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Keeping Mum
     

Keeping Mum

by Gwyneth Lewis
 
Keeping Mum is the latest book of poems in English from Wales's bilingual virtuoso. It is a psychiatric detective story which explores the effect of a dying language on its speakers and looks at how abuses of language might lead to mental illness. Her investigation begins with a police interrogation, then broadens to take in a mental hospital, where the subject is

Overview

Keeping Mum is the latest book of poems in English from Wales's bilingual virtuoso. It is a psychiatric detective story which explores the effect of a dying language on its speakers and looks at how abuses of language might lead to mental illness. Her investigation begins with a police interrogation, then broadens to take in a mental hospital, where the subject is questioned by a psychiatrist. Finally she uncovers angles in a sequence of sonnets, finding messengers from another realm inside our everyday lives, speaking to us through depression and bereavement. Usually Gwyneth Lewis writes one book in Welsh, then a completely different one in English. Only Welsh-speakers get to see how both sides of her work express the dual personality of her country. Ruth McElroy has described how Lewis's books mark 'a shift into a different gear of Welsh poetry of both languages...she is one of very few poets to be equally probing and technically sophisticated in both languages...intuitively sensitive to the peculiarities of each'. Keeping Mum started out as a translation of Gwyneth Lewis's last Welsh book, Y Llofrudd laith or 'The Language Murderer', but took on a life of its own. The plot, characters and location have been completely recast in English. 'The detective story is as much a structure as a requiem, and we may see that patterns and structures are themselves themes in her poetry. It is at once a religious and a scientific fascination, not with the structures and patterns that explain or console, but with those that mystify and make strange' -- Patrick McGuinness, London Review of Books

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781852245832
Publisher:
Bloodaxe Books
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.18(d)

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