An interrogative collection of astonishing power make up this haunting portrait of place, from the TS Eliot and Forward Prize shortlisted poet, Fiona Sampson
Coleshill, a nineteenth-century model village on the borders of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, is a microcosm of contemporary rural life. It includes organic dairy herds, prairie fields, community-owned windmills, lovingly-tended vegetable gardens, lamping for hares, a shoot, a Peace Fete, a Neolithic hill fort, a nursery school, a pub and just about the same number of inhabitants – two hundred, give or take a newborn – that it had in the Domesday book.
At the same time its countryside still offers our best chance of observing the natural world. Three different species of ladybird co-exist on a house wall, and the first lapwings return; a spring shifting in the limestone water-table floods the lane, and buzzards nest in the beech trees on Kings Hill.
Coleshill explores the village as both community and place. Coleshill follows the cycle of a year and creates a meditative portrait of real life in the country, bringing the people living there to life.
“Coleshill finds Fiona Sampson enduring a term of trial, its rural setting made menacing by present threat, old terrors and the larger unravelling of the environment”
Sean O'Brien, Independent