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This article is taken from PN Review 136, Volume 27 Number 2, November - December 2000.

To Kathleen Raine Anne Ridler

As I try to define what I as a contemporary owe to Kathleen Raine, I know that I must write first as a poet speaking of a poet. Others will speak of the debt owed to her as a 'defender of ancient springs' (to use her own phrase); her courage in condemning the follies of contemporary critical fashion; the inspiration and sheer hard work involved in founding and maintaining Temenos. I as a poet a few years younger remember with gratitude her critical encouragement, justly admonishing me not to burden my poem with explanations of a meaning that should be implicit: 'One must trust one's medium.'

But most of all I honour and give thanks for a visionary poet who has always been true to her vision - the vision summed up in the epigraph to On a Deserted Shore: 'Anima est ubi amat, non ubi animat'; the soul is not where we live but where we love. Or, to quote one of her memorable lines: 'Love knows the face that each soul turns towards heaven'.

This integrity is reinforced by her accurate observation of the natural world which she loves so much. She has not been interested in technical experiment for its own sake, yet the chosen form always seems right for its subject-matter, and the gift for striking out memorable single lines has been hers from the beginning. 'It is not birds that speak, but men learn silence'; or (speaking of the blessed ...


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