Parables & Faxes
Published in 1995, Parables & Faxes was Gwyneth's first collection in English. The "parables" of the title refer to stories of self, including a woman who gets too intimate with a hedge, the Oxford Booklicker and holiday idylls with cousins in Illinois. The title poem pitches parables against the more realistic "fax".
Of the collection, Joseph Brodsky wrote: "Felicitous, urbane, heartbreaking, the poems of Gwyneth Lewis form a universe whose planets use language for oxygen and thus are inhabitable". Peter Porter commented: " Gwyneth Lewis has so many of the gifts required for good poetry: command of form, with improvisation enlivening tradition; supple rhythm; originality of subject matter and the right eye to pin down detail; humour, both sardonic and direct; and, above all, commitment to human feeling! The extended title sequence is the most humane and mysterious succession of poems I have read for many years. It is simply a masterpiece."
Parables & Faxes won the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize.