Very occasionally, a book comes into my hands that is so brilliant, so jaw droppingly, mind alteringly good that I barely know how to talk about it. This is one of those.
Lorna Smithers is a poet, and blogger. My instincts are to call her an activist and revolutionary, but this is not how she self identifies – Awenydd is the word she uses. I’ve been following her for years at Signposts in the Mist and very much enjoyed her first poetry collection Enchanting the Shadowlands.
The Broken Cauldron is a mix of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and pieces that blend these forms. Here, myth meets literal truth, and poetic truth speaks from the past to the future. It’s a book that must be experienced, no description could do it justice.
Lorna is steeped in the mythology of the British Isles, but she comes to it with a radical perspective that will shake up what you thought you knew. There’s re-imagining of Arthurian and other mythology here that recasts the myths in a whole new way and speaks to contemporary life in ways that are startling, and disconcerting. If you don’t know the myths, I think this is still entirely readable and may be a really good place to start.
Lorna has an amazing knack for retelling these ancient stories in a way that makes them contemporary, and also gives a new perspective on the tale. Her activism and deep love of land sings through the work, her grief, rage and frustration at how we keep playing out the same toxic archetypes are powerful forces.
It’s a small book, but a mighty one. It will stay with me, it has impacted on how I think about all sorts of things, not least on reimagining what a bard might be *for* in this day and age.
Cover art by my other half, Tom Brown of copperage.deviantart.com
More information about The Broken Cauldron here – https://lornasmithers.wordpress.com/publications/the-broken-cauldron/