Tuesday May 22 at 7 for 7.30
West Greenwich Library, Greenwich High Road, SE10 8NN
Cinnamon Press returns to Greenwich with a crop of four diverse poets reading from their latest collections: Frank Dullaghan, Neil Elder, Daphne Gloag and Robin Thomas.
Finely honed, thoughtful and affecting, Frank Dullaghan’s accessible poetry is increasingly assured and poised. His language is clear and elegant, but the apparent simplicity contains a depth of experience that makes these poems memorable. Digging deep into memory, but eschewing sentimentality, Frank Dullaghan’s poetry is insightful, poignant, and ultimately life-affirming.
Excerpt from ‘The Day of the Robin’
I grew to understand it often rained
inside my father’s head, that sometimes
he went under, drowned.
But that day he put out his hand
and the robin came to him, a small flutter
of surprise from the close bush.
The attention to detail, pressure of observation and imaginative images in Neil Elder’s work combine with a quiet power to deliver a collection that simmers with satire, but never cynicism. Elder holds up a mirror to contemporary society, to how we relate, to the way things are beneath the surface, but his gaze is ultimately humane, even when rueful for what has been lost. Vivid, many layered, yet accessible, this is a highly accomplished and utterly distinctive full length debut that builds on Neil’s award-winning pamphlet, Codes of Conduct.
Daphne Gloag writes remarkable poems of cosmic scale. Yet, taking as her references complex concepts, such as time and cosmology, leads not to dense inaccessibility but to conversational meditations on the human condition. Essentially, her work is about love: effective and moving pieces about loss, about how we go on loving in the face of mortality, about what time might mean when weighed against the power of human emotion. In this exquisite sequence the carefulness of the research shines out, but even brighter is the enduring nature of love.
Arresting and intelligent, the first full collection for Robin Thomas exudes wit and warmth. Acutely observed and often wry, his collection Momentary Turmoil abounds with both imaginative leaps and a deeply humane sensibility.
Praise for Robin Thomas’s work:
‘It is the relationships explored and what is unsaid, it is Robin’s empathy for people, particularly those in the watching and waiting position. How could I not be drawn to ‘Christ Taking Leave of his Mother’ … I can see Frank O’Hara in this set, possibly Wallace Stevens too … Yet that is not to say, that Robin Thomas is not original or interesting. He is both. He has clearly used his logical, scientific way of thinking; his ability to dissect and deconstruct, to write in a way that is fresh and inspiring and allows us to glimpse his deep compassion for all of us flawed human beings.’
Susan Jane Sims on A Fury of Yellow
Wednesday June 27 at 7 for 7.30
The Treehouse, The Greenwich Tavern, 1 King William Walk, SE10 9JH
Cinnamon Press returns to launch new novels by two terrific authors: Hazel Manuel and Jean Harrison.
‘If you were able, how would you redesign your life?’
In Hazel Manuel‘s new novel Undressing Stone, Sian Evans is a feisty yet emotionally aloof divorcee with a secret. When her shrink asks her this question she takes it seriously. Giving up her stable home and job in Wales, Sian travels alone to a forgotten corner of rural France to begin a new life in a borrowed cottage. Undressing Stone is a mysterious tale which flirts with the gothic as it interweaves Sian’s conversations with her psychiatrist, with her newly reclusive life in France. There she meets an enigmatic sculptor with a penchant for working in the nude. Will their odd encounters encourage Sian to admit a truth she has avoided for years? And what are the consequences if she does? In a narrative that moves between caustic observation and the richly sensual, this is a novel that challenges many of our taken-for-granted assumptions about modern-day life, and celebrates the unconventional.
The Fern Hedge is Jean Harrison’s second novel and confirms her as a talented and convincing author with extraordinary powers of observation on the human condition. Set on one day in 1979, The Fern Hedge explores the interconnected lives of three women – Alice, her daughter Kate, and grand-daughter
Joanne. It is Alice’s 80th birthday and she detests birthdays. As the women prepare for the birthday party their cumulative history is remembered and tensions between them mount. Events come to a head when Joanne brings another resident to her grandmother’s room to join the ‘party’, presenting them with an image of Alice’s possible future with Alzheimer’s.
Dates for your autumn diaries: October 30 (Cinnamon Press book launch), September 11 and November 13 (Gerard Manley Hopkins and Anna Akhmatova, respectively, with Graham Fawcett).
Please note: the June 27, September 11 and November 13 events will take place in the Treehouse, the lovely top floor room at the Greenwich Tavern (corner of Nevada Street and King William Walk, facing the Park).