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Bibliographical Information
Welcome Back to the Country
Graham Clifford
ISBN: 9781854115591 (1854115596)Publication Date January 2011
Publisher: Seren, Bridgend
Format: Paperback, 210x149 mm, 32 pages Language: English Non-Stock Item - Ordered on request Our Price: £5.00 
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The winner of the Poetry Wales Purple Moose Prize for 2010 is Welcome Back to the Country by Graham Clifford. Judges Zoë Skoulding and Patrick McGuinness made their choice of the best short collection of poems, submitted anonymously, from an extensive entry.

Casgliad o gerddi gan fardd arobryn y Poetry Wales Purple Moose Prize am 2010. Beirniaid y gystadleuaeth oedd Zoë Skoulding a Patrick McGuinness.
This is the latest short collection of poems published by Seren as the prizewinning entry of the 2010 Poetry Wales Purple Moose Competition. The 'country' referred to, however, is not rural Wales but various suburban or semi-industrialised landscapes picked out with precise and quirky images. In ‘On a Slope’ there is a bleak pettiness in a life which only deserves ‘a carnival by the canal locks, featuring the local librarian’, and where roads ‘lead to relatives, or abattoirs.’

In ‘Short’, ‘a frowning someone/ is firing damp bangers and cheap rockets to commemorate the tired beginning / of a brick-coloured life...’ The minute description in ‘Their Son’ conveys remarkably well the physical distaste the subject provokes.

Some poems draw on Graham Clifford's experience with school children, others deal with critical moments in intimate relationships – tenderly recalled in ‘The Year of Rain’, tentatively hopeful in ‘Holiday’, disastrous in ‘In absentia’. Several poems concern the nature of death: in the ironic ‘Being Dead’ a comatose state appears almost a successful life-choice, while ‘Different’ expresses with extreme and poignant simplicity the recognition in a parent's (or grandparent's?) death of the true significance of one's own.

Graham Clifford's tone is both wryly humorous and anguished, his powers of observation are fine, his imagery startling. The terms of the Purple Moose competition limit this collection to just over twenty poems but we can anticipate, with interest, a longer collection of work from him in the future.

Caroline Clark

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Author Biography:
Graham Clifford was born in 1973 and grew up in Lyneham, Wiltshire. He trained as a fine artist before attending the UEA Creative Writing MA. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including Poetry Wales, The Rialto, Smiths Knoll and Magma. Graham's writing has received commendations in several in competitions, as well as being the first prize winner of the New Writer 2006 Poetry Collection Prize. He is also the second winner of the Poetry Wales Purple Moose Prize, in 2010, with this collection.

He has performed his work at the Hay on Wye Literary Festival, the Troubadour Café, The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and the Barbican, London.

Graham works as an English coordinator and phase manager in one of the largest primary schools in London. He lives in Walthamstow with his partner and daughter.
Further Information:
The Winner of the Poetry Wales Purple Moose Prize for 2010 is Welcome Back to the Country by Graham Clifford. Judges Zoe Skoulding and Patrick McGuinness made their choices of the best short collection of poems, submitted anonymously, from an extensive entry.
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