Peter Riley: The Llyn Writings
Published 15 January 2007
Paperback, 124pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15
The Llyn Writings is a complete collection of all Peter Riley's writings that have resulted from annual visits to the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales between 1977 and 1998—ordinary family holidays in a coastal caravan, but taking the notion of pilgrimage from that terrain (since Llyn leads to Bardsey Island, a major medieval pilgrimage goal) into the possibilities and difficulties of a modern sense of ultimate purpose. The core of the collection consists of three poem-sequences ('Sea Watches', 'Sea Watch Elegies', 'Between Harbours'), but added to these are all the notebook pieces, the spin-off poems, prose meditations and descriptions, lists of details—at times like an annual report on the changes and survivals of the area—plus topographical and historical notes.
These are not empirical poems in the accepted English mode, not 'what I did on my holidays' poems. Rather Peter Riley's poems-of-place are where topography and meditation meet. They are where the imagination takes flight and where time collapses into a vortex of perception. In one sense anchored in reality, these poems depart for other realms, carried there on wings of prayer perhaps, in the fashion of a pilgrimage offering.
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