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Review of ‘Penumbra’ in South 60

D A Prince gets to the heart of Kate Behrens’ Penumbra in his review in the recently published edition of South, 60.

In this, her third collection from Two Rivers
Press, Behrens concentrates on ‘…
the dead’s/ irreconcilable parts’ in poems
pervaded by grief and loss. This focus
shapes not only the content of the poems
but also the forms and syntax;
single-word sentences demonstrate the
sensation of thin-skinned vulnerability
and the brittle nature of pain. Her lines
are taut, tightly-held and sometimes
cryptic, as personal poems can be. There
are fragments of dreams and broken
scraps of memory, representations of
how the mind attempts to reconstruct the
past and the dead.

Behrens’ poems give us one way
to connect with an ever-shifting sense
of loss.

Penumbra final

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POETRY & EUROPE, A Celebration

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.