Tuesday 12 FEBRUARY, 7.30pm
A PART OF THE MAIN
A reading at Toppings bookshop, Bath, from the newly published A Part of the Main by Lesley Saunders and Philip Gross. This collaborative project grew from an email exchange after the referendum of 2016. In a time of soundbites and binary rhetoric, it gives the pressing questions about individual and national identity more breathing-space, more heart- and head-room.
Tuesday 12 MARCH, 5.30pm, MERL
POETRY IN EUROPE
Jane Draycott, Lesley Saunders, Philip Gross and Peter Robinson will celebrate relations between contemporary British poetry and poetry from Europe. Far from being merely a lament or complaint, it will draw attention to the deep continuities between our poetic culture and that of our nearest neighbours, underlining that these continuities will continue despite the United Kingdom’s imminent withdrawal from the European Union.
100 words for 100 years
Hampshire Libraries ran a competition looking for poems, letters or short stories of exactly 100 words in length. It was won by Gill Learner, with ‘Time Out’:
No-one knows which hospital, but family history had it on the Isle of Wight. A shaded-glass back door, rotting wooden steps, five of them, all nip-waisted crispness. One’s my aunt, Adelaide Marie, always known as ‘Bob’. Scarcely seventeen, inside the starched half-halo of her cap, she grins.
Home and beloved piano left behind in Chandler’s Ford, she joined the VADs. Ever the tomboy, she must have struggled to keep that floor-length apron clean, those stiff cuffs white. I imagine her singing softly as she scrubbed bedpans in the sluice, mopped between beds, smiled comfort. But she never spoke of it.
Poetry books from Gill Learner include The Agister’s Experiment and Chill Factor.
‘BRIEF… AND EXPANSIVE’
We were delighted to see Sue Leigh’s Chosen Hill reviewed in the TLS in December, by Suzannah Evans.
‘Sue Leigh’s intelligent and considered collection is a homage to the act of paying attention: to objects, to the past, and to our surroundings… Leigh’s poems are brief, and employ minimal punctuation; the questions they consider, on the other hand, are expansive. Many of them read as meditations on how to exist in the world, and how we might accept the chance happenings of life.’
Two Rivers Press publishes poetry (classic and contemporary), local interest (about Reading’s people, history, places and culture), and art (wildlife and botanical) books. We celebrate our 25th Anniversary in 2019!
The brainchild of Peter Hay (1951-2003), one of the town’s most prolific artists, the Press originated in a piece of very creative dissent, a protest against road builders intent on desecrating the tranquillity of the riverside where the Thames and Kennet meet:
There was at that time (1990) a battle royal in progress to save the riverside from road-builders. In the guise of local historian, I had produced a microhistory of the free place where Thames and Kennet meet, fuel for the fires of some public enquiry. Pete saw it as the basis of a book and transformed my humdrum prose into a thing of beauty: Where Two Rivers Meet. And so the press was born.
So two rivers give the Press its name: the Thames and the Kennet. Their confluence, at the Kennetmouth, is a place of meeting. And as its name suggests, Two Rivers Press celebrates the confluence of visual art with the written word. Working with local artists and photographers, poets and writers, we make bold illustration and striking design important elements of our work which, combined with quality writing and close attention to detail in their production, instill in our publications a deep sense of pride, pride in the place where we live.
Two and a half decades of publishing and well over 100 titles since its inception, Two Rivers Press continues to champion Reading – its rebels and its traditionalists; the beauty of its rivers and the heritage of its industry; its art, poetry and history. And deep roots in the community give the Press vitality to branch out well beyond the boundaries of the Thames Valley. The poetry list now features nationally acclaimed poets such as Mairi MacInnes, based in York; the local interest list features books about the Vale of the White Horse and Octavia Hill, founder of the National Trust; and our art books are from award-winning artists all over the country.
We are delighted that the Press has been described as ‘one of the most characterful small presses in the country.’