Dresses Redressed

Delighted to share a poem from Destroyed Dresses, the forthcoming pamphlet by Cara Brennan, published by Valley Press. See here for lots more details. Cara has just completed her MA with us at Newcastle University, and indeed was ‘taught’ by me when she was an undergrad.

She’s also worked with Simon Armitage through the Writing Squad – more details on her NAWE profile here. The pamphlet is launched on September 21st at the marvellous Lit & Phil, where she’s currently working, details here. Here’s what I wrote about DD by way of blurb:

Cara Brennan’s first pamphlet moves with a passionate but precise gaze between memory and presence. Always alert to tiny details, both physical and emotional, she fixes on those imperfections that evoke perfectly her chilly landscapes and tender interiors. The image of the dress recurs – designed, worn, shed, recycled – a metaphor for her precise craft as well as a symbol of the heart’s journey through these nimble and compelling poems.

And here’s a sample(r):

Attic

The seams have been unpicked sharply,
unlike the soft print fingers leave
at the top of my legs. Threads are loose,
a flapper’s edge or rug’s frame. Old stitches
leave tiny holes in fabric, it breathes.

In my waking dream the dress is reincarnated,
worn by a spectre. Dragged
along the wet beach, the train kicks up
flecks of sand, leaves a fossil.

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About Bill Herbert

Poet and pseudo-scholar W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, educated there and at Oxford, where he completed his DPhil thesis on Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and now lives and works in Newcastle. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and his books are published by, among others, northern publisher Bloodaxe Books. He is also the Dundee Makar, or city laureate.
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