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This review is taken from PN Review 209, Volume 39 Number 3, January - February 2013.

Dissident Voices david caddy, So Here We Are (Shearsman Press) £12.95

When the publishing director of MiPO publications and miPOradio invited David Caddy to present a monthly series of literary talks, given in the manner of Alistair Cooke's Letters from America, the door was open to reintroduce the quiet and reflective mannerism of the long discredited art of belles-lettres, the Edwardian forebears of which litter the outside boxes of the remaining second-hand bookshops. However, beyond an exact concern for rurality and a wealth of inscriptive dates, Caddy's meditations have the much more important effect of bringing the art of poetry back to the 'common reader'. Starting from his own first brush with Shakespearean song at the Dorset primary school in Sturminster Newton, and his Secondary Modern education in an establishment where the Houses were divided up into Ralegh, Barnes, Young, and Hardy, Caddy offers us an evocation of a living sense of tradition: old people in the town had known both Thomas Hardy and Robert Young and the old School House which William Barnes had attended 'was now being used by the primary school as a dining room'. To register the living sense of a tradition Caddy reminds us that it was only seven years ago that a local protest against the development of a large house that altered the historic Sturminster Mill view used Hardy's poem 'On Sturminster Bridge' as a placard, and that this echoed the poetic protest led by Barnes in 1845 which prevented a railway cutting through the heart of Dorchester's Maiden Castle. A voice of ...


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