I found this book thought provoking and enlightening. Alison Goodlad discusses the meaning of poetry and how it may suggest imaginative approaches to such profound subjects as suffering and the cross and resurrection of Christ. These she probes sensitively and shows how RS Thomas interacted with his parishioners' pain and the Bible to produce poetry that often acts as a counter-testimony or protest like that of the Psalms and Job. I used to dismiss Thomas as a rather bitter, unpleasant person and I still find this in some of his poems but Goodlad's take on his life and work has shown how deeply empathetic he was with those in trouble and has given me a much more positive view of him.
I knew little of Thomas and didn't much like what I read, but Alison Goodlad set me right. Indeed I felt of her book something of what Keats felt about Chapman's Homer. She is extremely well read and her quotations adroitly chosen. As I read and re-read her I keep saying “Yes!”. Thomas, a great but challenging genius, needed someone with a touch of genius to open him up. A book to ponder and to treasure.