Saturday, January 03, 2009

John Clare and the Gypsies

The V & A website is currently hosting some stunning contemporary nature writing on Essex, including an essay by Ronald Blythe on John Clare and gypsies:
"Sometimes I watch a film or read a book, come-to and tell myself, 'But I was there! I heard it, I saw it.' It is a not uncommon experience. It occurs when I read John Clare on the gypsies. He both hobnobbed with them and was fastidious where they were concerned, was prejudiced and unprejudiced at the same time. He wrote many poems about them which envied their lot, their freedom, their women, and one poem which envied them nothing. "Vagabondage in a native Place: John Clare and the Gypsies".

Also available on site are Robert Macfarlane on "Elm", Ken Worpole on "Estuary Lines: An Essay on the Essex Coastline", "Mud Language" by Michele Roberts, and "The Edge of the Orison: In the Traces of John Clare's 'Journey Out of Essex'" by Ian Sinclair.