a Post Card to | John Greening & Stuart Henson
Stuart Henson and John Greening first began exchanging sonnets from their various travels back in 1985 when postcards were the only way to send someone a picture greeting. Why sonnets? Perhaps because they can pack a lot into a few words, and there’s only so much space on a postcard. But the habit caught on and continued well into the age of Instagram and WhatsApp. Now that holidays have become rather more difficult, the two poets felt it was time to gather their poems into this entertaining new collection so that even locked-down readers can journey with them in imagination. Many are light-hearted, as might be expected, and feature seascapes or tourist sights or some local curiosity; but a surprising number look beneath the surface to ask more serious questions.
These postcards take us from the coasts of East Anglia, Wales and Western Ireland, to Brooklyn Heights and Winnipeg, from Edinburgh and Manchester to Paris, Bruges, the Rhine Valley, Finland and Iceland. We visit Van Gogh’s grave, Maggi Hambling’s Scallop, Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave, Henry Williamson’s cottage, Lady Anne Clifford’s castle, Elgar’s Malvern and Tennyson’s Somersby. We encounter a good few famous writers and other ghostly figures from the past, along with paintings and standing stones, an inscription at Puddletown, a churchyard in Conwy, half a bridge at Avignon, a sundial in Bologna, returning again and again to Italy – Siena, Florence, Venice, Verona, Rome.
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