Saw this lovely, first-in-a-series video in the Guardian books section, Literary Shropshire featuring Wenlock Books ( pictured on the left ) and its proprietor, Anna Dreda, along with three writers, William Cash, Katherine Swift and Paul Evans who mentions the Shropshire poet/novelist, Mary Webb and concludes the video with a reading of her poem, “The Birds Will Sing”.
I’ve always been interested in Shropshire because of the Oxford Latinist, AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad. I have three copies of this book, not so much for the poems themselves, but for the illustrations: a Dover Thrift Edition, one illustrated with woodblock cuts by Agnes Parker and another with lovely paintings and illustrations by Robin Bell Corfield. Housman composed the poems before he ever visited the region while Mary Webb grew up and lived in the region and her poems and novels are infused with the essence and spirit of Shropshire.
One of my all-time favorite Mary Webb poem is ‘To a Poet in April’ ( this poem along with all her other poems can be found here. )