Launch reading for Anne Stevenson and Peter Bennet books
‘Bloodaxe published landmark editions by two remarkable northern poets in February. Nayler & Folly Wood by Peter Bennet includes work from different stages of the poet’s career, including his masterful Flambard collections, offering a wide-ranging selection of precise, mystical and often astonishing poems. The comprehensive and expertly curated new Collected Poems by the late Anne Stevenson is wonderful reading experience that shows the incredible range and quality of her life’s work as poet.’ – Will Mackie, New Writing North (New & recent poetry from the North)
Anne Stevenson's posthumously published Collected Poems and Peter Bennet's retrospective Nayler & Folly Wood were launched at a special event hosted by St Chad's College, Durham, on Wednesday 1st March 2023.
The late Anne Stevenson enjoyed a long association with St Chad's, giving her final reading in the Williams Library at the college. Her ashes and those of her husband Peter Lucas (who died shortly after her in 2020) are buried in the garden outside the chapel, marked by a beautiful Welsh slate memorial plaque. In her latter years, after moving between the US and UK, and living in various parts of Britain, Anne's beloved places were Durham and Cwm Nantcol in North Wales. For this tribute event celebrating the publication of her Collected Poems, a number of her friends from poetry and academia, as well as her daughter Carrie, read their favourite poems and paid tribute to Anne.
Among those close friends was Peter Bennet, one of her co-editors on the journal Other Poetry, whose book Nayler & Folly Wood was also published on 23 February by Bloodaxe Books, and is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. The Nayler of his title is James Nayler, a 17th-century Quaker who was persecuted for his heretical views.
Anne's daughter Carrie Hitchcock, whose portrait of Anne in Cwm Nantcol appears on the cover of her Collected Poems, read Anne's much celebrated 'Poem for a Daughter', written for her birth in 1978. Joining her and Peter Bennet was Gillian Allnutt, Linda Anderson, Peter Armstrong, Diana Collecott, Cynthia Fuller and Dick Watson. The event was introduced by Margaret Masson, Principal of St Chad's, and Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley gave an account of the issues involved in editing Anne's Collected Poems.
We are enormously grateful to Margaret Masson and St Chad's College for hosting this event.
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Carrie Hitchcock reading three poems by her mother Anne Stevenson
Carrie Hitchcock reads To My Daughter in a Red Coat, 'At Thirteen' and 'Poem for a Daughter'. Recorded by Neil Astley at St Chad's College, Durham on 1st March 2023.
Anne Stevenson’s daughter Carrie Hitchcock reads two poems from Correspondences (1974)
Carrie Hitchcock reads 'From an Asylum: Kathy Chattle to her mother Ruth Arbeiter' and 'A daughter’s difficulties as a wife: Mrs Reuben Chandler to her mother in New Orleans', both of which are included in Collected Poems. Recorded by Neil Astley at St Chad's College, Durham on 1st March 2023.
Peter Bennet reading from Nayler & Folly Wood at St Chad's College, Durham.
[28 January 2023]