Listen to the land
Foreword by Sir Andrew Motion
These fine poems, written at different times and from a variety of perspectives, all look hard at the landscapes they enshrine. In doing so, they achieve (at least) two things at the same time. They honour the facts they preserve; and they create little screens on which are projected the feelings of the poets. They are, in other words, all forms of emotional observance. This sort of activity, and the combinations that it includes, has been central to poetry in all parts of the world for a very long time. But as these lines remind us, it has never been more important. Obliquely or urgently, quietly or loudly, all these poems give voice to the deep pleasure we find in landscape, and also to the reasons why we need to protect it. In this respect, we might well call them seriously beautiful.