I came to this book reluctantly,ready to do “homework” – as Ros Barber will be one of two poets mentoring on an Arvon course I’ll soon be attending. I was put off by its bulk, its dry cover, the “Dramatis Personae” – listing the characters I was about to meet – as I say – a reluctant reader
But by page five, when I read this:
The woman might be forty-five, or twelve./ A calculated innocence, a face/ so open blank, it seems revealing as/ it hides itself.
…………………………………………………I was starting to warm, but by page 16 I was sold:
‘He’s come to Cambridge, Thomas Watson.’
‘I swear. Staying with some old friend of his.
He’s come to see your Dido.’
Nineteen years old, and my first play is born
on a student stage fusty with Latin jokes.
Act One starts in an hour, the snow is thick
across the quad, and crunches underfoot
as Knowles and I make for the buttery.
‘You can’t be sure.’
‘The rumour’s sound. He’ll come.
He’ll love it Kit.’
‘He’ll recognise those lines
where Dido dies. I robbed the pith from him.’
‘Be calm. He’ll take it as a compliment’.
published by Sceptre – it is beautifully written, easy to read, visual. Now at page 64, I am fighting with myself – whether to race through or ration…Yup I recommend !