Ruth Bidgood gave a rare reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2010. This year – at the age of 88 – she won the Roland Mathias Prize for her most recent collection "Time Being". Ruth Bidgood's ostensible subjects are the storied landscape and history of her region of mid-Wales, the hills and valleys of Powys and Breconshire, but her themes frequently have a wider reach, a spiritual depth that is often darkly suggestive and mysterious. She avoids sentimentality, but - unfashionably - not sentiment; an observation can engender joy or sorrow or fear uncluttered by irony. Her descriptions are sharp and memorable, tending to a cool accuracy. Born in 1922 at Seven Sisters, near Neath, and educated at Port Talbot and Oxford University, Ruth Bidgood worked as a coder in the Egyptian desert in World War II. After living in London for some years, she returned to Wales in the 1960s, making her home near Llanwrtyd Wells. As well as a poet, she is also a noted local historian. In this extract from her Ledbury reading, she reads and talks about four poems: 'Witness', 'Rooms', 'Pause' and 'Edward Bache Advises His Sister' (introducing the latter with pertinent comments on the nature of "found poems"). These poems are from "New & Selected Poems" (2004) and "Time Being" (2009), published by Seren Books. Her reading was filmed by Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley, publisher-in-residence at Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2010.

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