1685. England is sliding into tyranny under a Catholic king. The people of Dorset and Somerset rebel, flocking to join the bastard Duke of Monmouth when he lands at Lyme. Thousands of ordinary men, artisans and shopkeepers, fight the King's army at the Battle of Sedgemoor. For a moment, the victims of monarchy, church and class threaten to overthrow their masters.
Sedgemoor explores a crucial, but neglected, episode in English history, the last time ordinary people took up arms against their government. These hard-hitting poems tell the story of the Dorset and Somerset Rebellion of 1685, its bloody defeat and the state terrorism that followed, as Judge Jeffreys presided over the judicial murder of hundreds of prisoners. Moving between 1685 and the present, from England to Kosovo and Iraq, the poems are a forceful and prophetic witness to the continuing cruelties of empire and hierarchy, and a homage to the hopes and fears of those who must always struggle for something better.
"I've not read a sequence about historical events that has moved me as much as this - I like particularly the cross-referencing to modern times/events."
"Not just informative but ultimately engaging, allowing the reader to become inextricably linked to the history."
"Taut, well-boned, never shouting, but catching the ironic glint that shows the humble humanity involved."
R. G. Gregory
Malcolm Povey lectures in literature and writing at Bournemouth University.
He's a member of the Wallisdown Workshop where many of these poems were first read. He helps to edit the magazine South.
Sedgemoor, by Malcolm Povey
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