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This report is taken from PN Review 265, Volume 48 Number 5, May - June 2022.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
Ruth Bidgood, poet and local historian, died in January in her hundredth year. We met a few times, in crowded gatherings, the last, I think, in 2011, when she was awarded the Roland Mathias Prize for Time Being, her twelfth collection of poems. I recall the discussion in committee that preceded the occasion and the unanimous choice. Such is the charm of alphabetical order, her poems rub shoulders with mine in several numbers of Poetry Wales in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Meic Stephens was editor. She contributed to four of the five ‘ordinary’ numbers when I briefly took over the editorial chair and went on contributing to PW, the Anglo-Welsh Review and Planet over the years that followed. You might expect we should have been well acquainted, as I was with many writers who lived across south Wales at that time, but not in this case. Her home was a long way off, along mostly country roads that prohibited ease of contact. Even when, somewhat later, I had responsibilities in what became Powys and travelled quite widely there, I rarely ventured beyond Builth into the remote fastness where she had made her home.   

Daughter of a Welsh-speaking Anglican clergyman and a former elementary school teacher from Somerset, she was born in the small, anthracite-mining village of Seven Sisters, near Neath, at the western edge of old Glamorgan, and educated at Port Talbot Secondary (ie Grammar) School. There she was taught by a highly influential English teacher, Philip Burton, whose surname was borrowed by a fellow pupil, Richard Jenkins, when he embarked on ...


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