easy conversational form, this article argues that her poetry is substantially rooted in a striking darkness of perspective and that there is a persistent brutality to aspects of that mid-Wales work which is the core of her poetic output. However, the analysis offered here also contends that a significant vein of celebration runs counter to such darkness. The article thus concludes by proposing that Bidgood’s oeuvre offers up a richly nuanced and varied picture of the mid-Wales region that she has made her home.


Keywords: Ruth Bidgood; contemporary English-Language poets of Wales; historical memory; poetry and local history; poetry and topography; Roland Mathias Prize


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