Please join us to celebrate the launch of Judith Willson
's new poetry collection, Fleet
. Hosting the reading will be Helen Tookey
, joining Judith to discuss the new work. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. We will also be showing extracts of the text during the reading so that you can read along. Register here
, and let us know you can make it by joining the Facebook event.
In 1878, in London, a woman served a prison sentence for deserting two of her children, a charge she denied. Almost nothing else is known of her life or that of her husband, a dealer in 'foreign birds and curiosities', who was himself a migrant. The two children vanished from the record.
This is where Fleet begins, with elusive histories and lost voices. The title suggests imperial power, conquest, traffic in commodities (which in the nineteenth century included vast numbers of exotic birds). It is shadowed by other meanings: the fleeting glimpse and swift flight; floating memories, enigmatic and insistent.
Judith Willson's second book of poems was written during years when migration and displacement have become central facts of the human condition. The collection works outwards from found text - historical documents, archive materials - into other places and times. In the silences of such records, their erasures and omissions, are stories that haunt our present.
Registration for this online event will cost £2, later redeemable against the cost of the book. All attendees will receive the discount code and how to purchase the book during and after event.
Please note that there is a limited number of places for the reading, so do book early to avoid disappointment. You should receive a confirmation email with details on how to join after you register. If this does not arrive, please contact us to let us know. Please also be aware that clicking 'attending' on the Facebook event will not guarantee your place - you must complete the Zoom registration here.
About the speakers:
Judith Willson was born in London and grew up in Manchester. She has published two editions of nineteenth-century women's poetry with Carcanet. Her first collection, Crossing the Mirror Line
, was published by Carcanet in 2017.
Helen Tookey was born near Leicester in 1969. She is now based in Liverpool, where she teaches creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University. She studied philosophy and English literature at university, and has published critical work about writers including Anaïs Nin and Malcolm Lowry. Her debut collection Missel-Child
(Carcanet, 2014) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney first collection prize. Her pamphlet In the Glasshouse
was published by HappenStance Press in 2016, and the CD/booklet If You Put Out Your Hand,
a collaboration with musician Sharron Kraus, came out from Wounded Wolf Press in 2016. She has recently been collaborating with composer and sound artist Martin Heslop, putting text together with electronic soundscapes. Her 2019 collection City of Departures
was shortlisted for the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection.