Poems by Ann Drysdale
Ann Drysdale lives halfway up a mountain in South Wales. Her home-made headed notepaper carries the self-description “Poet and Peasant”. The peasant is already well-known for a highly acclaimed series of bucolic books: Faint Heart Never Kissed a Pig, Sow’s Ears and Silk Purses, Pearls Before Swine, and Pig in a Passage. In 1994 she won the Dylan Thomas Prize of 1,000 guineas and Poetry Digest’s United Kingdom Bard of the Year Award. Her first volume of poetry, The Turn of the Cucumber (Peterloo Poets, 1995) was widely acclaimed:
“It is a pleasure to welcome the appearance of Ann Drysdale’s first collection. In The Turn of the Cucumber Peterloo has introduced us to someone who writes with skill and assurance, so that her poems immediately communicate and amuse, delight, move, or appeal to deep emotion. What is remarkable is the simple genuineness and the ability to handle cot death or a mother’s illness with direct utterance free from sentimentality or excess . . . she also can be truly and unboastfully funny . . .As might be expected Ann Drysdale is an accomplished parodist and writer of poems reacting to others’ more famous writings.”
Brian Merrikin Hill, Outposts
“Ann Drysdale is a bright new talent. Her humorous poetry in The Turn of the Cucumber shows a freshness – a mixture of openness of feeling, love of wordplay, with a formality in some poems, unusual in light verse – and often a sadness with a paradoxically bracing tone . . . This collection is enjoyable and varied.”
Stella Stocker, Orbis
“. . . light poet of the month must be Ann Drysdale. Her The Turn of the Cucumber is a collection of reader-friendly verse in which she gently pokes fun at our literary pretentions and silly lives.”
Richard Tyrrell, Independent Weekend
Sly, Who Is Not In The Running
Away in the west lives mighty Sly
With his peasant’s thews and his poet’s eye;
He has dinosaur ribs, he has coconut hair
And the spindly legs of a Mackintosh chair.
Sly is a long-dog, thin as a rail
With umbrella feet and a shoestring tail.
His bodily wind has the pungent smell
Of the breeze that blows from the jaws of hell.
He is lightning when putting himself to his speed,
Though it’s not very often he sees the need.
His actions are few but his thought run deep;
A philosopher-dog who needs his sleep.
He sleeps in a heap from morn til night
Like a dead dog dropped from a dizzying height,
Rising and falling like dough in a draught
With occasional mutterings fore and aft.
His ears are deaf and his eyes are blind
And the itch for a bitch never crosses his mind.
This is the way he was born to lie -
Slothful, somnolent, celibate Sly.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: “Brian on a Motorbike” by Beryl Cook from Private View (John Murray Publishers, 1980)
©Beryl Cook 1980. (Reproduced by arrangement with the artist c/o Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd., 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN)
Publication: SPRING 1999 (63 pages laminated paperback)