NO PLACE FOR THE MAUDLIN HEART
Poems by Rosamund Stanhope
Rosamund Stanhope trained for the stage, and later for teaching drama, at the Central School. She also holds an English honours degree. Conscripted in 1943, she served with the Royal Naval Air Service branch of the W.R.N.S. as a P.O. radio mechanic. After the war, she married a Welshman, and her only child - a daughter - was born in Swansea on St. David's Day. In 1963 she broke her back and hence her legs are partially paralysed. She has taught and lectured in English and Drama in schools and colleges in Worcestershire and Shropshire. Rosamund Stanhope has been writing poetry since the age of six. Muriel Spark was the first editor to accept one of her poems, for Poetry Review. In 1962 Scorpion Press published her first collection of poems, So I Looked Down to Camelot, which was reviewed favourably by Elizabeth Jennings.
Her first Peterloo collection, Lapidary, was published in 1990 and received very favourable review notices:
‘Rosamund Stanhope enjoys piling up terms from scientific lexicons, such as those of botany and astronomy, and summoning up recondite or archaic words like alkahest, padusoy and whigmaleerie. This sometimes recalls the arcane accumulations at the start of Hugh MacDiarmid's ‘On a Raised Beach’, but in contrast to MacDiarmid's tense, rigorous rhythms, Stanhope's capacious sentences gather up words in a comparatively relaxed way, her line-breaks and uneven line-lengths serving sometimes to surprise and foreground but also to offer respite. While taking pleasure in the relative autonomy of language, Stanhope sees it neither as a prison-house nor as a Post-Modernist playground from which all referents are banned. Her interest in language is part of her interest in the universe. Her poetry searches long perspectives, far beyond those of a single life - extending through evolutionary time and into outer space - with a sense of mystery, and of the convergence and divergence of scientific and more traditionally ‘poetic’ modes of apprehension . . . But she also homes in on the human: on the lives of Welsh folk, or on moments of deep personal feeling, as in ‘A Letter for my Parents' Grave.’
London Review of Books 1991
Never here the risk of
the missed catch, the lost
'bus, the possibility of the
bottom falling out of the
lotus-market; the certainty that
the face we love will be no longer
there; that one day all this Noddy stuff will dissolve
and Andy Pandy suffocate in his dream-box.
On this island the sun casts no
shadows; amaranth survives without
rain; no fly in the
appointments, chloramine in the
water; no valley in our
And therefore no
pungent hush as the shower comes down
to rescue the fifth
Test; no final poignant kiss
on the cold cheek of the
dead; just the usual boring
immortelles, the assurance of
helichrysum, the illimitable Tithonus dawns.
NO PLACE FOR THE MAUDLIN HEART
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover photograph: Lower Deep Colliery, Blaina. (Nantyglo and Blaina Urban District Council)Courtesy of Blaina Heritage Action Group.
Publication: SUMMER 2001 (53 pages laminated paperback)