There are moments in a reviewer’s life when you become aware that you are reading work, not only of talent, but also of importance. This is the case with the polymath talents of this writer. Trained as an artist, she has worked as a ceramicist, and her august writing career takes in a frequently widening collection of residencies and literary prizes and fellowships.
Her teaching career is also wide, working from W.E.A. classes to The University of Leeds and The Open College of the Arts. SWIM is her second full-length collection; her first, BETWEEN CLOUDS AND CAVES was published in 1988, and she has published four pamphlets between 1996 and 2000 and there are three other books and a number of CDs to her credit.
Roger Garfitt describes her as a:
“conjuror with real stars up her sleeve … surprising us into a fresh awareness of the extraordinary reality we inhabit.”
Whilst Ian McMillan has said”
“You can get at the truth in all kinds of different ways, and that’s what Pat Borthwick does.”
Her work reflects her interest in astronomy as well as the way that terrestrial landscape and man have shaped each other. She excavates, illuminates and records language that might otherwise remain hidden or lost. Sound, sense and shape are integral elements in all her finely crafted work. The root of her poetic style is the ability to make the philosophical and complex feel both immediate and simple. She is not afraid to use her personal tragedies and griefs as a springboard for her analysis of the human condition. The poetry is not clouded with the clever phrasing of academe; Pat Borthwick tells it as it is, and we, as readers, are the better for it.
(Reviewer: John Cartmel-Crossley.)