Hilary Menos

Red Devon

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In 1997 Hilary Menos and her family left Camden for a farmhouse in rural Devon. Over the next ten years, with her husband and three young sons, she transformed fifteen scrubby acres into a hundred acre organic farm. They kept Red Devon cattle and Wiltshire Horn sheep, made bacon and ham, grew vegetables. In 2009, with the organic market in decline, they decided to scale back, selling most of the livestock, the farmhouse, and part of the land. In Red Devon this 'blow-in' from 'upcountry' reveals her experiences of moving into a tight-knit rural community, and examines the human and animal costs of the conflict between traditional farming and modern commercial agriculture. She also tells the story of a burgeoning love affair between farmer Grunt Garvey and haulier Jo Tucker, a romance which ends in tragedy. Alongside these two stories, one fictional and one very real, runs a concern for farmers around the world threatened by global forces. “Hilary Menos confirms her reputation as one of the strongest emerging voices in British poetry. These are local poems in the best sense, rooted in a particular ground and community, but the poems of Red Devon deserve – and will find – a much wider readership.” – Michael Symmons Roberts “Menos creates small worlds packed tight, seamless, masterfully compressed. Her poems have wit, range and strength; they are contemporary, varied and highly imaginative.” – Ruth Padel
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34 printed pages
Original publication


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