'Throughout this collection Brigley is challengingly open about her own life. Which turns out to have had its challenges especially because, as a young writer she found it hard to write about personal material, which she described as a ‘writerly shyness.’ As a young woman she found herself in an abusive relationship with an older man. So the essays prove she has overcome both and now faces her fears head-on.
'These Notes from a Swing State are written with an openness to ideas redolent of Rebecca Solnit and a pellucid clarity which brings to mind the essays of fellow poet Kathleen Jamie. Brigley’s description of a train ride out of Bridgend leaves you wanting more: “On the map, the straight railway line runs alongside the River Llynfi tangling this way and that, snarling like string around a metal wire. The Llynfi, a river that nearly died after the mining era, abiotic until it was nursed back into health, but it did come back, just like slag heaps have grown over green, and there is little to mark the spot where the dark, spidery pitheads once stood.”
'Brigley is especially good on the world of creativity, not least when she challenges the idea that creativity is incompatible with domestic life and makes the case for making a productive and rich writing life as a mother, despite all the time challenges.'