Summer Snow

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Lyric poems moving from archaeology, decipherment and Minoan Crete to modern graffiti on Athenian cacti

Ruth’s first full collection turns on history. Both family history, childhood memories, marriage, stepchildren, motherhood and a baby’s first smile, but also history experienced physically, on the ground – in Greece; especially Crete, where Ruth used to live. The snow of the title is in a crevice on Mount Ida. The pressure of past relationships on the present, of different peoples who have inhabited the same ground – Minoans, Greeks, Venetians, Turks – on today’s modern Greece, undermines any modern traveller’s escapist desire to forget home pain in a glittering elsewhere.

From reviews:

‘A poet of unusual intelligence, an authoritative and distinctive voice combined with a wonderful eye for detail. Padel is concerned with history: history problematized not finished, an open text waiting for interpretation. Poems of great tact and tenderness, achievements of clarity and understanding shared with the reader: we appreciate her interpretive gifts.’ The Listener

‘Her sense of history, of the past intertwining with the present, is most poignant,’ Times Literary Supplement

‘A variety of daring experiments in bringing together in one fabric divergent levels of thought. ‘Why does the private matter?’ is a question which underlies her subject-matter and techniques in a way reminiscent of Robert Lowell. Unexpectedness typifies the poems’ texture, reflecting the poet’s concern with the disjointed nature of mental experience. An long and impressive historical poem of considerable power is ‘Siege,’ a poem set in the Turkish siege of Rhodes.’ Poetry London Newsletter

‘A brilliant classical scholar with a restless firecracker mind, Padel writes poetry the way Gwen John painted pictures, elliptical, evocative, with deceptively soft-edged images that lodge sharply in the mind.’  Oxford Today

‘Padel’s poetic background is the Mediterranean. She is much more reminiscent of Greek writers than any English influence. It is another way of seeing, a different palette of colours, a distillation of light, beauty, civilization.’ Poetry Review

‘With her individual blend of mystery and vivacity, an intense and many-layered mind, an ear for rhythm and sound-colour, the musicality of her voice and intriguing counterpoint of ideas, she has the true poetic gift of conjuring up whole landscapes in a few lines. The chief theme is the pathos and terror of the processes of time, unravelled from messages left in the ground and in the mind,’ The Brown Book, Oxford

‘The unforced collocations of ancient and modern, the legendary and the mundane, the durable and the ephemeral, suggest a poetic intelligence of considerable range and power,’ Cambridge Review

‘She is the spiritual child of Cavafy,’ Malcolm Williamson, Literary Review