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This review is taken from PN Review 33, Volume 10 Number 1, September - October 1983.

AT THE EDGE Ted Walker, The High Path (Routledge) £7.95

At the end of The High Path, about to leave his home at Lancing for Cambridge University, Ted Walker reflects: 'Unsentimentally I loved - because I needed - the place. Preposterously unplanned, jerry-built, without style or charm, not twee enough to be comic, not blistered enough to be melancholy, a band of bricks between neglected fields and high-water mark, it was neither country nor town nor suburbia. 'God, what a dump', I had heard someone comment about the hub of my universe.' The effect of this is shocking, as of a spell momentarily broken; the spell however is not an illusion but the book's truth, which is now interrupted by a false external view. For a moment, looking back over it, we see a living world with a sightseer's dead eye.

As Keats truly said, 'The great beauty of Poetry is, that it makes every thing every place interesting'. The interest is inherent, of course; the poet makes it by revealing and articulating the interest of places and things. This is what Ted Walker does with the world known in his childhood and youth, in a working-class family in Lancing in the years immediately before, during and after the Second World War.

As one would expect from the poet of Fox on a Barn Door, Ted Walker has a marvellous sense of the things of the sea's edge. He remarks on the fact that the Eskimos have no single word for snow, and proceeds to ...


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