The Crossroads of You: Lorna Smithers’ “Enchanting the Shadowlands” (review)

This is a reblog of Rhyd Wildermuth’s review of Enchanting the Shadowlands. Rhyd lives in Seattle and writes and blogs compassionately and compellingly about the beauty of his land and the horrors capitalism has wrecked upon it and his people. As a bard of the Welsh gods his words are fuelled by the pure untrammelled force of the Awen. This review is breathtaking and a piece of poetry in its own right and I’m very honoured by it.

Rhyd divines insights I didn’t know myself and have left me pondering. He describes the book as ‘a trap’ and says it takes you into ‘the memory not just of a poet, but of a land itself, ages intersecting at the crossroads of you.’ ‘I’ve never been to Lancashire, though some part of it now lives within my memory, the River Ribble’s waters soaking into the rain falling upon me in Seattle.’

I don’t understand this yet. At present I think it says alot about how time and space can meet in moments of enchantment (and disconcertment) to which ages past and opposite sides of the world form no true obstacle. It also says alot about the power of words to bring about change.

On that note as editor of a new website called Gods & Radicals Rhyd is encouraging pagans from across the world to unite in ‘beautiful resistance’ against capitalism. There are already a number of excellent articles and its ideas and influence are swiftly growing. I have contributions planned for May and June.

If you like Rhyd’s writing do check out his book Your Face is a Forest for his pilgrimages and deep reflections on land, deities and ancestors.


enchanting-the-shadowlands-book-cover Enchanting The Shadowlands, by Lorna Smithers

I don’t know how to compel a person, a stranger, regardless of their disposition towards my words, to read a book.  But it’s not for that this review of Lorna Smither’s collection, Enchanting the Shadowlands, is so overdue, nor from any of the usual excuses of pre-occupation or inundation.  That is, the world hasn’t gotten in the way, nor have I been too afeared I wouldn’t have quite the right words.

Rather–the book’s a trap.

Don’t carry the slim volume with you, thinking you might find time to read a few poems on the bus to work, or occupy with her words some unguarded moments at a coffeeshop or bar, waiting for a friend, perhaps, or sitting merely idle.  You cannot merely fill space of distraction with her poetry any more than you might hope a quick stroll through a park will ‘clear…

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One thought on “The Crossroads of You: Lorna Smithers’ “Enchanting the Shadowlands” (review)

  1. For me, it’s a sign of something having gone right if a person can come to my words and find something I did not knowingly put there. The spaces between the deliberate concepts are where the reader becomes an active participant, and how the intended words craft the spaces determine what room the reader has to be a co-creator, and understand in their own way, bring their own stories and experiences, find their own interpretation.

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