However the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union, if it does, the long and deep-rooted connections between the poetic cultures of these islands and those of continental Europe will continue to be, and need to be, sustained.
As a celebration of these continuities, whose existence has, if anything, been made more urgently manifest by the current political crisis in which the countries of the British archipelago find themselves, the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading and Two Rivers Press, the town’s most prominent publisher, hosted an evening of readings featuring poems and translations from or about experiences of Europe.
This event also served to launch two new volumes on these and related themes, Ravishing Europa by Peter Robinson (published by Worple Press) and A Part of the Main by Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders (publish by Mulffran Press). Jane Draycott, reading from Storms under the Skin, her translations of Henri Michaux (Two Rivers Press), a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation in 2017, joined them; and the evening, hosted by Steven Matthews, included guest appearances by other poets published by Two Rivers Press in 2019, including Kate Behrens, James Peake and Conor Carville.
The event took place in the foyer café at the Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading, on Tuesday 12 March 2019.
This event was supported by a grant to the Department of English Literature from the Endowment Fund of the University of Reading and by gifts in kind from Two Rivers Press.
We are delighted to announce the launch of our New Series!
The Botanical Art Portfolios, edited by Julia Trickey, feature distinguished botanical artists, their work and their inspiration. Intentionally both beautiful and useful, these handy-sized paperbacks are designed to be taken anywhere, referred to, collected and gazed at. Each book will bring out the personality of its individual artist, showcase their work and share why they love what they do, explain their choice of subjects, the distinct techniques they have developed, and their failures as well as their successes.
Here is the first title in the series: Botanical Artistry by Julia Trickey. It’s out now!
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.’