Long Hair, Young Hair, Braided and Defiant Hair

Dinah Birch

  • Mary George of Allnorthover by Lavinia Greenlaw
    Flamingo, 320 pp, £12.99, March 2001, ISBN 0 00 710595 9

It is hard to make a living from poetry. Lavinia Greenlaw has turned her hand to all manner of activities to support her work – publishing, teaching, arts administration, posts as writer-in-residence. These haven’t just been ways of paying the bills: her imagination has been cultivated by dealing with institutions. Greenlaw’s writing fuses feeling with lucid observation, driving lyricism into a more public space. Her most recent collection, A World Where News Travelled Slowly (1997), was in part a product of a period spent as writer-in-residence at the Science Museum in London. These poems think about interactions between the discourses of science and poetry, technology and history. The title poem is an expression of changing fashions in communication, in a world where news travels quickly but might be lost in the telling:

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