Book launch: The Last Woman Born on the Island (poetry) by Sharon Black
Tuesday, 1 November, 2022, 7.30pm to 9.30pm
The Alchemy Experiment, 157 Byres Rd, Glasgow G12 8TS – (opposite Soba restaurant)
LAUNCH of The Last Woman Born on the Island, Glasgow author Sharon Black’s latest poetry collection.
With a reading of poems from the book, as well as readings by guest poets Michael Brown and Penny Shutt, and live music by Alex Andreas Duncan.
Complimentary glass of wine provided. Teas, coffees, soft drinks on sale.
The Last Woman Born on the Island (published by Vagabond Voices) is an exploration of the past and the present, and a celebration of the landscapes, both physical and emotional, that make up our lives. Where are we from? Can we ever go back there? What are the colours of the language or languages we speak, and how do they influence the ways we live?
The title poem is set on an unnamed Hebridean island which could be St Kilda, could be fictitious, or could be a symbol for what we have lost and what we yearn to rediscover.
Much of this collection is set in the author’s homeland of Scotland. Some poems contemplate the history and traditions of the Highlands and Islands – from the HMS Iolaire disaster off Lewis in 1919, to the knitting of Eriskay ganseys, the legend of The White Cow at Callanish stone circle and the work of herring girls at the start of the 20th century.
Other poems consider Scottish dialect, the country’s wildest and most beautiful landscapes, and the effects of tourism on the culture of the Hebrides…
Is there is a difference between something lost and something merely forgotten? How do we find what we don’t know we ever had? And what it is to belong to a place, let alone to two places? In one long poem, the author stands between her home country and her adopted country of France, letting her feet talk us through the places they have been. Who is the last woman and where is the island? Is it maybe us and our own life?
Sharon Black – Biography
Sharon Black is from Glasgow and lives in a remote valley of the Cévennes mountains in France. Her poetry is published widely and she has won many awards for her work including First Prizes in the Guernsey International Poetry Competition 2019 and The London Magazine Poetry Prizes 2019 and 2018. Her collections are To Know Bedrock (Pindrop, 2011), The Art of Egg (Two Ravens, 2015; Pindrop, 2019), The Red House (Drunk Muse, 2022) and The Last Woman Born on the Island (Vagabond Voices, 2022). She also has a pamphlet, Rib (Wayleave Press, 2021). Since 2016 she has been editor of Pindrop Press. www.sharonblack.co.uk
“Sharon Black’s poems are both lyrical and muscular, beautiful and tough. They are brimming with love for rugged places and their people. She finds song in simple things but is never sentimental; we follow her along a tiny slipway or a gorse-lined verge because she will show us small but significant landmarks, the traces of human habitation. In locating and naming so precisely what is before her, we understand what is essential in an unstable world.”
“Amid the endless media scroll of poetic reputations, Black’s work abides as one of the most genuinely rewarding and enjoyable reads. The Last Woman Born on the Island adds considerably to an already impressive body of work. With remarkable consistency, and to the reader’s delight, Black teases new ways and means to chronicle those near-unsayable details and moments from a noteworthy life spent between a remote valley in the Cévennes and the wide-open spaces of her Scottish homeland. This is just too good to miss out on.”
“The title of Sharon Black’s impressive latest collection might have an air of bygone finality to it but these poems, while steeped in Gaelic myth and personal history, are all about the present and future. Eggs recur as delicate symbols of hope and potential, handled and nurtured with great care by this bi-national Scottish / French poet. Black has lived to see ‘salt and samphire turned to cuts and collateral’ but by finding the miraculous in the mundane, she also re-affirms the real assets of life lived freely and passionately.”
“The tension of feeling an outsider in your own country is a familiar one for a poet. There is great beauty in Sharon Black’s ghostly connections to time and place, to a visualised landscape she doesn’t quite inhabit but of which, through her wonderful vision, we are constantly enamoured.”
You can also catch Sharon at:
This section: Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events
Filed under: Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events
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