I realise I’ve written about it before on this blog, and in my essay here, but Patricia Beer’s poem ‘Lost’, about the Penlee lifeboat disaster, which happened 40 years ago today, can be read in its entirety on the LRB website, here.

As well as standing tall in its own right, ‘Lost’ makes for an exercise in contrast with Jennifer Edgecombe’s latter-day (2020) take on the disaster, published by Wild Court, here. Both poems, it seems to me, are brave; approaching the terrible events from different, oblique angles. Beer’s shows the impact from afar, on a village community in the neighbouring county of Devon, whereas Edgecombe’s, rather like Alice Oswald’s book-length poem ’Dart’, collages a series of voices, of those who bore witness at closer hand.

The RNLI continue to risk their lives to save others’, whatever the circumstances.

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