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Sheri Benning, Christine Marendon & Jenny Lewis: Portico Lib

Thursday 2 May 2019, 18:30 to 20:30

The Portico Library & Gallery
57 Mosley Street
M2 3HY


Sheri Benning, Christine Marendon and Jenny Lewis will read at The Portico Library.  Tickets are £3-£4, and can be bought here. Please let us know if you're attending via Facebook.

Sheri Benning grew up on a small farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. She's since travelled widely while attaining several academic degrees. She published two books of poetry in Canada, Thin Moon Psalm (Brick Books, 2007) and Earth After Rain (Thistledown Press, 2001). Her poetry, essays and fiction have also appeared in Canadian literary journals and anthologies. Sheri Benning's most recent collection of poems, The Season's Vagrant Light: New and Selected Poems, was published by Carcanet Press. She completed a PhD at the University of Glasgow and currently teaches at the University of Saskatchewan.

This book marks the UK début of Canadian poet Sheri Benning, featuring new poems alongside work previously published in Canada. Benning's early work draws on her strongly felt connection to her native landscape, rural Saskatchewan. In poems that couple sinew and roots, blood and sap, skin and stone, Benning explores an ecology of affiliation between humans and the natural world. The poems are also alive to the quiet intimacies between father and daughter, mother and child, between siblings and between lovers. Benning's later work travels further afield - to Russia, New Mexico, Scotland - but always the physical landscape is entwined with memory, the landscapes of the mind.

This event will also feature appearances by Christine Marendon and Jenny Lewis.

Christine Marendon grew up bilingual (German and Italian), studied Italian in Erlangen and Siena, and graduated in 1999 with a thesis on Italian women writers in the nineteenth century. After working as a translator and publicist for some years in her native Bavaria, she now lives in Hamburg where she works with children with special needs.

Heroines from Abroad introduces a vibrant new voice to the English language. Christine Marendon's enigmatic, meditative poems, translated here from the German and collected for the first time, draw on dreams, fairy tales and childhood memories to tap into a world beyond conscious reach. Marendon's poems do not present ideas so much as embody states of mind. Something is realised through the poem, rather than said within it. Here, the voice is more important than the particularities of what is said - language, not words. For the translator, Heroines from Abroad is the fruit of seven years' steady work. The poems' clarity and subtle force, the 'crystalline, precise quality of their lyricism' (Sasha Dugdale), are testament to that humble, unhurried collaboration in words.

Jenny Lewis is an Anglo-Welsh poet, playwright, songwriter, children's author and translator who teaches poetry at Oxford University. She trained as a painter at the Ruskin School of Art before reading English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Since 2012, Jenny has been working with the Iraqi poet Adnan al-Sayegh on an award-winning Arts Council-funded project, 'Writing Mesopotamia', which aims to build bridges and foster friendships between English and Arabic-speaking communities. Jenny is currently completing a PhD on Gilgamesh at Goldsmiths.

In Gilgamesh Retold, Jenny Lewis relocates Gilgamesh to its earlier, oral roots in a Sumerian society where men and women were more equal, the reigning deity of Gilgamesh's city, Uruk, was female (Inanna), only women were allowed to brew beer and keep taverns and women had their own language - emesal. With this shift of emphasis, Lewis captures the powerful allure of the world's oldest poem and gives it a fresh dynamic while creating a fastpaced narrative for a new generation of readers. Gilgamesh Retold was featured in the New Statesman Best Books of 2018.

Book signing will take place after the event and drinks will be on sale.

This is one event in a double-bill during May; Carcanet, Waterstones and The Portico Library bring some of Carcanet's highly lauded international poets to Manchester. Book here for the partner event featuring Chris Wallace-Crabbe. Anyone attending both events will receive two complimentary drinks at the second event on the 16th of May. Please ensure you book under the same name each time so this can be verified.

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