The Garland King by Matthew Hedley Stoppard
Matthew Hedley Stoppard’s second collection attempts to create an uncanny space where traditional customs and modern anxieties mix. Here, we find the Garland King cannot shake the inherent sexism of our society; a mummer mismanages his depression after his child is diagnosed with cancer; and Morris Dancers melt in the midst of a climate emergency.
The poems celebrate the rituals of the working and labouring classes, who have had their culture eclipsed by organised religion and politics. The poet explores them by donning bells and decorated bonnets himself, in order to connect with Britain’s heritage and with other countries that have similar customs.