The Guest from the Future

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It represents what Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Laureate in literature, called art's power of redress. Stallworthy's poems evoke women survivors; the poet Anna Akhmatova; the painter Francoise Cilot, Picasso's lover; a survivor of the siege of Stalingrad; and a woman who escaped war torn Poland, carrying in her bedding-roll a coverlet she was embroidering for her fiance and herself. This refugee's story bears a curious inverse relationship with that of the Lady of Shalott : Tennyson's patrician artist in her tower, forced to choose between the world and its shadows in her mirror opts for the world and is destroyed; Stallworthy's peasant artist engages with the world and is sustained by an art that reflects that engagement.