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This review is taken from PN Review 178, Volume 34 Number 2, November - December 2007.

MYTHS OF PLACE MARGARET LLOYD, A Moment in the Field (Plinth Books) $12
ANDREW JORDAN, Ha Ha (Shearsman Books) £8.95

Ancient matters, located in British landscapes, inform both Margaret Lloyd's new book and Andrew Jordan's. They treat them in quite different ways. What they have in common, however, is renewal both of the materials and of pastoral poetry. As the subtitle, 'Voices from Arthurian Legend', indicates, 'voice' is a key feature of Margaret Lloyd's book, which is a sequence of poems giving expression to a number of figures. Most of these are women, such as Igraine, Isolde, Morgan, and Guinivere, although the experiences of male figures, including Merlin and Arthur, are represented, too. The landscapes in and of which they speak are elemental and mythological, like the ancient British landscapes of The Mabinogi. Andrew Jordan's book, which is in four parts, also has the character of linked sequences. Its landscapes are those of southern England, strongly marked by history and myth, and its 'figures', as well as the male speaker and his female companion, are landscape features, such as enclosures, barrows, stone circles, chalk hill-figures, and weapons establishments and cold war bunkers - all symbols of power.

The power with which Margaret Lloyd's figures are chiefly concerned is the power of love. 'Love can bury us alive and still we follow it' ('Merlin Speaks of Nineve'). Elaine of Corbenic expesses a similar sentiment: 'How close we are to love and madness every day'. Emotional intensity characterises the voices generally. The Maid of Astolat addresses the reader ('How has word come down of me?'):

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