The substantial opening section, ‘So Goodbye Twentieth Century’, is for the most part a retrospective farewell to recent history, including the Jewish experience on which her imagination draws so deeply. A sequence of sonnets celebrating love in old age, ‘Singing Like a Woman in Love’, forms the second section, while the third section, ‘Shadows and Mountains’, is another sequence of poems, this time inspired by a study tour of Israel. The book concludes with ‘Four Satires and a Parody’, revealing an unexpected side of her talent.
Wanda Barford was born in Milan, but as a child left Mussolini’s Italy with her parents for Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to escape anti-Jewish persecution. She eventually settled in London, where she studied at the Royal College of Music. She has been a runner-up in the H. H. Wingate/Jewish Quarterly Poetry Competition, and her first collection, Sweet Wine and Bitter Herbs, was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize in 1997. Her second collection, A Moon at the Door, followed in 1999, with a third, Losing, Finding, in 2002.