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This report is taken from PN Review 179, Volume 34 Number 3, January - February 2008.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

Roland Mathias died on 16 August 2007, a few weeks short of his ninety-second birthday. He had suffered a stroke in May 1986 from which he never fully recovered. With typical fortitude, and with the constant support of his wife, Molly, he slowly regained the use of limbs and learned to speak again. He had from his school days preserved items of interest from newspapers and magazines, not least concerning his own career and achievements. There were already a few old and well-stuffed scrapbooks and during his long recuperation he made several more,

carefully adding captions to cuttings and photographs. By the beginning of the 1990s he was corresponding with friends, though more briefly than hitherto, and setting aside hours in the week when he would sit in his study and try to write poems.

He saw himself first and foremost as a poet, but had filled his life so completely with labours, never undertaken lightly, or given short measure, as educationalist, short story writer, historian, editor, reviewer, literary critic, committee chairman, lecturer, preacher, that his poetry blossomed in odd corners of his life. During his days as teacher and headmaster, poems begun during one school holiday might be finished in the next. Now, with time enough and to spare, composition was difficult and very slow. Seven poems were written between December 1991 and 2000, five (including a short sequence after the manner of Edgar Lee Masters) were included in A Field at ...


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