zondag 4 september 2011

Reinhabitation in Yorkshire

I have never been to Yorkshire but it can't be as good as poet and novelist Glyn Hughes describes it in Millstone Grit (1985). The area described by Hughes used to be (so to speak) the Silicon Valley of the textile industry but when the rag trade collapsed after the second word war the region depopulated quickly. As an aspiring poet looking for a cheap place to live Hughes discovered the deserted villages and abandoned farms and set up home there. This book essentially deals with reinhabition, but whereas Snyder found a second growth forest Hughes found a place where ten years after the last coal fired factory had closed down the grass was still covered in soot and where even many species of weeds refused to grow. 
The prose of this book is rustic, even old-fashioned, but next to the richness of observation and the remarkable persons, landscapes and scenes he describes, the style with which he does it adds considerably to the atmosphere this book creates. It's writing with great craftsmanship but also, I gather, writing that has gone through many revisions as witnessed by its chequered publication history. 

Dark Mountain book 2 contains the last interview with Hughes before he died this year, and its though this interview by Paul Kingsnorth that I learned about this book. It cost me 99p on Ebay so I reckon that Hughes has not been broadly rediscovered. He deserves it though. 

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