Home Farm by Janet Sutherland
In her fourth collection Janet Sutherland explores the farm where she grew up; a 90-acre dairy farm in Wiltshire, rented by her parents, where they milked 50 cows and reared heifers on the nearby water meadows. The collection examines the farm as home from early beginnings to the farm auction at the end of their working lives. It is a poetry of landscape and water, of birds, beasts and other creatures, of life lived cheek by jowl with death, of memory and forgetfulness; all of it rooted in place. There’s an engaging inventiveness of form: a disused water mill reveals poems in its old bricks, the drowner revels in his craft, the work of the farm is observed with rigour and lyricism, investigating the uses of memory and landscape as routes to understanding. The final sections zoom outwards, challenging us to look at earth itself as a home farm.