Diaries, Letters and Recollections by Lynette Roberts (Edited by Patrick McGuinness) - review by Elspeth Barker

Elspeth Barker

A Mouse on the Jasmine

Diaries, Letters and Recollections


Carcanet 229pp £14.95

In an undated, mysterious and isolated sentence towards the end of this volume, Lynette Roberts wrote that 'the two angels were given to me by Sonia Brownell, symbolizing Keidrych and myself, who have not been acknowledged in the literary world for over thirty years’. And now for much longer. We know that Sonia Brownell became George Orwell's second wife, but who were Lynette Roberts and Keidrych? As her editor remarks, Lynette's obituaries in 1995 were for many the first they had heard of her for nearly fifty years. In 2005 Carcanet brought out her Collected Poems; this miscellany offers a prose counterpart, focusing almost entirely on her years of productivity (roughly 1939 to 1953) and ending with a jumble of autobiographical fragments which give tantalising hints of her earlier life.

Lynette Roberts wrote energetic, experimental poetry, much of it influenced by traditional Welsh forms and locutions; she had joyously submerged herself in these after her marriage to Keidrych Rhys, formerly known as William Ronald Rhys Jones, writer, editor and publisher of the Druid Press and Poetry Wales. Through the Forties

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