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Lesley Saunders at Mulfran Press

News: Readings summer 2010

On Sunday 1st August Lesley Saunders lead a workshop and gave a performance of her work as poet-in-residence at Acton Court, a Tudor house built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Matthew Spring, a renowned lutenist and hurdy-gurdy player, also performed. More upcoming readings are listed on Lesley's own website.

In June, Lesley read at the Turbine House, Reading, as part of a collaborative project about rivers and water led by Ann Rapstoff and Hilary Kneale; as guest poet at Bath Poetry Cafe, Bath; at Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury; and at Acton Court, Iron Acton, where she read Renaissance poems to accompany songs and music by the Paragon Singers. She read poems and presented a paper at the Poetry and Voice conference at the University of Chichester. In July, Lesley launched her Mulfran Press pamphlet, Some Languares Are Hard TO Dream In.

News: Some Languages Are Hard To Dream In out nowfront cover

The sequence Some Languages Are Hard To Dream In first appeared in No Doves. In this pamphlet, number five in the Mulfran Miniatures series, the poems are accompanied by specially commissioned illustrations by Christopher Hedley-Dent.

The pamphlet was launched with a reading and accompanying dance performance by Liza Wedgwood and a slide show of the images at the Glanfa Stage, Wales Millennium Centre, in July 2010.

Praise for Lesley Saunders’ No Doves

“No Doves is a quite dazzling collection and I'm as surprised (as I usually am) that it isn't - yet? - considered for poetry prizes. She shares with fine poets like Jane Draycott and Charles Tomlinson an incredibly clear-eyed perception in language which is as musical as it is exact. Writing of 'Ice' she observes: This is the white gold of the poles, the water that rings / like metal having first mastered the stillness of crystals, / and this the discipline of the slow freeze, whose splinters / leave no trace of travel through the muscle of the heart...'. Lesley Saunders is a very exciting and interesting writer who deserves your closer attention.."
David Morley

"Like the dazzling fly-past in her poem ‘Halcyon’, Lesley Saunders’ distinctive blend of wonder and intellectual curiosity emerges in No Doves at full power, each poem a sustained arc of allusive riches, alert and echoing - truly a devotion of noticing. Her subject is that tension between all that is Hopkins’ “counter, original, spare, strange” and the wider sweep of language and history, which Saunders celebrates here in all its intricacy and pathos..”
Jane Draycott

"Lesley Saunders keeps the ball in the air. Her toe is precisely place and the poems swing on, line after intelligent line -- meditations on stone, cold, blackbirds, a red lipstick, an ear of wheat -- all deftly and accurately set out. ... Yes, Lesley Saunders is very worth reading, and re-reading, for she's not going to make it easy for us, however easy she makes keeping that ball in the air seem."
J. Brookes, Square Magazine #8

About Lesley Saunders and contact information

Lesley Saunders is a widely-published poet whose publications include a pamphlet, The Dark Larder (Corridor Press, 1997), of which the title poem won first prize in the George MacBeth poetry competition; a co-authored a book with Jane Draycott and artist Peter Hay, Christina the Astonishing (Two Rivers Press, 1998), which was featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘A Good Read’; and most recently Her Leafy Eye, a collaboration with the artist Geoff Carr (Two Rivers Press, 2009). Her long poem ‘The Uses of Greek’ was shortlisted for the Best Single Poem in the Forward Prize 1999 and she was awarded joint first prize in the prestigious Manchester Poetry Prize for a portfolio of poems in 2008. She was the Showcase Poet in Magma 44 (summer 2009) and has appeared at many venues, including the Troubadour and the Voicebox, and has broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2008-09, Lesley held a Visiting Scholarship at Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall), Cambridge University, creating a poetry project about the college gardens. Further information and contact details are available on Lesley's own website..

Mulfran Press home page


No Doves by Lesley Saundersfront cover

Metamorphic rather than anthropomorphic, these poems depict the ‘creatureliness’ of all existence: how distinctions between the non-human and human worlds dissolve as you look at them — rather like ‘the act / of walking through walls’. Yet the book as a whole is really a meditation on the notion that ‘the only thing to be had on earth / is love, leafless, wintering’.

No Doves, Lesley Saunders
58 pages, £8.99, ISBN 978-1-907327-0
[also available from Blackwell's, and other bookshops]


Like a cloud of bees
scumbling the high hazy
robin’s egg blue, thrumming
over the slow water, over

the feverish roofs, its dark
dangerous body seething in
and out of a gutted willow
or onion-scented attic,

in the half-bright of dawn
in the still-shuttered room
he swarmed through me
seeking the hive. His cries

were as sharp and full of light
as if he’d been stung.
The larvae of a furious
city multiply under the tense
rafters of my skin.