A Moment in the Field:

Voices from Arthurian Legend

Poems by Margaret Lloyd



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$24 clothbound
 
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click here.


Also by Margaret Lloyd:

 Available from
Alice James Books
and from your local bookstore.

Praise for
This Particular Earthly Scene:

"It is a pleasure to see poetry that is neither young nor old. Poetry of the adult heart. Beyond beginnings, past childhood, past first love, past the first child. And without nostalgia. This is fine poetry about a married heart that is still ambitious."
—Jack Gilbert, Winner of the 2006 National Book Circle Critics Award

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About the Author

 Margaret Lloyd was born in Liverpool, England of Welsh parents and grew up in a Welsh community in central New York State. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds, England, and has published a book on William Carlos Williams’ poem  Paterson (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press).   Her first poetry book, This Particular Earthly Scene, was published by Alice James Books.  Lloyd completed A Moment in the Field while on a  fellowship at Hawthornden Castle, an International Retreat for Writers in ScotlandPresently, she chairs the Humanities Department at Springfield College, Massachusetts.

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Related Links

Readers interested in Welsh myth and legend and early Arthurian literature should go to The Mabinogi: Legend and Landscape of Wales.

 

About A Moment in the Field

Arthurian legends have exerted a considerable fascination for people for fourteen centuries, and in the past two hundred years, they have provided material for operas, poems, novels, plays and movies.  However, not until the publication of Margaret Lloyd's A Moment in the Field:  Voices from Arthurian Legend has there been a book-length cyle of poems that remains faithful to early Arthurian sources while being contemporary in its style and concerns.

In this breathtaking sequence, Lloyd expands the territory in which we all live as she explores emotional moments, situations, and psychological states suggested by the early texts, particularly Malory’s Morte D’Arthur.  While these poems primarily focus on  female experiences which have often remained hidden or gone unnoticed, they also evoke aspects of male experience not traditionally accessed in Arthurian narratives. Deep archetypes emerge of the great human dilemmas—the heartbreak of betrayal, the ubiquity of war, the pathos of death, the mystery of romantic love. 

Ultimately, these poems are about how we construct meaning in our lives.  As Lloyd writes in her afterword,  the characters in these poems are “alive to their emotions, aware of their perceptions and the complexity of their situation, and willing to continue on their quest wherever it may lead, even if in the end, they must fail.”

 

 Praise for A Moment in the Field

"The old stories and the old characters are not as old as they are deep.  They need to be awakened regularly to tell us their secrets.  They require an enchantress to bring them back and help us hear them.  Margaret Lloyd performs this priestess, Merlin, Cassandra, Mercury service here in splendid and powerful fashion, showing us how our daily passions, strong and subtle, light and dark, give us our humanity.  You need courage to take these poems in, given the hot blood and sharp edge that Margaret Lloyd brings to them."
Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Dark Nights of the Soul

"The power of Arthurian legend, and of the hold romantic love has over human beings, is shown again here in this moving sequence which speaks almost entirely in the voices of the women of the stories.  The harshness of landscape and culture these people were subject to -- the women, the men, and the children -- seems only framed differently, but very close to our own.  Margaret Lloyd has gathered all this to her with haunting empathy for human life and the life of the natural world."
—Jean Valentine, author of Door in the Mountain, winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry
 

"Margaret Lloyd uses the names and stories of legendary women, and some men, to write a book of loves poems in a fresh, contemporary voice.  The emotional force of the poems lies in the eternal truths of human feeling, of women in love, women betrayed, women as mothers, lovers, widows.  The men speak, too, as their human selves in love and pain.  Margaret Lloyd gives the old stories new life in this excellent collection."
—Gillian Clarke, author of The King of Britain's Daughter and Making the Beds for the Dead


            

 A Moment in the Field

Since I first saw him knighted in the court,

in the day and in the night,

in my mind and in my body

I have summoned him.  Now

I look at an iron stake and the fire,

waiting for the sun to climb

under the pale blue sky that binds us.

Now, for a moment, I have given up.

The noise of the crowd is a new silence,

the sun on my shoulders, freedom—

a freedom I felt only before

when I was the daughter of a king,

walking in another field

in the first warmth of May.

What can my eyes follow

but a pale yellow butterfly moving

away from me, leaf after leaf?

Not that I am not afraid of burning,

but for a moment,

I tell you, I feel free.  Almost

not wanting him to come out of the forest,

throwing a gown over my chemise,

pulling my body up on the back of his horse,

binding me, binding me to him once again.