What is some information on the anthology Skirrid Hill by Owen Sheers?

Skirrid Hill was published in 2005 and collects the poems of Owen Sheers, a poet of Welsh descent. The anthology contains forty-five poems and touches on themes of death, relationships, growing up, nature, and Welsh culture.

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Skirrid Hill, published in 2005, is a poetry anthology written by Welsh author Owen Sheers. "Skirrid" is a word from the Welsh language meaning "divorce" or "separation," with Skirrid Hill being a location in Wales which Sheers lived close to when he was growing up. Reflected in this title are two key elements. First, the use of "Hill" reveals the focus on nature, both as a powerful force and as a support system for Sheers, who grew up surrounded by it. Secondly, the idea of divorce presented through "Skirrid" is mirrored by Sheers's discussion of the deterioration of different relationships in his life, the power dynamics in past relationships being a central focus of the anthology. There are forty-five poems within the anthology, with an epigraph from T. S. Eliot allowing insight into the collection:

"As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living."

T. S. Eliot, East Coker

The epigraph acts as a reflection of many themes that Sheers touches on during the anthology. The idea of "grow[ing] older" is heavily discussed, with poems such as "The Wake" and "On Going" discussing the death of Sheers's grandparents. Similarly, the collection reveals a blurring of the boundaries between the "dead and living" and a strange mix of memory and reality, with Sheers often reminiscing about relationships that have now ended.

The main themes within the anthology are death, love, the end of relationships, the power of nature, masculinity, femininity, and Welsh culture. Although the theme is touched on in several poems, I would suggest looking at "Border Country" if you are interested in how Sheers approaches death. For an insight into Sheers's appreciation of love and the end of relationships, I would advise looking at "Keyways" and "Night Windows." Both "The Hill Fort" and "Y Gaer" depict a sense of the power of nature. Gender roles are discussed in most of Sheers's poems but are the central focus of "Show," "Joseph Jones," and "Amazon." Finally, Welsh culture is discussed heavily within "Flag" and "The Steelworks."

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