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Bibliographical Information
Imagining the Full Hundred
Fiona Owen
ISBN: 9781903314609 (1903314607)Publication Date: July 2003
Publisher: Gwasg Pantycelyn
Format: Paperback, 210x148 mm, 64 pages Language: English Non-Stock Item - Ordered on request Our Price: £4.50   
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A collection of the poetry of Fiona Owen comprising 41 poems reflecting her experiences while she lived in various areas of the Arabian Gulf, her relationship with people who are dear to her and her attachment to her present home in Anglesey.

Casgliad o gerddi Fiona Owen yn cynnwys 41 cerdd yn adlewyrchu ei phrofiadau tra bu'n byw mewn gwahanol ardaloedd yng Ngwlff Arabia, ei pherthynas â phobl sy'n annwyl ganddi a'i hymlyniad wrth ei chartref presennol yn Sir Fôn.
This is a funny, tender, richly enjoyable first collection of poems, infused with a mischievous wit that shines through its sincerity of engagement. Owen’s cosmopolitan upbringing (she spent much of her childhood in various parts of the Middle East) is the background for the first poems in the book, and these set the scene for an unfolding, almost diaristic, fidelity to events. The subsequent poems, too, engage directly with her life, now with her family, animals and friends on Anglesey. This is the day-to-day in its most detailed aspects, such as the nature of her husband’s beard (‘Your beard’) or the way her dog is standing ('Oscar'). For Owens is, above all, a poet who notices. Greenfly, woodlice, slugs – nothing is too microscopic for her mindful art.

Though they are often everyday in subject, her poems are the very reverse of banal, for they achieve the happy (and complex) trick of being personal without being self-centered. Neither are they scared of tackling the universal, although poems of this kind hit their target best when (as in ‘Archie’s moment’ or ‘Shiva’s fly’) they grow out of the particular. The poems which come at the universal with full-on abstractions, such as ‘Field’, are not as strong as those where the abstractions are broken down, as in the title sequence.

The presiding spirit of the collection, however, is a joyousness that seeks light in darkness, as in ‘That last week’, a poem about a long death:

A new light flickered in you
and as ice becomes water becomes steam
you evaporated, slipped the body
one week late, one morning

Closing the book, the reader has the sense of having been a guest made welcome at the hearth of a warm, full and attentive life.

Elin ap Hywel

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement 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 ai www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
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