Living in the Delta
Parthian Press 2015
Living in the Delta, Landeg White’s Collected and New Poems, brings together work from nine previous collections. Welsh by birth, White is a citizen of the world, having lived and written and taught on three continents. It is a Welsh tradition of course to be a traveller, voyager and settler in all parts of the planet, and White’s poetry embodies this. It also reflects the ancient Welsh tradition of the poet-scholar; he is a noted academic editor, translator and historian – an authority on Africa and Portuguese literature.
Fortunately for us he is a poet too, talented and dedicated. The experience of reading his writing make you want to read more – it is warm, humane, intelligent and immensely readable. Commentators on his work are apt to use politically incorrect words and phrases such as ‘masterpiece’ and ‘major poet’. He is a brilliant comic writer for instance, and can move in an instant from sly wit to laugh-out-loud funny. Yet suddenly with a poem like ‘African Incident’ you are in the midst of tragedy. He is a moving celebrant of love and family and community; a passionate, meticulous observer of the natural world – it is difficult to think of a living writer who is a more complete poet.
“White addresses fundamental human issues unflinchingly.”
“There is something on nearly every page indicative of the reflections of a powerful intellect, a compassionate though never priggish understanding of people’s follies and desires, and an expert control of the medium.”
“How can one respond adequately to the sheer volume of colour and thought that accumulates over the course of the work collected here?”
“The poems are unflaggingly good, with an Audenesque ease of utterance overlaying anger, and a sensual vividness that has one wiping the dust from the eyes.”
“A book overshadowed by violence but trusting in the power of speech to keep us human in poems driven by lyricism, humour and a strong historical awareness.”
“Securely earthed, as accessible as any prose travel writing, richly evocative of place. White retains his sense of humour and that love of game-playing essential to the poet.”
Times Literary Supplement
“This is poetry that has no doubts about its role in the world as unofficial history and as source of hope.”
“Gives the details, the scent, the stuff of history being made, but manages also to bring tenderness as well as violence, love as well as anger.”
“White has his own country, his particular music. His ear is as fine as Edward Thomas in his English woods.”