Launch reading by Claire Askew, Annemarie Austin and George Szirtes

Launch reading by Claire Askew, Annemarie Austin and George Szirtes

Join Bloodaxe Books for this launch reading by Claire Askew, Annemarie Austin and George Szirtes celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections.

Claire Askew and George Szirtes will be reading live and discussing their new collections with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley, with audio recordings included of Annemarie Austin reading with screen-shares of her poems.

This free Bloodaxe launch event will be streamed on YouTube Live on this YouTube page: https://youtu.be/cFhfkBi_SNw

If you register to attend on Eventbrite you will receive an event link reminder by email by midday the day before the event: this is the Eventbrite link.

The Eventbrite ticket will not give you the event link. If you’re looking for the event link on the night just come back to this Eventbrite page or go to the events page on the Bloodaxe website: click here. For those who can't make it live, the reading will be available on YouTube afterwards. If you miss the registration deadline, you can still watch live via the Bloodaxe YouTube channel here:

 

Claire Askew: How to burn a woman

Claire Askew’s electrifying second collection How to burn a woman is an investigation of power: the power of oppressive systems and their hold over those within them; the power of resilience; the power of the human heart. It throngs with witches, outsiders, and women who do not fit the ordinary moulds of the world. It is a collection which traces historic atrocities, and celebrates the lives of those accused of witchcraft with empathy, tenderness and rage. It lifts a mirror up to contemporary systems of oppression and – in language that is both vivid and accessible – asks hard questions of our current world.

‘In this book of spells, Askew stirs together smart, modern poems about whisky, heartbreak and male-female relationships with a darker sequence about our “foremothers” who were persecuted as witches. How to burn a woman is full of hard-won wisdom and beauty. The vibe is Kim Addonizio joins a coven.’ – Clare Pollard

Claire Askew was born in 1986, and grew up in the rural Scottish Borders. After living in Edinburgh for many years, she is currently based in Carlisle. In 2014 she was runner-up for the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for an earlier version of her debut collection, This changes things (Bloodaxe Books, 2016), which was shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award, the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for First Full Collection and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize 2017. Claire has been a Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion (2016/7), a Jessie Kesson Fellow (2017) and the Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh (2017-19). Also a novelist, her award-winning Edinburgh-based DI Birch series is published by Hodder & Stoughton. Her second full-length collection, How to burn a woman, is published in October by Bloodaxe.

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Annemarie Austin: Shall We Go?

Annemarie Austin’s vividly imaginative poems explore other worlds and other lives, drawing upon her own memories and experiences, as well as on art, travel, dream, myth, history and literature. Shall We Go? is her eighth book of poetry, following her Bloodaxe retrospective, Very: New & Selected Poems (2008) and later collection Track (2014). The first poem in her new collection asks ‘Shall we go on the shiny?’ and the last one ends ‘being altogether gone this time’. In between there’s the tightrope, ‘The Walking Shot’, the report on the pilgrimage in progress, the marquise going out at five o’clock. The eye moves left to right along with the poems’ movement. Though there are stops from time to time, for problems of the unidentified, the location of waterholes, whether or not those birds are oystercatchers, for the interior of a pocket and Nijinsky jumping. Then on, maybe to the beach again.

Annemarie Austin was born in Devon and grew up on the Somerset Levels and in Weston-super-Mare, where she has lived for most of her life. She won the Cheltenham Literature Festival Poetry Competition in 1980, and her first collection, The Weather Coming (1987), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Very: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2008) includes work from all her collections, including On the Border (1993), The Flaying of Marsyas (1995), Door upon Door (1999) and Back from the Moon (2003). She has since written two further collections, Track (2014) and now Shall We Go? (2021).

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George Szirtes: Fresh Out of the Sky

Fresh Out of the Sky is a book of songs, dreams, laments, narratives and comedies about major life-changes involving country, identity and belonging. It is about perpetually standing at the edge of change, anticipating it, reflecting on it and dreaming about it. The title sequence of the book returns to the terza rima theme of memory, following sequences in George Szirtes’ earlier books, such as those about his early Budapest childhood explored in Reel, and about growing to adulthood in England in An English Apocalypse. Here the theme is his arrival in England as a child in 1956. Other parts of this expansive collection include the second part of The Yellow Room, a continuing poem of impossible questions about identity as residual Jewishness, in the form of a dialogue with Szirtes’ late father, and Going Viral, dreamlike reports from the Covid bunkers we have all been inhabiting and ending on occasions of consolation, delight and joy in the midst of darkness and uncertainty. As well as interludes and dream songs there is also a bestiary of transformations woven through Guillaume Apollinaire and Graham Sutherland.

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948, and came to England with his family after the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. Educated in England, he has always written in English, and in recent years has worked as a translator of Hungarian literature. His Bloodaxe titles include The Budapest File (2000); Reel (2004), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; New & Collected Poems (2008); The Burning of the Books and other poems (2009); Bad Machine (2013); Mapping the Delta (2016), a Poetry Book Society Choice; and now Fresh Out of the Sky (2021). His memoir of his mother, The Photographer at Sixteen (MacLehose Press, 2019), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography. Szirtes lives in Norfolk and is a freelance writer, having retired from teaching at the University of East Anglia.

 

To order copies of the poets’ books direct from Bloodaxe, please click on these links (available via the Bloodaxe website from early October):

Claire Askew: How to burn a woman

https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/how-to-burn-a-woman-1279

Annemarie Austin: Shall We Go?

https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/shall-we-go--1253

George Szirtes: Fresh Out of the Sky

https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/fresh-out-of-the-sky-1280

 

For details of the poets’ previous books, click on these links:

https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/category/claire-askew

https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/category/annemarie-austin

https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/category/george-szirtes

 

Many thanks to Pete Hebden and NCLA for technical support.


 


[08 September 2021]


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