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Judith Cair’s ‘The Ship’s Eye’ and other new reading matter

Poetry Review & The Ships Eye

Judith Cair launched her debut pamphlet ‘The Ship’s Eye’ on Thursday evening in Brighton and the event was a sell-out, or rather a sell-over, as about a dozen people had to stand the whole evening. (Great for publisher/event organiser Pighog in a way. But I know from experience that packed events usually mean the next one is less than packed as people think ‘well if I’m not going to get a seat…’ especially as Pighog are now streaming their events live. Nice idea but if people choose to watch on the web then that’s £5 loss per person. Just sayin!!)

Anyway, more importantly, Judith’s pamphlet … she had said she was nervous about reading but you wouldn’t know. Her strong, calm delivery was a joy, and the way she started with all her thank yous, meticulously naming everyone, was testimony to her generous nature and thoughtfulness. Judith is a super-supportive workshop member and writes wonderfully. I’ve not yet read the whole pamphlet through closely but already I have several favourites, such as the moving simplicity of Cineribus Veris Patris Mei Dedicatum – I was slightly put off by the title but my schoolgirl Latin tells me it means something like ‘dedicated to the true ashes of my father’ (apologies if this is wrong!) the pamphlet includes many classical references/themes and indeed 3 poems are Judtith’s translations of passages from Homer’s Odyssey. Definitely a pamphlet I will be going back to.

Also through the door in the last couple of days – the latest edition of Frogmore Papers, and the big fat package from the Poetry Society with Poetry Review, Poetry News and various other bits, including a fascinating little anthology of the Foyle Young Poets – tomorrow’s stars? – you can read the whole thing online here.

Speaking of Poetry Review – I was excited to see how well Brighton poets are represented in this edition – not only John McCullough and Maria Jastrzebska but also Marion Tracy. Maria and Marion are both members of the Mimi Khalvati workshopping group I joined last year here in Lewes, and Marion’s excellent first pamphlet Giant in the Doorway (HappenStance) was published last year.

Lots of lovely reading matter to get stuck into when I’m on holiday next week.

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Robin Houghton 2024