The Dancers of Colbek by William Bedford
From the medieval dancers of Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne to Wesley, Tennyson, Lawrence and John Clare, William Bedford’s The Dancers of Colbek explores his own early years among the market towns and seacoasts of Lincolnshire. There are prize-winning poems from his family’s history of farming, and a sequence of poems voicing John Clare’s experience of poverty and dispossession during the enclosures. The decline of rural ways of life is shown against a background of the arrival of American forces in the 1960s, their nuclear weapons dominating the landscapes where medieval dancers once celebrated pagan rites in midnight graveyards.
The author: William Bedford is an award-winning poet, short-story writer and novelist.