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The Vale of Todmorden

The Vale of Todmorden

by Herbert Lomas

Todmorden is a little town in the Pennines. It lies at the juncture of three valleys and in the late twenties and early thirties it was a cotton-milling town of about twenty-two thousand inhabitants. In The Vale of Todmorden, Herbert Lomas presents us with a sequence of short poems by way of a personal history of the lost Todmorden of that time. It is not political history, but it records the private pains of public history — of how people dealt with and endured the ups and downs of the violent and rich culture they'd been thrown into, and of how creative they were, inventing themselves and making language, music, companionship and love out of an often bleak inheritance.

This is it, the real stuff, what I've been waiting for. ...he recreates, humanly and humanely, the process of growing up in a tight-knit community... Everything is exhilaratingly spot-on: language, rhythms, forms.

Matt Simpson, Orbis, October 2004

In these remarkably fresh and entertaining poems, Lomas brings to life his childhood in the Pennines in the early 1930s. The whole sequence is a fine monument to his home town, his family and his past.

Anthony Thwaite

...nothing pretentious or sentimental... neither celebratory nor tinged with regret. ...a clear-sighted journey through his childhood dreams and haunts.

The North No. 35

Funny, touching, sad and joyful — I don't know when else a time and a place have been so beautifully evoked.

Simon Hoggart

...wonderfully vivid poems... a warm and often moving book. ...never less than carefully written...detailed and entertaining...the reader never has to struggle to understand what the poet is saying.

Jim Burns, Ambit 176, 2005

It's a real joy — tough, elegiac, touching, sometimes sad, often funny, and always beautifully honest.

Craig Brown

102 pages
ISBN 1 900072 81 5
Published November 2003

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