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This report is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

Remembering Anne Ridler Grevel Lindop

The voice has a musical lilt to it, but also something self-deprecatory. Often the sentences end on a note of amused resignation: admissions of uncertainty, touches of wry comedy. It is a speech of mutuality, unconcerned with self-assertion but keen to share the exploration of idea and experience. The tape is poor, the recording fuzzy and rumbling, but Anne Ridler's voice and personality are unmistakable. What stands out from the record of our interview, or rather conversation, in that already far-distant October of 1994, is a continual questioning - not on my part but on hers.

I hear myself ask Anne whether the writing of poetry amidst the fears and pressures of the Second World War had been in any way therapeutic. Her reply bounces back, full of enthusiasm: 'Very hard to say, isn't it? These things are very...rather deep. I know - "A timely utterance gave that thought relief" - I don't think it helped to reconcile one to danger, but I suppose the individual pressure of pain does find a kind of momentary assuagement...' And so the invitation to autobiography or introspection becomes an opportunity to test the accuracy of a line from Wordsworth's 'Immortality' Ode, a possible overstatement (or just a discordant repetition?) is corrected as the second 'very' is changed to a more carefullyweighted 'rather', and we are all invited to join the investigation: 'Very hard to say, isn't it?'

Anne Ridler's death on 15 October robbed us not only of ...


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