Tuesday Poetics: : Literary Alchemy with Laurie Lee

Laura Bloomsbury challenges us to match styles with Laurie Lee…


I’m a sucker for synchronicity and having chosen to focus on this particular poet, a timely connection with his birthdate (26.6.1914) and today’s Poetics challenge became apparent.

As with most of my favourite naturalist poets, Laurie Lee employed description with the light touch of lyricism, devoid of complex structures or the aggrandisement of the Romantics. In fact in answer to his critic Roy Fuller, his riposte was: ‘You dare me to be more complicated, but I dare to achieve simplicity’.

And he succeeds too – take for example his Christmas Landscape:
“There is hunger in the mouth
Of vole and badger,
Silver agonies of breath
In the nostril of the fox,
Ice on the rabbit’s paw”

True, Lee was a Neo-Romantic willing at times to sacrifice meaning for the mellifluous (though not to the extent that Dylan Thomas does). After all, he was musician too and hence…

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