What appears to be a rural idyll quickly becomes a poetic landscape shot through with a sense of menaceColeshill is an ancient settlement on the Wiltshire-Oxfordshire border, of which William Cobbett wrote in his Rural Rides: “I saw … at Coleshill the most complete farm-yard that I ever saw, and that I believe there is in all England, many and complete as English farm-yards are.” Yet if Coleshill might seem to wear the aspect of a Platonic England, it’s not exclusively idyllic: farmyards, after all, are home to animals and bladed tools, and even remote places are nowadays easily accessible to someone wishing to deliver the (all too real) death threat received by Fiona Sampson, which the police investigated. Coleshill, then, offers a fairly complete rural English package. “Jerusalem”, meanwhile, is a dream experienced by the dead “in their stone beds”.Sampson’s fourth collection reads the place not only for the welcome seclusion of its fields and hedgerows but for its menace, and for a larger environmental unravelling signalled by the dying-off of the bee population (“yes, all of them, / Small scabs of air.”) This might suggest a book whose emphases are discursive and journalistic, but the central mode of …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books