The Fen Dancing
Published by Red Squirrel Press
William Bedford’s new collection begins with poems about his father’s 1920s childhood in a remote farming community in Lincolnshire, and ends with the Manhatten skyline and the literary world of Greenwich Village.
‘I was trying to imagine a lifetime of eighty years’, Bedford says, ‘beginning in a world of pony and traps and penny farthings and ending with men walking on the moon’. A ritual ‘fen dancing’ is at the heart of the volume: an annual sheep-washing festival ending with a dance and home-brewed wine in which it was difficult to tell if the fen itself was dancing, or the villagers were performing a dance of that strange name.
William Bedford left school at fifteen to work on the east coast fish docks and fairgrounds and farms before moving with his family to a remote USAF base in north Lincolnshire. His father was the civilian police officer in charge of the area, the police house being immediately opposite the site of the Thor Intermediate Rocket site. At nineteen, he left Lincolnshire, and spent ten years working as a Lloyds Broker in the City of London, before turning to academic life and eventually becoming a full-time writer. He is an award-winning poet, short-story writer, children’s and adult’s novelist.