Red Squirrel Press – Launch of Three Publications
22 June, 2021 at 7 p.m. until 8.30 p.m.
Red Squirrell Press Launch of Ellen McAteer’s, ‘Honesty Mirror’ also Billy Bonar’s ‘The Stuff of the Earth’ and Elizabeth Rimmer’s ‘The Well of the Moon.’
Red Squirrel Press invites you to the launch of three publications, Ellen McAteer’s debut pamphlet, Honesty Mirror, Billy Bonar’s first full-length collection, The Stuff of the Earth and Elizabeth Rimmer’s fourth collection, The Well of the Moon.
Honesty Mirror | Ellen McAteer
Ellen McAteer is General Manager of Poetry London and the founder of tell it slant poetry bookshop in Glasgow. She has won a Waterstones’ Poetry Competition, and been shortlisted for the Bridport and Baker prizes. Ellen received an Arts Council grant to develop her creative practice under the mentorship of Rachel Long. She was a mentee of Alexander Hutchinson under the St Mungo’s Mirrorball Clydebuilt Apprenticeship Scheme, and a member of Donny O’Rourke’s poetry group. She has been a Director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre and the Poetry Trust, and a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art.
Honesty Mirror won the New Writer magazine prize, judged by Helen Mort. It is a psychogeographical study in how an unspoken inner life can become projected on to landscapes, cityscapes, objects and edgelands filled with ancestors, on a journey to escape the self.
“Landscape becomes a character in the taut poems of Honesty Mirror, poems which chart both the inevitable— ‘water pulling sky to sea’—and the surprising—ghosts glimpsed in the mirror, supernatural glimmers on a city street—with precision and grace. We find ourselves in a strange, familiar place where ‘our faces are the only language we have’.”
The Stuff of the Earth | William Bonar
William Bonar was born in Greenock in 1953 and grew up in Port Glasgow. He graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in English Language and Literature in 1981 and from Glasgow University in 2008 with an MLitt (Distinction) in Creative Writing. He spent the last 30 years of his working life in education, first as a teacher of English and then as an educational psychologist. His poems have been published in literary magazines, websites, anthologies and newspapers. His pamphlet, Offering (Red Squirrel Press, 2015), won the James Kirkton Memorial Prize and he was short-listed for a Creative Scotland Writers’ Award in 2015. He lives some of the time with his partner, the author Lynnda Wardle, in Stirlingshire, and the rest in his flat in Knightswood in Glasgow, a (very long) stone’s throw from Edwin Morgan’s old flat.
‘It’s always a pleasure and a relief to come across a book of poetry written with skill and insight and sensitivity. This is William Bonar’s welcome first collection and it’s been built to last. Whether in his breathtaking descriptions, panoramic shifts of focus, or that wonderful, extended elegy for his father the boatbuilder, we are aware he is guiding us through a moving social, physical and cultural geography of Scotland and beyond. Wherever we look there is a clear-eyed intelligence at work, bringing past and present to our attention, enriching our lives.’
‘The Stuff of the Earth is a must-read of a collection. The combination of insight into the meaning of our lives…and our passing from this earth, along with raw, visceral memory of childhood experience…is enormously powerful. It’s achingly sure in opening up the inevitable seams of pain we encounter in life, but also accepting of human frailties. This is a collection to cherish, in its wonderfully calm, affectionate look at the carousel of life, the futility of making sense of any of it, of bringing any kind of order….and yet, as his poem says, the hail clanjamfrie’s singin.’
‘There is no mistaking the work of William Bonar. Though it remains rooted very much in the West Coast of Scotland it is never anchored there for very long. These poems often with short titles, sparse punctuation and precious spaces are a distillation of the hard won—often stripped back to some ravaged core. For they come from the physical and lived. In the close examination and understanding of the frailty of the human condition they are also a celebration of the here and now, slowly building to his final long poem ‘The Stuff of Life’ which powerfully portrays the lives of those who worked in the shipyards and the hurt felt on their decline.’
The Well of the Moon | Elizabeth Rimmer
Elizabeth Rimmer (@haggardherbs) is a poet, a poetry editor for Red Squirrel Press and occasional translator. The Well of the Moon is her fourth collection and she has also published a translation of the Anglo-Saxon Charm of Nine Herbs.See Elizabeth Rimmer’s Website.
The Well of the Moon was provoked by a momentary total loss of memory, which raised questions about the kinds of knowledge and connection with the world which create the self-understanding of ‘a person’. Including translations and responses to poems in Latin, Old English, Old Norse and Irish, it considers place, perception and language, memory, myth and community, human and more-than human and reflects on how the pandemic has impacted on those issues.
‘These poems pull us in, ask us to look again, re-evaluate our own relationships with the natural world around us, fall in love all over again. Elizabeth doesn’t shrink from the difficult in these poems, but brings us with her to face it over and over again. In doing so, she shows us how one finds “her own place”. I love the way Elizabeth’s poems listen and respond to the living things around her—from the smallest weed to cormorants to cows— almost as if, by reading her words, we’re slowly learning how we might engage with the shape of the land around us, and all the miraculous living things that inhabit it.’
‘Elizabeth Rimmer’s poems in The Well of the Moon are records of accurate detail assembling particular things through an emotional structuring of language which ensures a sensitised apprehension of the world, from wrens to rainbows, from weeds to ways of water, light and air, their taste and scent, their sound and language. All these careful noticings, of plants, vegetables, birds, geographies of actual place and tentative emotional uncovering, accumulate gently to a book that teaches unobtrusively a sharp sustained attention.’
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