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Woods Beyond a Cornfield

Poet Daljit Nagra selects Woods Beyond a Cornfield, a beautiful, angry poem set in South Yorkshire by Stanley Cook. From 2014.

Poet Daljit Nagra revisits the BBC's radio poetry archive and chooses Woods Beyond a Cornfield.

A beautiful, dark poem by Stanley Cook - a Yorkshireman - about events in the edgelands where he grew up. It evokes the translucent beauty of South Yorkshire and its harshness - especially the inhabitants' hard working lives. Threaded through it is the murder of a local girl who, "lost for something to do", plays truant one day, only to be killed by a local man.

Cook couldn't abide poverty being romanticised. He cared about people who suffered hardship and returned home from his Oxford scholarship with clear-sighted passion. He has influenced Yorkshire writers including his publisher, Peter Sansom of the Poetry Business in Sheffield, who was mentored and taught by Cook.

Liz White, Richard Stacey, Ruby-May Martinwood and the folk musician and political activist, Ray Hearne, read Stanley Cook's heartfelt poem - with a soundtrack recorded in South Yorkshire through the Autumn.

Producer: Frances Byrnes

A Rockethouse production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in 2014.

13 days left to listen

30 minutes

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